Aligoté is a white wine grape varietal used to make dry white wines in the Burgundy region of central France. It also has significant plantings in several wine regions across Eastern Europe - and was first recorded in Burgundy in the 18th century.
A crossing of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc are the gentic parents of Aligoté - along with 15 other French grape varietals, including Chardonnay. Cultivated in Burgundy, Aligoté nearly disappeared altogether when Chardonnay took the region by storm, Aligoté makes up approximately 6% of the vines planted as of 2010. It is a hardy, early-ripening varietal that thrives on steep sites, though yields must be kept low for Aligoté to produce quality wine. It can make light, fresh white wines with more lively acidity than some Chardonnay's.

 

Aligoté is a fairly vigorous white grape, its berries are larger and more numerous than those of Chardonnay and consequently, it has much higher-yields. It can be found almost anywhere in soils which, though good for vines, and are not ideal for either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
Aligoté produces wine with elevated acidity that can be enjoyed young. It is not suited to oak ageing, which can mask its delicate aromas. As a still wine, it is clean, fresh and light to medium-bodied, but can also be found in sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne and in Eastern Europe, where it is used primarily for the production of sparkling wines.
In Burgundy, where it often loses out to more prestigious grape varietals, Aligoté is often planted only in the poorer vineyard sites at the top and bottom of the slopes. This varietal is more tolerant to the cold. Its aroma includes notes of apples and lemons. The village of Bouzeron which is considered to represent the region's finest examples of the variety with the appellation Bouzeron-Aligoté AOP restricting the yields to 45 hl/ha compared to the Bourgogne Aligoté AOP limited to 60 hl/ha.
In Russia it is used to make sparkling wines with varietal wines made along the coast of the Black Sea around Gelendzhik. There have also been some experimental plantings in Chile.