Bourgogne, Blanc, Les Clous Aime, 2016

  A & P de Villaine

Contains Sulphites.

About A & P de Villaine

The 26ha of Domaine de Villaine are centred in Bouzeron an area first planted to the vine by the monks of Cluny in the middle ages, situated just south of the Cote d’Or and north of Rully. Here the poor soils and limestone-rich slopes are reserved for Bouzeron’s speciality, Aligote. The impeccable terroir here shows that given a chance to shine, this is a grape variety that can produce wonderfully characterful, harmonious wines. The Domaine is run by Pierre de Benoist who is the nephew of the Domaine’s founder, Aubert de Villaine, and is fiercely committed to producing wines of outstanding quality in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. The Estate has been certified organic since 1986 and Pierre has been making bio-dynamic trials. Yields are low, up to 20% less than the maximum allowed for AOC rules, and picking is by hand at optimal maturity. The heart of the estate lies in the oft-forgotten Aligoté grape. In Bouzeron the Aligotée Doré grape takes centre stage, a variety that is lower-cropping than its more widely-planted cousin Aligoté vert. At Domaine de Villaine it takes pride of place, reserved for the best vineyard sites the prime, steep limestone-rich slopes, and here it shows just how striking the wines can be.

Appellation: Bourgogne

Bourgogne or Burgundy is a wide-ranging generic appellation in eastern France that has been planted with the vine at least since Roman times, the earliest archaeological evidence coming from 2nd Century A.D. The region, now spanning up to 28,000 hectares, owes a lot to the work of Cistercian Monks in the 11th and 12th Centuries, particularly in the Côte d'Or, who were responsible for identifying some of the finest vineyard plots still in existence today. The appellation is large, stretching between the cities of Auxerre in the North and Lyon in the south and includes Chablis, the Côte d'Or (from where hail some of the world's finest examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), the Chalonnais, Maconnais and Beaujolais. Chardonnay is the main white grape planted, though there is still a fair amount of Aligote to be found if an ever decreasing amount, as well as tiny proportions of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Beurrot. For quality reds Pinot Noir is the dominant grape and the only permitted variety for the "Bourgogne Rouge" appellation controlee, there are plantings of Gamay too, though, which can be blended with a minimum one third Pinot Noir to make "Bourgogne Passetoutgrain." There is also the rarely seen Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, which may include the Pinot Noir, Gamay, César, and Tressot varieties. This appellation also exists for whites, allowing a blend of Chardonnay, Aligoté and Melon de Bourgogne. Being such a big area style can vary enormously: From the steely, minerally white Bourgognes near Chablis to the rounder, more buttery offerings in the Maconnais. Very fine and extremely good value examples of red and white Bourgognes are made by many of the high quality estates in the Côte d'Or, the designated "Bourgogne" vineyards here being on the flatter less well-drained terrain the other side of the RN74 road to the villages and 1er Cru appellations. Some Bourgogne Rosé can also made be made but this is a tiny fraction of the red and white wine production.

Grape Type: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most widely-grown and versatile of all white grape varieties. As a relatively neutral grape, it offers a near transparent map of winemaking style, climate and terroir. It is the ideal grape variety for Burgundy, where it serves to mirror the complex nuances of the myriad of terroirs found in this hallowed land. Chardonnay produces a variety of wines from the minerally and unoaked styles found in Chablis, the fatter nuttier examples in Meursault, to the tropical fruit-driven versions found in the New World. It is also the major grape variety in Champagne, where it produces lively floral wines, namely in the Côte de Blancs. It can be found throughout Europe and the New World thanks to its versatility. As a non-aromatic variety, it has an affinity with oak, whether new or used, French or American.