To be honest, Bouzeron was the first appellation that I planned to visit after completing my WSET course in Château de Pommard (I visited Pouilly-Fuissé before the course started). Tired and a bit disappointed that none of the wineries I contacted replied (summer is very busy time for small wineries that don’t have extra staff for just touring you around and chatting during a tasting).
Well, Bouzeron is a small, tiny appellation. Overall 20 producers, but in fact, if we take only the ones that are ‘headquartered’ in Bouzeron village - it’s 6-7 wineries at most. But despite all these, I didn’t give up and said you never leave a village in Burgundy without finding a place to taste wine! I gave a slight peek to the locked doors of renowned (at least in Burgundy) Domaine de Villaine. Aubert de Villaine is the ‘patron’ of Bouzeron AOC, he did a lot for the appellation to be born. Besides that, he’s the co-owner of the world-famous Domaine de la Romanée-Conte (that also has tightly closed doors, obviously).
you never leave a village in Burgundy without finding a place to taste wine!
However, it was 10 am and I knew I’ll find my luck. A few more steps and I saw Maison Chanzy with its’ entrance widely open. Well, the tasting room and shop was locked, but once you let me in a winery, I won’t get out without finding what I want. So I found the staff next doors and had my Aligoté tasting right away! Bouzeron Le Trois 2015 - this is a blend of three parcels - Les Clous, La Tournelle, Les Cordères. It’s aged in stainless steel, bottled in June 2016. Although Aligoté is suitable for ageing due to its’ high acidity, 2015 was a bit too hot to produce a white wine for long years. I was recommened to drink it in the next 2 years. This wine is refreshing, it’s pure joy to drink it in summer, well chilled. Clos de la Fortune Monopole 2016 - the vineyard is divided on 3 parcels with vines of different age - 90+ years old, 45 years old and young 4 years old vines. The soil is clay and limestone with some marl. At Chanzy they have vats and barrels of all sizes - 220 l, 300 l, 600 l and 2050 l. Clos de la Fortune goes partially to oak, partially to stainless steel. Grapes are gently pressed with a pneumatic press, the must is left for debourbage for 2 days. One part (20%) is fermented and aged in oak, the rest - in stainless steel.
On the label you’ll see written ‘Monopole’ - just as everywhere in Burgundy, historical plots, climats, or lieu-dit, have their own names. In this case, it’s Clos de la Fortune, where ‘clos’ states for the stone wall around the vineyard. ‘Monopole’ means that the whole climat/vineyard is owned by one producer, in our case - Chanzy. This is very rare in Burgundy, where plots are not even measured in hectares but in ouvrée (land that a man can till manually in one day - a pre French Revolution term). Salty and lemony, can’t imagine a more straightforward match with oysters. Fish, poultry and wheel in cream or cheese sauce would benefit of its’ acidity. Some happens when pairing it with most of the types of goat cheese or pre-dinner aperitifs.
Bouzeron 20 Ans 2017 - Bouzeron AOC celebrated its’ 20th anniversary in 2017, so at Chanzy they decided to produce a festive cuvee. Just two barrels of this wine were produced. All made of the best old vines (90+ years) from their Bouzeron vineyards. The oak is also special. They bought two barrels from Austria. Burgundy also seeks diversity, and in a region known for its’ cooperages, they do sometimes use Austrian oak, as it has a very high reputation in France. The barrels for this cuvée were previously used at Chanzy for 1 year. Pure new oak, when you make only two barrels of wine would be too overwhelming for sophisticated Aligoté. Aged a bit longer than the other two wines, bottled in September 2018, right before harvest. There is a lot of ripe apples and pears on the nose, with vanilla and lots of autolytic (bready-yeasty) aromas. Once you taste it - it’s crisp as a perfect Aligoté, has medium acidity, quite creamy and will impress with a bitter grapefruit finish. Chanzy that used to be a family estate was recently spread between 300 shareholders. They’re positive about this change, as all the 300 shareholders automatically became the most efficient ambassadors of the winery. 40% of their production is exported mainly to Belgium, Netherlands and England.
Goal achieved, I tasted Bouzeron Aligoté in the heart of Bouzeron village. Next stop - Santenay! *** Read about the first wine trip in my Burgundy Adventure. It will take you to the wineries of Pouilly-Fuissé. Or join me in my upcoming winery tours in Europe! Meeting the winemakers and tasting their wine right in the cellar is an unforgettable experience!