Alice & Olivier de Moor Aligoté 2014
Wine: Alice & Olivier de Moor
Aligoté is Burgundy's "other white grape", the one easily dismissed and overlooked. It's the traditional base wine for the kir cocktail, with a bit of crème de cassis mixed in, such is its reputation. Commercially speaking, chardonnay fetches a higher price and, though they are related through parentage, aligoté lends itself to more tart, acidic wines than full, round Burgundy. But there are always those on the margin of tradition with passionate hearts and stubborn minds who bend the rules into something beautiful. Meet Alice & Olivier de Moor.
This is one of those wines even novices know upon first taste is both good and special. I'd been eyeing it on the shelf at Bacchanal for a few weeks before finally taking the plunge (as if opening wine were a risk). It's one thing to find a wine delicious in your glass and another to experience the wine, to learn the story behind it. Importer Louis/Dressner does such a kickass job of telling their producer's story that even if you never set foot on the European continent, you gain a strong feeling for life in the vineyard. Thanks to an interview with Alice & Olivier, I've learned they are truly on the fringe of Chablis, an appellation with long-held unwavering winemaking beliefs, and they are doing it too well to be snubbed.
It's evident from the interview they are independent thinkers and philosophers of the vine and life. My kind of people. Their dedication to the small plots of aligoté and chardonnay lean more toward biodynamic and natural than the organic category suggests, but they don't seem too concerned with labels. When asked about their winemaking process, Alice de Moor answered, "As simple as possible, as respectful to the grapes as possible and with the least intervention possible. By intervening less in the wine making process, you give the wine more freedom. That freedom makes for unique, expressive wines." Sounds like my childhood. The two work side by side, Olivier in the vineyard and Alice in the cellar. They avoid chemicals in the vineyard and the winery, utilize native yeasts and apply sulfur in very small amounts at bottling only. They make a few aligotés and a few Chablis, which are 100% chardonnay. Most of the vines are on the young side, around 20 years old, their winery is built to accommodate a gravity fed process, and they use a combination of concrete and stainless steel tanks and Burgundy barrels for vinification and aging. This bottling is made and aged half in tank, half in barrel with 11 months lees aging. It also undergoes malolactic fermentation, which helps to mellow the acidity and add richness.
The Alice & Olivier de Moor Bourgogne Aligoté 2014 has tremendous acidity balanced with more body than typically found in Chablis, though this wine was very reminiscent of Chablis. Some toasty, nutty aromas with lemon and apple, beautiful expression overall with sumptuous fruit, long finish. Love, love, love.