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.