I need to bring something home. Even though I sell wine, my wife deserves something different from time to time. Champagne would be great. But I only have a $20. I start flipping the bottles at a store checking back labels for something new. Then, one read in small print at the top:
“60% Aligoté 30% Pinot Noir 10% Chardonnay”
It was a Crémant de Bourgogne. Now think Burgundy: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominate the landscape. But Aligoté!? I have had a few still Aligoté: from Pierre Morey’s (here), to Villaine’s DRC side project, to Canada’s solid try (here). But I did not realize that after 30% of the mainstays, AOC rules allow up to 70% Aligoté in Crémant de Bourgogne.
Aligoté survives in small Burgundian pockets like Bouzeron. It trickled into Eastern Europe, Canada, and other cool marginal climates. Even Bulgaria grows twice that of Burgundy.
Once upon a time Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir birthed Aligoté. It shares the high acid, herbaceous, and mineral tendencies of pinot blanc and gris.
So how does it fair in the hands of Cave de Bissey?
Cave de Bissey came together as a cooperative of growers in 1928, down South in Bissey sous Cruchaud, a small village in the Côte Chalonnaise between the Maconnais region and the Côte d’Or. Today 40 growers and 5 employees control the whole vinification process of their Crémant, from harvesting to bottling. They sell 65% at the cellar.
Bissey’s Cremant comes from 60 acres, 800+ feet above sea level. Secondary bottle fermentation lasts three whole years: that is a solid amount of lees time.
Let’s crack it!
The APPEARANCE looks a clear, pale straw with fine, rapid bubbles.
AROMAS twinkle with fresh cut grass, raw strawberry, and lime squeeze.
The PALATE feels dry, crisp with medium plus acidity, a light body, soft linen-textured, and crinkling with effervescence.
Delicate FLAVORS of lime water, quince, white fig, and salt carry for a mild but lengthy tenure.
Cave de Bissey’s Crémant de Bourgogne is delightful, crisp, and pithy with a delicate finish: like a gentle handshake or a sunny Spring rain. For a mere $18.00 it is very good (4 of 5). Drink it as is, with oysters, nicoise salad, or goat cheese anything.