Bouzeron is located at the northerly edge of the Côte Chalonnaise and is something of an oddity being an AOC solely for white wines from the Aligoté grape, the rest of the region focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Acknowledged as the best area in Burgundy for Aligoté wines, Bouzeron Aligoté has its own AOC – Aligoté from other areas must be labelled Bourgogne Aligoté. Bouzeron Aligoté, as translated from the Fête programme, is ‘a wine of Spring which is fruity, aromatic and minerally on the nose. The palate displays further the roundness and suppleness of the Golden Aligoté’, the last point referring to the name of the vines here – Aligoté Dorée. Clearly the poor relation to Chardonnay in this part of the world, I find Bouzeron Aligoté a great, refreshing (if rather racy at times) wine for summer and it pairs superbly with seafood and soft cheeses (more on that in my next blog post on Burgundy goat’s cheese).
Sunday, April 11th was the occasion of the 11th annual Fête du Bouzeron et du Persillé de Bourgogne (a ham terrine in a white wine jelly made with Bouzeron wine). We turned up at midday, after a visit to the very lively market in nearby Chagny, and the festival was well underway. The attractive programme advertised a ticket for €7 which included six tasting samples (of Jambon Persillé or wine, the choice being from white and red Bourgogne, Bouzeron Aligoté and the sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne). Eschewing the chance to taste more Crémant (I had stocked up on Jean-Claude Breliere’s Crémant earlier in the week in Rully), I plumped for a sample of Jambon Persillé (delicious and stunning with the Aligoté), four Bouzerons (from Domaines de Villaine, Jacquesson, Chanzy, and Delorme) and a white Bourgogne (Clos de la Fortune) also from Domaine Chanzy which I had read about in a recently purchased book: Food-Wine-Burgundy by David Downie (The Terroir Guides). The book also recommends the Bouzeron from my local cave in Mazenay – Marinot-Vernay. I was less taken with their example of Bouzeron although their white Bourgogne is delightful.
All the wines open for tasting at the festival were on sale back at the car park for €7 a bottle but, perhaps unsurprisingly, when I returned to place my order, my top three Bouzerons were already sold out – Domaines Chanzy, de Villaine (co-owners of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) and Jacquesson. I did, however, stumble across a Chanzy Bouzeron in the Leclerc supermarket in Beaune but next year I shall be sure to be at the festival early so as to secure the best wines. As for the Persillé de Bourgogne, I found a recipe in Elizabeth David’s ‘A book of Mediterranean Food’ (oddly) but as it involves calf’s feet and much soaking of hams, I am researching other recipes and I shall soon be giving it a try.