Domaine de Villaine | Bouzeron, France
Bouzeron is the first village of the Côte Chalonnaise, an enclave which was identified by the monks of Cluny in the Middle-Ages, as having a particularly favourable terroir. Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and his wife Pamela established A & P de Villaine here and really made a name for the Aligoté grape, thereby gaining appellation contrôlée recognition for Bouzeron in 1979.
This is a special site and in order to respect the natural balance, no herbicides or pesticides are ever used - the Domaine has had organic certification since 1986. Aligoté had for too long been seen as the runt of the Burgundy litter, destined for a dash of local cassis to make it drinkable. However, here the de Villaine’s have proved that grown on the right sites with low yields, Aligoté can produce some really exciting wines with very appealing individuality.
Vineyards on the slopes are generally reserved for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with Aligoté confined to also-ran status and lesser soils. However at A & P de Villaine in Bouzeron, the Aligoté vines are grown exclusively on the slopes.
Domaine A & P de Villaine controls already naturally-restricted yields by selective planting, rigorous pruning and occasional pre-harvest thinning. The Domaine's harvests are, on average, about 20% lower than the yields authorised by the already-stringent appellation contrôlée regulations.