In recent years, wine producers and their vocal fans have formed advocacy groups to tell the world of their passion, and to try to seduce others to join their cause.\r\n\r\nFor example, the California-based Rhone Rangers tout grape varieties associated with the Rh\u00f4ne Valley, ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) recruits fanatics of that grape, while the Grenache Association shows the love for this internationally grown variety.\r\n\r\nNow add to these Les Aligoteurs, a group of French producers and wine lovers who promote Burgundy\u2019s all-but-forgotten white grape variety, Aligot\u00e9 (pronounced \u201cal-uh-GO-tay\u201d). These loyalists want people to see the charms of Aligot\u00e9 sooner rather than later.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cAligot\u00e9 was grown everywhere in Burgundy before phylloxera,\u201d says J\u00e9r\u00f4me Castagnier, proprietor of Domaine Castagnier in Burgundy\u2019s famous C\u00f4te d\u2019Or region, referring to the disease that wiped out most vineyards in Burgundy during the late 19th century.\r\n\r\nWhile French vines grafted onto disease-resistant American rootstock solved that problem, it marked the beginning of the decline of Aligot\u00e9, a natural cross between Pinot Noir and the seldom-seen Gouais blanc. In most areas of Burgundy, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were considered better wine grapes, and thus could demand higher prices. In some regions, Aligot\u00e9 was banned.\r\n\r\nStill, Aligot\u00e9 continued to exist under the basic \u201cBourgogne Aligot\u00e9\u201d appellation established in 1937. Most are inexpensive, simpler white wines made mainly from the more-prolific Aligot\u00e9 vert clone planted in the less-valued, richer soils of the Sa\u00f4ne Valley flatlands. Aligot\u00e9 fans believe its key attribute is that it expresses the terroir of thinner, rockier, hillside soils.\r\n\r\nYet, some prominent family growers loved their hillside Aligot\u00e9s, especially from old vines, and continued to produce the variety in addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They were enchanted by the wine\u2019s lightly floral aromas, the combination of citrus fruitiness and flinty minerality and, above all, its vivid, mouthwatering acidity. It can also age for several years.\r\n\r\nEven in the high-rent regions of the C\u00f4te d\u2019Or, a few Aligot\u00e9 enclaves remained, most notably in C\u00f4te Chalonnaise, the northernmost C\u00f4te de Nuits at Marsannay, and on the lofty slope at the Clos des Monts Luisants that overlook Morey-Saint-Denis\u2019 five grand cru Pinot Noir vineyards. Until the 1970s, even the lofty Corton-Charlemagne had Aligot\u00e9 vines planted among its Chardonnay.\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Golden Aligot\u00e9 of Bouzeron\r\nThe appellation most dedicated to quality Aligot\u00e9 is Bouzeron, a village on the C\u00f4te Chalonnaise just south of C\u00f4te de Beaune. Until 1998, when Bouzeron was elevated to village status, its wines were called \u201cAligot\u00e9 Bouzeron\u201d on the labels.\r\n\r\nToday, they are simply known as \u201cBouzeron.\u201d Perhaps the most famous of these is Domaine A. & P. de Villaine. Its owner, Aubert de Villaine, is the proprietor of Burgundy\u2019s highest-regarded and priciest red wines, Domaine de la Roman\u00e9e-Conti, which can fetch thousands of dollars per bottle. De Villaine and his American-born wife, Pamela, bought the Bouzeron vineyard in 1971.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is more interest in America in Bouzeron than there is in France,\u201d says Pierre de Benoist, winemaker at Domaine A. & P. de Villaine and Aubert\u2019s nephew. He complains that the average French buyer is still wedded to the classification system that favors Chardonnay grown in well-regarded vineyards.\r\n\r\n\u201c[Importer] Kermit Lynch very quickly believed in Bouzeron,\u201d he says. \u201cHe thought it was logical that when the soil is good and plant is well-selected, then you can make Aligot\u00e9 on the same level as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe soils in Bouzeron are thin and of white marl, and its vines are generally the prized \u201cgolden Aligot\u00e9,\u201d or Aligot\u00e9 dor\u00e9. Many of the vines are very old, and de Benoist says some of his have been there for 115 years, replanted shortly after the phylloxera devastation. In total, about 130 acres of vines are planted in Bouzeron, out of a total 3,880 acres throughout Burgundy.\r\n\r\nThe number of producers exporting Aligot\u00e9s to the U.S. testify to its growing popularity, and its wide range of prices indicate its appeal. For example, Domaine Castagnier and A. & P. de Villaine retail for around $30 while bottles of Ponsot\u2019s Clos des Monts Luisants average around $130.\r\n\r\nOther reliable producers include Jean-Marc Roulot, Michel Lafarge, Jean Fournier, Sylvain Pataille, Coche-Dury, Ramonet, Leroy and Marquis d\u2019Angerville.\r\n\r\nDe Benoist and Pataille are prominent Aligoteurs, although de Benoist thinks the name, a mashup of Aligot\u00e9 and auteur, or creator, credits winemakers at the expense of terroir. The group had its \u201cfounding tasting\u201d in April at the BoisRouge restaurant in the village of Flagey Ech\u00e9zeaux, which featured dozens of Aligot\u00e9 winemakers and devotees.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe chef at BoisRouge, Philippe Delacourcelle, is president of the Aligoteurs.\r\n\r\n\u201cI love to prepare vegetables with Aligot\u00e9, because vegetables match so well with the wine\u2019s flavors,\u201d he says. \u201cOf course, you can also marry Aligot\u00e9 with fish or shellfish with a simple drop of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spices are also good companions: lemongrass, star anise, pepper, ras el hanout [a Moroccan spice blend].\u201d\r\n\r\nWith its affordability and classic Bourgogne blanc taste profile, the Aligoteurs want to convince American wine lovers that Aligot\u00e9 is more than just another croc.