“Le Bon Climat Vineyard”
Santa Maria Valley, California
Aligoté is Burgundy’s ‘other white variety’. It is overshadowed by the much more popular Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These more profitable varieties get the best vineyard sights and Aligoté is planted in the lesser areas and poorer vineyard sections. As a result the maturation of Aligote in Burgundy is inconsistent and slow, producing a wine that is tart and neutral. Mixing this wine with crème de cassis makes it palatable, and the “cocktail” has become a popular aperitif.
This Aligoté is grown at the prime estate Le Bon Climat Vineyard located in the Santa Maria Valley. This location has ripening weather extending into early November. This extended growing season is eight weeks longer than the growing season in Burgundy. Consequently, Le Bon Climat Vineyard Aligoté bears little resemblance to Burgundian version.
Aligoté goes through the same “hands-on” process as all other white wines made at Au Bon Climat/Clendenen Family Vineyards. The grapes are handpicked and hand sorted in the vineyard, then wholecluster pressed and settled for two days. The longer term settling eliminates some of the more leesy characters in the finished wines by minimizing the solids in the barrels during the primary and malo-lactic fermentations. It is aged in neutral French oak barrels for 10 months and then bottled after a light fining and filtration.