“Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam”

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Now that I have that one off my chest, I have to tell you dear reader, good customer & wine lover that today has been a somewhat lucky day for me. I won the greatest jump race in the world, The Grand National 2021 at Aintree, thank you Rachael Blackmore! and what a great jockey she is. Afterwards, this evening, I am celebrating at a birthday dinner for a chum. We are all total winebores so will have vinous evidence to prove the colonickness of our gastro-sufferings.

The wine of the evening for me, and there was not a bad wine amongst the line up, where 2015 Domaine Ganevat ‘Les Chamois du Paradis’, Jura as my white wine and the red had to be the Claret, 2000 Ch.Beasejour Heritiers Duffau-Lagarosse, Saint-Emilion. I should mention that both Argy wines from Rio Negro where pretty much just behind these two Frenchies. 2019 Chacra Chardonnay (Roulot-Incisa) and the 2017 ‘2’ Due from Bodega Noemia just go to show that even in the new world, now, there are at least two bodegas pulling their punches.

Before all this good fortune came my way, I have been asked many times over the past few months this one question. It’s becoming so repetitive I am wondering what our friends in Le and de Bourgogne are up to. I keep being asked this, “Gottany Ali-gottay?”.

Well, thanks to the recent price-hike of good old normal and rather good quaffing white Burgundy, some of those chaps based within the reach of echelons such as Meursault and, Chassagne-Montrachet have started upping their game with that old chestnut Bourgogne Aligoté. I remember well when the only thing that would go well with this cheapish and rather sheepish cepage, Vin de Blanc de la region, was a good old dollop of Creme de Cassis! I think they called it back then, a Kir. But as a wine on it’s own, I think everyone would agree with me, it was pretty dire stuff. However, today some of the finest wine producers of this blessed region, and I will only use two of them for my blog examples today. ‘Les Jeans’, Ramonet (Jean Claude) and Coche-Dury (Jean Francois), both go way beyond what one would normally expect from this ‘humble grape’. Lady luck put me in front of two bottles of this rather intriguing new style Aligoté over the last week, and this is what I have to report back to you.

2018 Domaine Ramonet Bourgogne Aligoté
Aligoté, as you now know is the second famed white varietal in Burgundy, which is often planted only in poor soils. It’s high in acidity, and this wine offers crispiness (awful description, sorry) and freshness, with aromas of apple and lemon. The vines, that produced the fruit for this wine were planted in 1956 & 1963. Transparent medium yellow in color with deep straw variation. On the nose, the wine showcases aromas of golden apple, white peach & flower, a hint of dried vanilla, mild herbs, and mineral. Once on the palate, there are notes of lemon citrus, yellow apple skins, mangtout, white wildflower, wax, and a hint of dill. The wine is medium-bodied with high acidity and a plush, luxurious mouthfeel into a lingering but refreshing finish. This is a very well-made, high quality Aligoté, and I will be drinking more of it in the future, as I hope you will do also.

2016 Domaine Coche-Dury Bourgogne Aligoté
A pretty bouquet of ripe peaches overlaying crushed stone minerality with sweet floral and spicey dried yellow flowers, hints of moist earth. On the palate I found soft almost creamy textures which coasted across the senses with emerging minerals and acids carrying notes of sweet and tart apple. It finished on a tart pop of mouth watering acid and citrus green apples and pretty florality. If you cannot afford his Meursaults you will not be disappointed with this at all. That good old Coche-Dury signature is all over it, wow! what a wine. Try and find some, you will love it.

Somewhere in between tasting all these terrific wines, I even managed to fit in, and with great thanks to our friends in Champagne, a small and by no means uninteresting, Bollinger Champagne tasting. We compared 2007 vintage La Grande Année Blanc with the 2007 La Grande Année Rosé and ended with the 2004 R.D.(Recently Disgorged) Extra Brut.

2007 Bollinger G.A.
A very attractive, grapefruit and lemon edge to the nose with toasty and ripe, expressive, fruit notes that follow through to the smooth palate with an attractive, toastyness all the way to the clean finish.

2007 Bollinger G.A. Rose!
This classic rosé has some 6% red wine from Bollinger’s La Côte aux Enfants vineyard. The 2007 La Grande Année Rosé offers a complex bouquet of dried orange peel, walnuts, confit lemon and crisp orchard fruit. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, chalky and structured, with bright acids and a more overtly phenolic chassis than its white counterpart, with a long and delicately nutty finish.

2004 Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut
A mild gold colour. Smoky hints on the nose. Creamy texture, salty. Ripe, slightly honeyed aromas. Brioche and baked apple. Moderate intensity on the palate, but there is good persistence and a touch of savoury salinity on the finish. Lovely honeysuckle and cream on the length. Still a long way to go, but superbly open already and beyond delicious.

“The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long……..amen”