Aligoté is far from my favourite grape variety. Usually it seems to me it is thin on flavour and substance and heavy only on acidity with de Villaine producing one of the few exceptions. But I was terribly impressed both times I tasted this Bourgogne Aligoté 2004 Michel Bouzereau last week.
It's refreshingly racy (as 2004s of both colours tend to be, hem hem) rather than seeringly tart and is much more complete than most with real weight on the mid palate and impressive persistence. It's made from particularly mature vines and is aged in five year-old barriques, which presumably rounds it out a bit.
In the UK Cellar Door of Hampshire sell it at £8.50 a bottle while Lay & Wheeler and Montrachet are offering it as part of their 2004 en primeur Burgundy offers at £57 and £64 a dozen in bond or £84.71 and £93 respectively including VAT and duty.
It's also available in Belgium from www.francisbernard.com at 8.08 euros which looks much more appetising and I would expect it to be more widely available soon.
Those who consider the first duty of a white burgundy is to be Chardonnay however would be well advised to consider one of Michel B's lovely Meursaults. His Perrières 2004 is of course outstanding, but £420 a case from Montrachet. The Meursault Genevrières 2004 Michel Bouzereau is probably better value and this time is cheaper at Montrachet than Lay & Wheeler: £286 a dozen in bond as opposed to £297. Berry Bros are offering it at even less, £270, while Fine & Rare are bravely asking £431 for the same case. Presumably this includes a little bit more transport costs.
It has a beautiful purity about it as well as a creamy texture and that great satisfyingly broad-yet-savoury taste of Meursault – although I have to say that Chassagne seemed the most successful white burgundy appellation to me in 2004.
I shall be publishing my full report and tasting notes on 04 feb.