2011 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne Aligote

February 9. Believe it or not, today is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show! No, I didn’t see it. But as many of you all know, I have more than a keen interest in music, so I know stuff like that. In fact, it was 50 years ago Friday that they first landed in the USA. To commemorate the event, Chris, David, Tom, and I hit The Independent on Divisadero St. for the Lucius show. One of the best things about seeing a show at the Indy, is the fact that it is a half block from one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  Chris had other plans before the show, but David, Tom, a friend of mine, and myself saddled up to a four-top and enjoyed a great dinner. This friend of mine happens to be a regular TWH customer, so our dinner conversations were all about music and wine. We all ordered red wine-friendly dishes, so it was a no-brainer to follow David’s suggestion, and order a bottle of 2009 Château d’Or et de Gueules La Bolida. After all, it did make our Top Ten Wines of 2013 list!

As I mentioned, this buddy of mine regularly serves wine with dinner, and has given me “an open order” to purchase on his behalf, anything that I feel suits his palate and represents a great value. He gets at least a case of Les Cimels and Hors Saison each vintage for sure, but I’m always on the lookout for other stuff should it cross my path. Maybe it’s the season, or maybe it’s because I’m completely swamped here at the shop, but I overlooked one. Fortunately, it came up at the table at Nopa last night. Sure, we spoke of the La Bolida when it arrived at the table. We talked about Condrieu, Château Grillet, and Viognier in general. We talked about Burgundy. We talked about Bordeaux. At some point, the subject of Aligotécame up, and when it did, I froze, my eyes got really big, and I pointed at him. “Oh man, you’re going to love this wine,” I exclaimed. David backed me up with high praise for the wine, singling out grower Sylvain Langoureau for his prowess with this tricky, high acid grape variety.  Sometimes wines made from Burgundy’s other white grape can be super sleek and steely with searing acidity levels. Not Sylvain’s. Certainly not with his 2011, anyway.

Sylvain Langoureau owns some 8.5-9 hectares in and around St. Aubin in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. His white wines in particular are fantastic … and they’re priced very fairly! Oh yeah, that’s how this wine came up, one of his Premier Cru St. Aubins is on the list at Nopa. That’s what set me off, my train of thought eventually got to my friend’s palate and this super deal on the 2011 Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne Aligoté. Of his 8.5-9 hectares, only about 10% are planted to Aligoté, but as Anya is quick to point out, there must be some intrinsic value in producing it. It has a tradition and a place at the table.One whiff of this wine, and my first instinct is, “Wow, this smells like fancy white Burgundy!” It’s got citrus, mineral, and spice. There is a little oak present, more on the aromas than the palate, so the barrel treatment is done with used barrels. On the palate, it is lean and lively, with wonderful complexity, freshness, and a snappy, crisp finish. Talk about having a place at the table! This is a fantastic food wine. It will triumph when paired with fried oysters, steamed mussels, halibut, and fatty fish. You can go the chicken route, such as Paillard, or for that matter, Wiener Schnitzel and Veal Milanese. A crab salad with avocado, celery root, and lime dressing would be perfect. Dang. Now I’m starving! All I’m saying is that if you like white Burgundy; if you like Aligoté; if you like lean, crisp, white wines; or if you like to be adventurous with your wine selections, I recommend you give the 2011 Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne Aligoté a try!

A great time had by all; we finished up our delicious Nopa dinners, stepped out onto Divisadero St., and strolled the half block to the Independent. We caught up with Chris, ran into a few more friends, the lights went down and Lucius worked their magic. In a word: fantastic! Speaking of fantastic, that crab, avocado, celery root salad with lime vinaigrette is on the menu at Picco. Maybe I’ll bring the rest of this sample bottle over there and chill after a week’s work! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions of comments about music, Aligoté, my impressions of the 2011 UGC Bordeaux tasting, or the most interesting English Football season in recent memory: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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