2020 Domaine Dureuil-Janthial, Bourgogne Aligoté, White Burgundy, France.
I’ve had a few wines by Vincent Dureuil, at Domaine Dureuil-Janthial, but not this fabulous Côte Chalonnaise Aligoté, which my friend and wine enthusiast Lee Lightfoot shared with me recently, and it was a wine that really elevates the varietal to new heights, showing a depth and class on par with wines that get far more money. I know this small winery mainly for it’s Rully Blanc, which is also a top value for white Burgundy, and its innovate holistic and organic farming in this particular region with Vincent taking a traditional and non manipulative approach to crafting his exceptional small lot offerings. The bright pale gold 2020 Bourgogne Aligoté starts with classic reductive matchstick, subtle aromatics, mineral tones and lemony citrus with a saline, stony and crisp medium bodied palate, showing hints of tart peach, green apple and more juicy citrus fruits, along with oyster shell, hazelnut and green herbs. This is lighter and racier than the Dureuil-Janthial Chardonnays, but in this vintage, this Aligoté is beautifully textured and absolutely brilliant and crystalline in the glass, out classing some Premier Cru Chablis that I’ve had recently! In prior vintages, I have also enjoyed Domaine Dureuil-Janthial’s regular Bourgogne Blanc and the Rully 1er Cru “Chapitre” that very much caught my attention, and for money I will definitely try to get more of this one.
The Dureuil-Janthial Bourgogne Aligoté comes from a tiny parcel, of organic vines that were planted in 1985, in the Rully appellation that is set on clay and limestones soils with a warm east facing exposure, all of which helps contribute to this wine’s concentration and depth, rising above the average Aligoté and makes for a savvy value, as this 2020 shows. Vincent who took over Dureuil-Janthial from his father Raymond in 1994, has passionately made it his mission to up the game in this part of the Côte Chalonnaise, which sits just about five miles south of Chassagne-Montrachet, especially Rully, which is a fine terroir, though lesser known, that delivers some of the best bargains in White Burgundy. For his Aligoté, like his other whites, gets a soft and slow whole-cluster pressing and racked straight into exclusively used barriques where it is fermented with indigenous yeasts. Unlike many producers, Vincent takes Aligoté seriously and it sees about 12 months on the lees in neutral barrel and then another 6 months in stainless steel tank before bottling, all of which brings out the best in this grape and makes for a thrilling example, which I highly recommend to any white Burgundy enthusiasts, and those looking for a quality alternative white wine. Beyond Aligoté, which is getting more attention these days, does a fantastic collection of Rully Blancs and Rouge, as well as a selection of Puligny-Montrachet bottlings and a Mercurey Rouge, all worth chasing down.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive