Alex Gambal – 2017


Tasted with Alexandre Brault in Beaune, 11 December 2018.

Maison Alex Gambal
14 Boulevard Jules Ferry
21200 Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 22 75 81

Alexandre on 2018:
2018 – was a tiring vintage but gratifying once the wines were in the cellar. Vinify about 17 hectares, but with the generous harvest it felt more like 20 and we didn’t have any more space – we were also a little short-handed in the cuverie, at least for the vintage’s volume. Happy to have had a run-up with the 2017s to be prepared. The whites were the most generous, we harvested between Fixin and Chassagne and I’ve never seen it before, but in 2018 the maturity was so different so we had the chance to cope. I saw some blockage of maturity as some places had no rain from the start of July. Even between Enseignières and Bâtard – so close but the Bâtard was ready when the Puligny was still a little blocked. Some parcels matured so quickly and others were very stable. Because of that it was our longest harvest ever. A vintage that I hope we have great wines to match the volume.

Alexandre on 2017:
2017 was cool – we love 17! It was challenging as the Spring was so early and the season soon starts running away from you. We harvested for one day in August, then the rain came on the Friday so stopped. We waited and then attacked again – so the harvest took us about 16 days – so quite long. We thought that we had no frost damage but in the bottom of Meursault and Chassagne we had still lost some yield. 2017 lacked rain during flowering which complicated some things. During the first part of the season it could be 25° or it could be poor weather and 20° – it was really up and down. But the vines pushed very quickly until the end of June when the brakes came on, but then the weather warmed again. There’s a nice fruit that I like a lot, we have a tendency to shorten the elevage of the 2017s – a little to keep the fruit for the reds – the whites are very good. Some mildew in the whites towards the end of August, otherwise very good.

The team here made some green harvesting in both vintages…

The wines…

In one note I wrote that I “love the cut of the wines here this year” – across the range there are great villages options, but the whites take the cake (or the trophy!) this vintage.

We have done much less pigeage over the last years, but in 17 and 18 we had good colour very quickly so not really needed.

2017 Domaine Bourgogne Pinot Noir – Les Deux Papis
Will probably take the Côte d’Or label, but not sure when as it’s changing – ‘we have very consistent labelling and it’s important to have pinot or chardonnay on the label in many markets.’ Premeaux, Savigny and Volnay grapes all domaine.
A deep and open nose, slightly cushioned – an invitation for sure. Full, depth of flavour, lots of energy and fine depth in the finish too – great Bourgogne.

2017 Chorey-lès-Beaune
All domaine again.
A touch less colour. A perfumed but more modest weight of aroma. Energy, more drive a more direct wine than the easy roundness of the Bourgogne. A touch of structure in the shape. Long. Very good with some finishing bitters – wait a year!

2017 Savigny-lès-Beaune
Planchots and Moutiarmet, both domaine. This bottled last week – the only one so far – the first two to be bottled today.
A touch less colour. Like the Chorey a modest but fine and perfumed nose. Hmm – big volume in the mouth, I love the ripples of energetic flavour as they spread out from the core. Big finishing – excellent!

2017 Côte de Brouilly
A contract since 2015.
Extra colour, extra perfume. Extra volume – full of energy, a touch, more of a drag to the texture rather than a grain to the tannin. Vibrant finish. Really fun, but with depth too. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Saint Romain
4 parcels blended
Also a nose with plenty of vibration – almost a match for the Côte de Brouilly. Silkier, flavour that winds around the tongue, ooh that’s a nicely floral finish too. Fresh and long. I like this a lot.

All the following in barrel for bottling in Feb-March:

2017 Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Grands Picotins
Almost 30% whole cluster. Old vines not a big volume and usually concentrated.
A width of aroma, tighter in the depth, adding complexity. In the mouth this is really lovely, wide, beautifully textured, lacy wine but lacking no depth – layered complex and delicious – great Savigny villages!

2017 Domaine Auxey-Duresses
Very old vines, small bunches – ‘it doesn’t give you a lot…’ Sur Moulin, south-facing with some sand in the soil.
Higher-toned nose. Lovely energy again, direct wine, more structure than the Savigny – such a different style. Delicious but I’d wait a year or-so. Lovely wine – super finsh…

2017 Volnay
Domaine, 2 parcels Petit Gamay and Robardelles vllages
Directly a different nose, more perfumed. Beautiful freshness again – a wide panorama of flavour ingraining mouth-wateringly over the palate – such a juicy, delicious, long wine. Lovely.

2017 Pommard
All high vines with whiter soil.
Less width but much more depth of aroma. Direct, more intense – incisive flavour – love the cut of the wines here this year. Super again.

2017 Gevery-Chambertin
Deep, not the widest but there’s good volume of fresh, almost truffled aroma here. A little reduction but fresh and vibrant like all the wines so-far today. Tenaciously flavoured. Delicious

2017 Vosne-Romanée
A silkier, more perfumed nose, good depth. Open, perhaps a suggestion of reduction, mobile, complex, very easy over the palate: Delicious but I find rather slight today…

2017 Chambolle-Musigny
From Cras, villages, for the moment not on the label, next to Bonnes-Mares
A little more colour. Deeper, more cushioned nose, accented with higher tones too – very inviting. Supple beautifully textured, more overt concentration, developing new directions of flavour. Bravo – this is a buy!

2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
About 40% whole clusters used in the fermentation for this one. ‘I like the balance it brings to the richness of Charmes.’
Less colour. A proper wc nose – but in the best, most complex and rose-petal perfumed sense of that. Supple, great mouth-filling volume – such a complexity of flavour. Always changing – a completely different beast to the villages wine before. Open and delicious – I’ve a tiny preference for that latter wine, but this is still excellent and finishes with great presence!

2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Aux Echanges
More colour – no wc here. Hmm, deep and cushioned nose – hyper attractive. Fresh attack, but a cushioning to good concentration and really lots of growing complexity. A wine of drive and energy. More structural in the finish – the one to wait longest for, but excellent wine again.

2017 Domaine Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos des Argillières
About one-third of wc used here. There was a little frost here in 2017. Plenty of hail here in 2018 too.
Good strength of colour. A big, deep nose – wc, here augmented with a little barrel too. Big in the mouth with a great combination of freshness and power – to start with you won’t note the oak, but it comes from the mid-palate onwards. Well-concentrated wine, lots of flavour – wait for this one, but the texture, concentration and overall balance are first-class – the structure really on shows itself with a little astringency deep into the finish.

2017 Clos de Vougeot
About one-third whole cluster again.
Modest colour. A nice and quite silky volume of aroma here – quite perfumed. Big, massive in the mouth – fresh, super combination of complexity and freshness. Oh that’s good – the concentration is not overt but given the intensity and complexity that’s moot – this is showing extravagantly today!

2017 Charmes-Chambertin
Ab grapes (agriculture biologique). Actually from Mazoyères, the same source for 5 years – one of the earliest organic domaines in Gevrey. Two-thirds whole cluster.
Good colour. A touch of rose to the nose. Easier, more cushioned, more mobile, melting flavour of a personality here. Layered in the finish too. More impression of concentration, less directly energetic, just a lovely wine, if easier wine. An extra perfume in the finish.

The whites:
DIAMs for Bourgognes and villages – since 2016 testing ndetec, natural corks that have been tested individually for TCA, no DIAM for reds

2017 Domaine Bourgogne Aligoté
Older large-format barrels. Bottled
Fresh – open – ‘drink-me’ nose. Mouth-filling, easy – but not too easy – delicious, fresh, mouth-watering flavour and vibrantly finishing – yum!

2017 Domaine Bourgogne Chardonnay
Vines between Volnay and Meursault, plus some in St.Romain direction Hautes Côtes.
Wider, a little yellow citrus. Fuller, rounder, but fresh and open, layered in the middle and finish – delicious. Really excellent Bourgogne.

2017 Fixin (Blanc)
A fuller, and deeper nose – less savoury in style than I remember. Wide, well-concentrated, layered but still with lots of freshness. Never my personal favourite, but it’s the most interesting wine that I remember for this label here. Great finish!

2017 St.Romain
A faintly reductive depth but at the same time a nose of fine interest. Fresher, more muscled – but lithe, energetic, of line and with fine but intense melting flavour. Bravo!

2017 Domaine Beaune Montagne St.Désiré
Narrower but richer nose. Fuller, richer, layered, complex – ooh this is very good and becoming more intense all the time. It could have a touch more energy, but without the backdrop of the previous wines there’s certainly enough.

The first wine from barrel, all the rest were bottled:

2017 Meursault Clos du Cromin
A little reductive and nutty impression to the nose. Full, energetic but still with composure, fine material here, melting over the palate – ooh this is will be really great. Bravo!

2017 Meursault Narvaux
A fresher nose, more clarity today. More incisive, fresh and open, a touch of barrel. Layers of finishing flavour. Excellent wine – really a weight and length of finish!

2017 St.Aubin
2 parcels, bas de Vers Marains Est, and Les Beau Pins. More large-format barrels here.
A more modest nose, but with fine flashes of purity. Wide, fresh with great intensity and a touch of cushioning to the texture – this is really great villages. Bravo!

2017 St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Testing a new foudre here.
A bigger nose, composed, but not quite ready, but impressive already! Some gas – more energy and intensity – really such a lot of things going on here, melting last flavour from my gums. Long, long…

2017 St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents du Chien
Also a nose not yet ready, not full volume but some interesting complexity already. Lovely in the mouth – more open, a wine of clarity and complexity – energy, but not too much, faintly oaked today but that will fade. Always a great cuvée here. Bravo!
2017 Chassagne-Montrachet
2 parcels – en Ormeau and le Voillenots.
A more weighted but fresh aroma – but becomes more and more interesting and fine. Plenty of volume a little muscle – open, not oaked, layered, deliciously complex. Bravo villages again!

2017 Domaine Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Maltroie
Have harvested a little earlier in Chassagne in the last years to avoid ‘too rich’ the opposite to what they’ve done in Puligny.
A weight of aroma with quite some core. Fresh, muscular, lithe, intense, delicious, growing in complexity – a great step up from the last though without the same delicacy of flavour touched by tannin in the finish – but excellent!

2017 Domaine Puligny-Montrachet
Les Grandes Champs plus some Rue du Vache – old vines.
The nose not fully formed yet, today touched by a modest reduction. Open, nicely full a wine that balances well the tension and density. A touch of barrel and great texture. This will certainly be excellent, there’s fine concentration here. Excellent!

2017 Domaine Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères
More open, wide and perfumed – this is very lovely and quite some invitation. Deeper, fresh, fine texture – more intensity – ooh – great villages – long and melting with flavour! Bravo!
2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Caillerets
New here. The nose is currently modest but very pure and enticing. More open, probably as concentrated as the last but much more open, layered and beautifully fresh. Orange blossom on the flavour – ooh wow!
2017 Domaine Bâtard-Montrachet
The first vintage was 2011.
Energetically fresh but rooted in a good concentration – super complex. Not too rich – this is, I think, the best Bâtard from here since they got the vines possibly even better than the 2016 – great – and well-done!
2016 Corton-Charlemagne
Deep, vibrant – fragrant even – but not so wide today, at least after the Bâtard. Hmm, this is so good in the mouth even after the last wine, more structural, more layered. Ooh that’s so good – why is Bâtard usually 3 x the price? – This is easily as good and depending on your taste, maybe better for the more structural approach. Bravo!

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