2017 Benoit Ente, Bourgogne Aligoté, White Burgundy, France.
The other Ente for many years now, Benoit Ente, the younger brother of the cult legend Arnaud Ente, is now finding his own fame and his recent vintages show he has loads of talent and the wines are deliciously appealing, even this bright and mineral fresh Aligoté, which I found wonderfully poised and a significant elevation of what you typically get from this grape, expect on rare occasions and it’s on par with the prestigious De Villiane Bouzeron version. There is a real feel of substance, depth and structure in this vintage, without losing the grape’s zippy personality with a touch of richness to go with natural acidity in a nice effort that delivers vivid lemon/lime, green apple, melon and a touch of unripe peach tartness as well as some herbal notes, salty stones, a nutty element and sour grass. With a few swirls and sips it warms with a bit more texture and pleases the light to medium body palate. This is the third bottle of Benoit’s Aligoté, shared with friends, in a short period I’ve had and each time I keep thinking to myself, I like this steely clean stuff, and I really need to grab a few for myself.
While first and foremost Benoit Ente, who broke away from just selling grapes in 1997 and finally got his own label established is mainly known for his Puligny-Montrachet bottlings. Ente’s humble Aligoté comes from family old vines located in the Puligny-Montrachet zone, which the winery says were sourced from three plots planted in 1949, 1953 and 2002. Benoit also adds that these parcels are pruned using the cordon de Royat method to restrict the natural vigor his vines, which can easily over crop, that makes this wine a more compelling and concentrated example. Ente’s winemaking is simple and focused with this one seeing traditional fermentation, a gentle whole cluster pressing and raised in a combination of barrel and vat for about a year then the final blend is assembled before resting a further six months then bottled unfined and unfiltered. This Bourgogne Aligoté was crafted to show a crisp purity, so it is not seeing batonage and new oak that would over power the grape’s true flavor and it goes well with first courses, soft cheese, oysters and or delicate fish dishes.
($40 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive