The Other White Grape Chardonnay Doesn’t Want You To Know About - The Sophisticated Cougar Juice from France
Hey Newport Beach cougars take notice, Chardonnay from Burgundy is king. However, most college students nor clichéd minivan-driving soccer moms aren’t willing to shell out a couple hundred on a bottle of juice with an elaborate sticker and a name they cannot pronounce. Trust me when I say there are plenty of reasonable alternatives out there for 1/3 the price that taste just as good and have a swanky sticker.
So what delicious French white-wine does one drink on a budget you ask? Allow me to introduce to you the prince of Burgundy: Aligoté and the man who has outsmarted the big guys. He removed the lifted pinkies to make a world-class wine utilizing an unknown grape in an overlooked town.
His name is Aubert Villaine and he's a Prince
His name is Aubert Villaine and he happens to be an heir to one of the most prominent names in the wine world; DRC. That’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti or in a modest narrative “The most legendary name in wine since wine became cool”. In the early 70’s Aubert and his wife Pamela decided to leave the land of wealth, fame and extravagance (i.e. French wine snobbery at its finest) to relocate to a small town. A place where nobody knows your name, the land is affordable and the overall douchebaggary is kept to a minimum. The town is called Bouzeron (boo-zer-on) and funny enough it’s only 12km (just shy of seven miles) south from all of the arrogance.
Aubert and Pamela create dazzling wines utilizing the aligoté grape with vines up to 90 years of age. These grapes produce wines with complex floral aromas of white flowers and lemon. What really “rocks” this wine is the distinctive note of chalk and gravel which drive the structure on the palate.
Big ass wooden vats (foudre)
The wines are brighter than chardonnay. The Villianes achieve this lighter style by aging the wine in wooden foudres, which is defined as 'big ass wooden vats'. These vats hold up to 1,000 gallons of juice, instead of the classic 60-gallon barrels. This classic technique creates less of a ‘juice to oak” surface ratio. This means there is almost no influence of the wood allowing you to taste the actual flavors of the grape and soil. So not much 'butter' here folks.
Royalty shouldn’t cost more than $30 bucks if I can drink it in less than 30 minutes
You would think a wine of this structure, elegance and location that is produced from one of the monarchs himself should break the bank, right? Undoubtedly…the wine is practically royalty. However, for me royalty shouldn’t cost more than $30 bucks if I can drink it in less than 30 minutes. Believe it or not, retail price is just shy of that! Also, with that lighter style and vibrant acidity you can totally drink this by itself. However, if you want to keep it classy I suggest the noble grilled chicken sandwich with french fries.
SommNextDoor: Nicholas Ducos, A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and a Certified Sommelier, Nicholas has worked in many prestigious restaurants in Miami, Florida. As a chef and as a sommelier, he is dedicated to creating a memorable dining experience and making wine relatable to others in a witty yet refined style. Nicholas is currently traveling the world learning the art winemaking and plans to create his own label in the near future.
$6 beginners guide to French Wine (labels, regions, all in a handy pocketbook): Decoding French Wine