An appellation that spreads on only one village, only one variety. Bouzeron AOC was born in 1997 thanks to the efforts of insistent winegrowers and especially Aubert de Villaine. If you want to learn what does Aligoté has to offer at its’ best, go for Aligoté Doré from Bouzeron. It’s the only place where this variety gets the best slopes.
Long history of a young appellation
Bouzeron is the only village that produces Aligoté exclusively on the slopes.
Aligoté used to be ‘ruling’ in Burgundy, on the prestigious slopes of Côte-d'Or in Meursault and Pernand-Vergelesses. But tastes change, and grapes that are more known internationally - Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, pushed out Aligoté to the vigorous flat land, where it was destined to be a high yielding and inexpensive wine. The potential of this variety almost vanished in time. But there was one village with probably very stubborn people that never gave up Aligoté. It was in Bouzeron that they fought for an appellation dedicated to Aligoté. In 1979 a separate AOC status among Bourgogne Aligoté was gained, in 1997 a fully independent Bouzeron Appellation d'Origine Controlée was born. Today Bouzeron is the only village that produces Aligoté exclusively on the slopes. And probably the only village where you can find centenary Aligoté grapevines, as this is the only place where producers are not into high yields of this variety.
History & Terroir of Bouzeron AOC
I took a morning train to Chagny that is 5 km away from Bouzeron and, obviously, walked these 5 km through the picturesque vineyards between two villages. Both are part of Côte Chalonnaise region and neighbour with Santenay and Chassagne-Montrachet, Rully and Mercurey.
a nutrient-poor, marly, brown limestone-rich soil that naturally limits the yield
As is the case in Burgundy, winegrowing was started here by monks, monks of Cluny in our case. The terroir is unique and exceptional. Yield is naturally limited by soil composition - it’s a nutrient-poor, marly, brown limestone-rich soil. On the other hand, the warm microclimate in the valley helps to achieve perfect ripeness of the grapes. The oldest vines are trained in traditional ‘Gobelet’ style, that helps sap regulation in these very precious grapevines. I said precious because a private nursery is established in Bouzeron that focuses on researching the genetic diversity of the old Aligoté vines, identifying the best and reproducing them.
Bouzeron Aligoté - winemaking tips from the region
There is nothing special that they do in the cellar, according to all, without an exception, winemakers that I met from Mâcon to Chablis :) The role of a winemaker is to preserve the traditions while being open-minded (but also critical) to new technologies. Which means enhance, refine, perfect traditional approaches with new technologies.