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The wines of Alex Gambal, Burgundy, France  

Website: www.alexgambal.com 

Alex Gambal is an American who moved to Beaune in 1993, driven by his passion for Burgundy. He’d met another Burgundy-resident American, the influential Becky Wasserman, and she encouraged him and his young family to spend a year working in the region. But the Gambals stayed on, and Alex spent a year studying winemaking and viticulture in Beaune, before establishing his négociant-éleveur business in 1997.

Initially, he purchased wine, but by 1998 he began making his own wine from brought-in fruit as he begant to establish relationships with growers. These days, around 90% of the wines are vinified by Gambal and his team.

The approach is quality minded, and sometimes his own team will even be picking the grapes. Winemaking is traditional with minimal intervention. Production ceiling is 60 000 bottles a year, the majority of which is sold in the USA.

There’s a good report on Gambal in Bill Nanson’s Burgundy Report here.

I tasted a small selection of the 18 wines in the portfolio, which are being offered by HG Wines (www.hgwines.co.uk); their prices are in brackets.

Alex Gambal Fixin Blanc 2006 Burgundy
Complex, nutty and fruity on the nose, with pronounced minerality. Very interesting – I reckon there’s a hint of reduction here. The palate is minerally and reductive with dense pure fruit. A stylish, complex white Burgundy. 91/100 (£15.40)

Alex Gambal Meursault ‘Clos de Cromin’ 2005 Burgundy
Taut, dense nose of herbs and minerals with some ripe toasty tropical notes in the background. The palate is quite dense with ripe fruit, some oak and some spicy notes. It’s a big wine that’s almost structured. 91/100 (£23.45)

Alex Gambal Puligny Montrachet 2006 Burgundy
Complex, full, herby nutty nose with a hint of toastiness as well as some tropical fruit richness. The palate is complex with nice nuttiness and good concentration. A serious, modern-styled white Burgundy. 92/100 (£28)

Alex Gambal Volnay Santenots 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes 2005 Burgundy
Bright red colour.
Intense, smoky, slightly reductive nose of bright red fruits with smoky match-stick overtones. The palate is dense, savoury and mineralic with lots of pure fruit and quite a bit of reductive character. A concentrated wine for the long haul, although a little tough now. 91/100 (£28.25)

Alex Gambal Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2005 Burgundy
Quite light in colour. Taut, focused nose isn’t showing a lot. The palate is dense with herb and spice notes as well as fresh red fruits. Really firm with good structure, but it’s closed for business and a tiny bit reduced at the moment. 92/100 (£66)

Alex Gambal Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2006 Burgundy
Pale in colour. Tight, round nose of pure cherry fruit. The palate is super-elegant with fresh cherry fruit and lovely acidity. Not a heavy wine, but one with lots of presence and focus. Great purity: this should age well. 93/100 (£66)

Wines tasted 09/08  
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