Jeffalin Aligoté 2008

Jeffalin Aligote

France, $19

Classic white Burgundy–by which I mean Corton–Charlamagne‚ Meursault‚ Montrachet–is not my first choice for a summer wine. It’s too rich for the ice bucket and it costs too much to let me relax on a patio when it’s around. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the region entirely when the weather gets balmy. There’s Chablis, which at premier cru level and below is a great summer wine, although the price is still rarified. There’s the Sauvignon Blanc–based St. Bris, but it’s tough to find. And then there’s Aligoté, the white–headed stepchild of Burgundy. The Aligoté grape is like Chardonnay’s little brother: it’s lighter, it usually has more acid and it not meant for aging–all of which make it perfect for summer. This Jaffelin is widely available–it likely the only Aligoté you’ll be able to track down. Don’t expect the easy, approachable tropical fruits of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc–from start to finish this wine is resolutely old world with restrained palate of citrus and green melon and a solid core of acidity. It’s lively and unique and, at under $20, a great opportunity to explore the uniqueness of Burgundy without cashing in your kids’ RESPs..

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