2018 Bourgogne Aligoté, Aligato, Cuvée Z, Domaine de la Soufrandière, Bret Bros, Burgundy

2018 Bourgogne Aligoté, Aligato, Cuvée Z, Domaine de la Soufrandière, Bret Bros, Burgundy

Product: 20188016643
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2018 Bourgogne Aligoté, Aligato, Cuvée Z, Domaine de la Soufrandière, Bret Bros, Burgundy


I have a soft spot for Burgundy’s “other” white grape at the moment, and this one is a belter.
This cuvée comes from a tiny 0.3-hectare plot of estate-owned fruit. The bold label and play on the Japanese word arigato (“thank you”) is enough to make the bottle, let alone the wine, stand out. My own resounding memory of this wine is of sharing a few glasses with family over a birthday dinner during lockdown in May. It’s nothing revelatory to note just how unusual May 2020 was; starting a meal with buttered brown shrimp and griddled sourdough, served with this wine, was a brief glimpse of “normality”. The wine offers some hallmark bruised apple and citrus peel, with fantastic weight and texture. It’s characterful and rounded, with a racy acidity to tie it all together. Cracking.

Distinguished by yellow wax-topped bottles, opulence and approachability, wines from this domaine never disappoint. Based in the south of Burgundy, the Bret brothers are stalwarts of organic and biodynamic viticulture, renowned for their terroir-driven wines – true of both their estate label and their négociant operation.
Will Protheroe, Digital Merchandising Executive
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About this WINE

Bret Bros.

Bret Bros.

Grandfather Bret bought this property in Vinzelles in 1947. In 2000 Jean-Philippe and Jean-Guillaume Bret took their vineyards out of the local co-operative and established their Domaine de la Soufrandière (see here for the wine selection from la Soufrandière) with 4 hectares of vines entirely in the appellation of Pouilly Vinzelles. They have also developed a negociant activity using the name Bret Brothers.

Previous experience between them includes stages at Ridge and Newton in California and Comte Lafon in Burgundy. Most of their vines are in a perfectly situated east facing slope of Vinzelles called Les Quarts, on Bajocian limestone with a high silica/quartz content.

The vineyards have been farmed organically since 2000, with biodynamic principles being progressively introduced. The grapes, both their own and those purchased, are picked in small containers, then whole bunch pressed in the tinailler (local Maconnais and Beaujolais word for cuverie) before descending by gravity to the barrel cellar. They are currently all taken out of barrel for bottling after 11 months.

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A grape that was first recorded in Burgundy in the 18th century and is still planted almost exclusively there, though there are limited plantings in Bulgaria, Moldavia and even California. It is a moderate-yielding grape that tends to perform best on south-east facing slopes and in warm, dry years.

For your Burgundian vigneron, Aligoté is not nearly as profitable to grow as Chardonnay - consequently it tends to be relegated to lower quality vineyards. In the wrong hands and in the wrong sites it can produce thin, raspingly acidic wines that are remarkably undistinguished. However the best growers produce balanced examples with nutty and citrus hints which are most appealing to drink. The best Aligoté wines traditionally come from Bouzeron in the Côte Chalonnaise. Along with blackcurrant liqueur, it is the key ingredient of Kir.

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