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Alex Gambal: 2010 Update (2008s)

gambal-2008-vintageVisited 29.01.2010.

There’s no getting away from it, Alex has fashioned some great wines from the 2008 vintage – and from both colours too. It’s more than a little sad then that he’s relatively pessimistic about the general market for 2008s as these wines deserve an audience. I, at least, will make my customary purchases!

Late malos here like most places. The whites to be bottled in mid February and the reds in March.
 

2008 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Les Deux Papis
Bottled in September, mostly from grapes in Volnay and Pommard plus some from Savigny. Something close to 15% new oak. A wine with lovely aromatics, underpinned with a little dark oak – very pretty. Lively, energetic and fresh personality that’s underpinned by a subtle tannin. Refreshing and rather nice.
2008 Alex Gambal, Savigny-lès-Beaune Vieilles Vignes
Twenty percent new oak. Finished its late malos in the tank. The aromas are both denser and darker after the bourgogne, also faintly spicy. There’s a little too much gas for too much detail; just to say that it’s fresh, long finishing and slightly creamy. Should be good.
2008 Alex Gambal, Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes
About one-third new oak. Also finished malos in tank. A little more aromatic width and the volume of spice is turned up to a Vosne vernacular. Despite gas on the palate, you can see that this is rounder, softer and fatter than the Savigny, just a hint more tannin too. Also a good length.
2008 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny
Quite old vines, but no designation on the label. Tight aromatics, but there are glimpses of the concentrated core of fruit. Seems more acid-forward than the Vosne, but there’s more gas so it’s tough to say. Finishes very well though…
2008 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
This contact taken as grapes for the first time in 2009, for this vintage delivered in wine, but already in Gambal’s barrels. More aromatic impact than the villages; soft, round and with a more floral dimension. In the mouth there’s more tannin, a linear stance and a clear extra intensity. High-toned flavours that insinuate themselves into the cavities of your mouth – very nice!
2008 Alex Gambal, Clos de Vougeot
Four barrels from a long-term contract, one barrel from the middle of the clos and 3 from the top. 50% new oak. Here the aromas are complex and quite lovely; slightly warm and not too dense. On your tongue there is width coupled to minerality, fine acidity and an impressive, slowly fading length. Fresh personality and certainly a ‘keeper’.
2008 Alex Gambal, Le Chambertin
Two barrels, 50% new oak. A wider panorama of aromas than the Clos de Vougeot – seemingly more virile too. Impact, fat texture, a really super extra mid-palate dimension plus super length. This is quite a rich wine, but it’s the initial flavour ‘impact’ that wows. It’s not easy to find ‘worthy’ Chambertin, but here’s one!
2008 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Chardonnay
10-15% new oak from grapes in Volnay, Meursault, Puligny, Savigny & Hautes CôtesWide, sweet aromas of pineapples and agrumes. Nice texture with good underlying acidity. There’s just a hint of barrel flavour and even a slight burst of intensity in the mid-palate. I bought the 2006, don’t remember the 2007 but will buy the 2008.
2008 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Chardonnay Cuvée Prestige
Only 8 barrels this vintage, ~20% new oak. The aromas are similar to the basic wine, but finer. Softer and silkier in the mouth, again with a small burst of energy in the mid-palate. Not quite the energy of the ‘basic’ wine, but a clear step-up in refinement in all areas.
2008 Alex Gambal, Fixin Blanc
The fruit aromas are slightly greener and towards the melon end of the spectrum. In the mouth there is a little more impact and density – wide across the mid-palate – it keeps a good balance. Good, slightly savoury length. Nice wine.
2008 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgeurs des Dents du Chien
The aromatics are understated, but complex and fine. If there’s some complexity on the nose, the flavours are tighter in the mouth, yet it’s silky, wide and has a lovely burst of interest in the mid-palate. Mineral flavours linger well. Up to the usual high standard!
2008 Alex Gambal, Puligny-Montrachet
The nose here is riper and showing a more overt depth, still seems tight though. Fuller and riper flavours, hints of oak and again a super texture. For all those positives, it is the finish that is most compelling. Super villages.
2008 Alex Gambal, Chassagne-Montrachet
Like the Puligny, this shows ripe fruit, this time with a hint of brioche. Wider but less silky, yet there’s altogether more energy and overt flavour. Good length, this is super.
2008 Alex Gambal, Meursault Clos du Cromin
High-tones aromas of lovely, fresh fruit – hints of pear. Tighter packaged than the villages Chassagne (hard not to be) but the’s a lovely mid-palate width, with flavours that really hold in the finish. Bravo.
2008 Alex Gambal, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
The aromas offer a wide vista of delicacy and complexity. The flavours are more mineral styled and very complex in the mid-palate. Quite an academic wine this one. Very, very good.
2008 Alex Gambal, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Maltroie
That characteristic deeper, slightly savoury Chassagne nose. The is more flavour impact here and shows plenty of action in the mid-palate. This wine delivers a (very) slow diminuendo of flavour – it really hangs around. Super.
2008 Alex Gambal, Corton-Charlemagne
Despite a width of aromas this has a brooding, powerful personality. Ripe, sweet and powerful yet approachable by virtue of being wrapped in baby-fat. Understatedly long. I’m very impressed – this will be worth following.

7 responses to “Alex Gambal: 2010 Update (2008s)”

  1. Paul Wilton

    Bill,

    I have always enjoyed Gambal’s efforts and have visited a couple of times but not in the last two years.
    The winemaker used to be Fabrice Laronze (his charming wife used to conduct the tastings with us), is he still making the wine?? I had heard that he may have moved on.

    Does Gambal still have the Volnay Santenots – that always used to be my favourite at the tastings and I have a few cases of the 2005 stashed away.

    Enjoying working my way through this issue, particularly the feature on Patrice Rion – but no tasting note on the Bon-Batons??

    Best regards,

    Paul

  2. David Keuhner

    Dear Bill

    First time reader of your “Burgundy Report” and we’ve done a lot of business with Alex and Megan over the last few years. In fact, we’ve worked with them recently to spread the word about his amazing wines and particularly this 2008 vintage.

    We’ve had a number of clients visit with Alex and we’ve spent a lot of time with him here in the US. I proud to say some lucky clients of ours will be receiving some wonderful magnums of his 2008 vintage!

    I look forward to reading more from the Burgundy Report!

  3. Neville Yates

    Fabrice left before the 2009 vintage. The winemaker now is Geraldine Godot. The Volnay got smashed in the hail in 2008 so there is none for sale.

  4. Paul Wilton

    Thanks Neville. Any idea where Fabrice has gone?? Be useful to know as I really liked his style.

  5. Jane Crabill

    I’m another fan of Alex’s wines and glad to see you reporting favorably on a broad range from the 2008 vintage. I heard about the hail damage in Volnay when I attended a tasting in Nantucket. I too have enjoyed the Volnay Santenots in the past. I’m still awaiting a small shipment of his 2007 wines but will try to secure some from 2008 as well.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?