Cart 0 items: $0.00

SHIPPING INCLUDED(on case quantities, Continental USA).

Elden Selections

TOP
Type
White Wine

Julien Cruchandeau Aligote 'Le Village' 2020

Region
Côte de Nuits
Vintage
2020
In Stock
Add To Cart
$29.00
 
SKU: ECRU01W-20
Overview

From 50 year old vines in the hills above Nuits St Georges, this Aligote is fresh and spicy with green apple acidity.  Bright, crisp almost crunchy fruit and a deep, floral lingering finish carried out long by the limestone minerality.

 

Producer
​Julien Cruchandeau started making wine in 2003, and was one of the pioneers of Bouzeron. He has since moved up into the hills above Nuits St Georges to pursue what has become an incredibly dynamic career, marking him as one of the great winemakers of his generation.​Julien champions the lesser-known appellations.  And has taken on the Aligote grape as a badge of honor. So it was really no coincidence that he chose Bouzeron as his starting point.  Appellation Bouzeron (as opposed to every other Burgundy appellation, bar one), chose Aligote over Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, as the appellation's grape. It was a radical move, spearheaded by an elder statesman of Burgundy wine, Aubert De Villaine of Domaine Romanée-Conti, meant to give Aligote the respect and reputation it deserves.  And now, 20 years on, we are seeing the results, not only in some truly magnificent Bouzerons, but also in the quality of Bourgogne Aligote in general.​In 2009 when he moved his winery from Bouzeron to Chaux, a tiny village in the Hautes Cotes up behind Nuits St George. Here he took on another underdog, appellation Hautes Côtes de Nuits. In retrospect, it was a prescient move. The buzz phrase in Burgundy these days, especially after several recent years of drought, is the 'quality is moving up the hill'. In other words, the perfect Burgundian growing conditions are at a higher altitude these days than they were a decade ago.​​The back story is fascinating.  Julien worked in the early 2000s for a domain in Bouzeron, so he learned the subtleties of the grape from many of the Burgundian masters.  And of course he crossed paths with Aubert De Villaine who has a domain in Bouzeron and whose crusade to promote Aligote was gaining ground.  The Domaine De Villaine's Aligote vineyards are planted in what are known as 'massale selection' vines. As opposed to 'clones', massale selection vines are produced with wood taken from old vineyards that were planted in the days before clonal planting. This preserves the variations of the older vines which were selected for their superior quality production.  Vineyards planted in massale selection have significant varietal variation, which adds depth and dimension to the resulting wine.So when Julien bought his first vineyards in Bouzeron, he wanted to plant the best quality plants he could get his hands on.  So he turned to Aubert De Villaine, who, wanting to further promote Bouzeron and help the younger producers, offered Julien vines from his massale selection.  To this day, Julien's Bouzeron is called 'Massale', and is one of the shining stars of the appellation.​Flush with the success of his Bouzeron 'Massale', Julien took on a substantial parcel of Aligote when he set up in the Hautes Côtes de Nuits in 2009.  His Hautes Cotes Aligote is from a large single vineyard named 'Le Village' and is model of what Bourgogne Aligote can be.
Vintage

BURGUNDY 2020

With so many winemakers finishing their 2020 harvest before the end of August, everyone here in Burgundy expected that this hot, sunny vintage would produce atypical wines, overripe, fat and flabby. Why it did not is a mystery to this day.

In fact, 2020 Burgundy, both red and white, is being lauded by the Press and professionals alike as an exceptional vintage, brilliantly fresh, pure, elegant and focused. Yes, the wines are ripe and concentrated, but there is good acidity that more than brings things into balance. This, in fact, defines the Burgundy 2020 style: high acidity and high concentration.

So let’s look, as we do every year, at how the growing season developed, to try to get some idea of what shaped these unexpectedly energetic wines.

In a word, from start to finish, 2020 was precocious. After a mild and humid winter, the vegetative cycle started a month early under sunny skies, with bud burst in mid-April and the first Chardonnay flowers in early May. Then the weather deteriorated. Pinot Noir flowered in cool, damp conditions, and was less successful than Chardonnay, explaining the smaller Pinot crop.

From that point on, there is not much to report weatherwise. It was hot and dry from June through to the end, the driest year since 1945. The grapes started to change color in mid-July, and harvest in August seemed likely.

Now you may think that an August harvest lets everyone get their jobs done and go home early. But remember that there is a big difference between the heat and luminosity of an August afternoon and the cooler, shorter days of September. When maturity comes galloping at you in August, you have to react quickly; a day or two can mean considerable differences in acid and sugar levels.

Indeed, there may have been more stress on the winemakers than there was on the vines. 2020 was in fact an easy growing season, dry, with little risk of fungal problems.  The tough part was deciding when to harvest. Do you put off harvesting to try to get to phenolic maturity, or do you pick sooner to keep acid levels up and to avoid higher alcohol levels?

Many opted to pick early. And for the most part, it proved to be the right decision…though we still do not understand why! 

Many 2020 wines have alcohol levels of 13%-14%, but many are higher. Delaying picking increased the potential alcohol levels by as much as a degree a week.

At the same time, good levels of phenolic maturity gave ripe, but not overripe tannins. Some call the 2020s ‘crunchy’, which is a tannin level riper than ‘green’ but less than ‘fine’.

Total acidity was generally high, but most of that was tartaric acid.  Malic acid, which would normally make up a big percentage of the total acidity, was low. In fact, the wines changed very little during malolactic fermentation, as there was little malic acid to transform into lactic acid.

So, again, we have a vintage that is characterized by high acidity and concentrated fruit. Some are saying that there has never before been a vintage where ripeness and acidity combined to give such brilliant wines with great aging potential. And this is true for both red and white. Freshness, balance, moderate alcohol.

The whites are rich and ripe, but with a crystalline, almost razor-sharp edge. That little touch of lactic acid makes them complex without adding weight.

The reds might bear a resemblance to past vintages.  2005, maybe. But they made wine differently in 2005. Back then, extraction was the goal: get as much out of the ripeness as you could. Today, Pinot is not so much ‘extracted’ as ‘infused’, like tea. This gives wines that are fresher and more energetic, with no less intensity and maybe more spice.

Drink them now, both red and white. There is astounding vitality in the youthful 2020s. But stick to the regional appellations for now because this is above all a vintage for aging, again both red and white. Keep the premier and grand crus for 10-15 years; longer for the best wines.  They have the balance to age, and will reveal little by little the complexity that we just get hints of today. These are wines that may shut down for a few years in a few years, that’s to be expected. But be patient; you will be overjoyed to pull 2020 Burgundy from your cellar down the line.

But even just that little touch of lactic acid made the complexity of the whites.

Appellation
BOUZERONCOTE CHALONNAISEVillage appellation of wines from the Aligoté grape of Côte Chalonnaise, in Saône-et Loire. One of the five appellations of Côte Chalonnaise, and the closest to Côte-d'Or. Created by the appellation decree of February 17, 1998, this Village appellation replaces the former regional appellation Bourgogne aligoté Bouzeron.Communes of production: Bouzeron and Chassey-le-Camp.Area in productionArea in production 59.98 haWhite wines exclusively, grape variety Aligoté.Aligoté (6% of the Burgundy grape variety) is a very old plant in Burgundy. This  vigorous white grape carries grapes a little bigger and more numerous than those of Chardonnay. The grape variety Aligoté comes from a cross between the Pinot Noir and the Gouais (Gallic grape variety), which has disappeared today. Aligoté grown in Bouzeron is called ‘dore’ : when the grapes ripen under the effect of the sun, their skin finer than the traditional Aligoté produced on the rest of Burgundy, takes a golden hue and especially allows a balance in the ripening between alcohol and acid.Bouzeron has a pale gold color, slightly green, which can go towards pale straw. The nose evokes acacia and other white flowers. Flinty mineral aromas and lemony acidity are its classic bouquet. A touch of honey, sometimes. On the palate, it’s round and robust.Recognized in 1997 as a village appellation, the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée Bouzeron honors the grape variety that has made its name: Aligoté. It is particularly successful in Burgundy. In Côte Chalonnaise, north of the Saône-et-Loire, separated from Santenay by the valley of the Dheune, this hill village is very close to Rully and Chassagne-Montrachet. Bouzeron, AOC Village, is exclusively grown on hillsides on soils composed of limestone-dominated white marl, which makes it possible to better control the yields and to propose its particular terroir. The low hills are used to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, whose wines are marketed under the AOC "Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise".  Aligoté grows bestat altitudes between 270 and 350 meters above sea level. The upper part rests on white marl (Oxfordian, first floor of the Upper Jurassic). These hills also bear the bathonian, brown and marly limestones. Soils are usually thin and steep. Exposure: East and Southeast.
Continue Shopping
Sign up for inside offers, Burgundy News, and Special Promotions!