Shooting Star Aligote 2014
Buy a Bottle (750ml)
Aligoté is a variety, which is little known but widely planted. It is popular in Eastern Europe with plantings in the Ukraine and Moldavia. In France, it is the other white grape in Burgundy, but has always played second fiddle to the noble chardonnay grape. Generally, aligoté is planted in either hilltop or cooler valley locations because it is more cold-tolerant. It has never been planted in any commercial quantity in California, but in Washington State, where cool winters are a fact of life, aligoté has found a happy home.
The Newhouse family has farmed the land south of Sunnyside Washington for generations. They were some of the first wine grape growers and were always experimenting with growing different varieties including two acres of aligoté, planted in the 1970's. These grapes were made into varietal wine by one Washington winery for many years, for a time even outselling its chardonnay. When the boom for chardonnay took hold in the late 1980's, the sales of aligoté declined and eventually the grapes were blended into the chardonnay. Given his penchant for working with lesser-known varietals, when Jed had the opportunity to contract for the fruit he jumped at the chance.
Our aligoté is barrel fermented, but we use older oak barrels rather than the 30% new oak that we typically use for chardonnay. The wine is crisp and clean, a wine with a nice balance of fruit and acidity. Flinty, mineral elements mix with a light floral hint on the nose, followed with the suggestion of tart/sweet apple on the palette, making it a wonderful, versatile food wine.