News from Alex Gambal

Everyone has been asking me where are your e mail updates,

where are your harvest notes, where are your vintage notes?

I have no good response other than to say we have been very busy over the last couple of years and to fill this void we are introducing to you our newsletter that we will be sending out three times a year. In addition to my normal ramblings we hope you enjoy a format that on a more regular basis will give you details and vivid images of our life in the vines, the cuverie, the cellar and on the road visiting you. We all receive too many mailing that have little to no utility so I hope that you will give us the chance to do something a bit different; current and more dynamic than a normal web site or blast sales pitches. Please let me know how you feel about the quality of the information; too much, too little, not new, boring? I am interested in what you are thinking because the sea of information that each of us receive every day is often vapid and what I want to do is have you look at what we do here in a different, simple, energetic and perhaps mysterious way.

Thank you for taking the time to read this first letter and if it does not please you please do not hesitate to unsubscribe below. I look forward to hearing from you and having you visit us in Burgundy soon.   A. G.



2011, An unpredictable vintage!


The 2011 harvest (as 2010) was challenging in very different ways. On the weather front, summer arrived during the spring, upsetting the vine's cycle. In March, the buds began to burst as we attached the vines to their wires. Fine weather kept disease at bay so we stopped all spraying in the month of July. We then imagined waiting peacefully whilst the grapes matured for an early harvest as in 2003. And then, mid-July a drastic turn about! Cold and rain set in until mid-August. Daily surveillance limited grape loss. The  Côte de Beaune suffered less from the bad weather than the Côte de Nuits which received more rain. At last the fine weather returned and harvest was scheduled: the whites began on the 30th of August with Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault, finishing with Fixin and Saint- Aubin on the 6th of September. The reds began on the 1st of September with Chorey-lès-Beaune, finishing on the 9th with Latricières-Chambertin. The whites begin with strong potential, whereas the reds require extra surveillance until bottling.


A finely tuned team.


The five of us at Alex Gambal form a perfect quintet.

Alex, the leader, gives the tone for the style of wines.


Geraldine Godot joined us as our winemaker and head of production in september 2009. She follows the wine from the vine to the bottle; winemaking from start to finish is all Geraldine.


Megan is the producer composing sales for the export market and organizing the finances.


Bertrand joined us in January 2010. He is the soloist in the vineyard, observing nature, while totally in tune with the earth, subsequently working it with his hands.


Perrine, combining work and study, does her scales in the vineyard and cellar. We all work together as a choir giving perfect harmony to the melody of Alex Gambal's wines.


Alex' Red Burgundy, le "Petit Volnay"


Alex particularly likes this wine as it comes from four plots he bought in 2005, two of which are "Petits Prés" and "Mon Poulain".

Situated between the generic AOC Burgundy and AOC Village Volnay, they give yields worthy of a Grand Cru with concentrated and aromatic grapes.


Very well "raised" wines


In 2010 we reconsidered our ageing methods. Today we work exclusively with five Burgundian barrel-makers. Each ones knowledge plays a role in providing the finesse we seek for our wines. The toasts are 'long and penetrating' (so say the barrel-makers!) All the barrel wood is French, with the difference lying in the fine or semi-fine grain of the staves selected. Our wines are aged in 228 litre barrels but also in 350 litre and 450 litre barrels. The wine is aged for 12 to 16 months depending on the vintage and tasting and is maintained for an extra three months in vats; just the time for the wine to attain excellence. The proportion of new oak is not a foregone conclusion. It is adapted to both vintage and tasting.


For the whites : 10 to 15% new oak for the generic appellations, 20 to 30% for the AOC Villages, 60% for the Premiers and Grands Crus.


For the reds : 20% new oak for the generic appellations, 40% for the Premiers and Grands Crus.



Christian Martray…

… Maître Sommelier, Chef Sommelier de l'Albert 1er

à Chamonix, love le Saint-Aubin "Les Murgers des Dents de Chien".


Why did I choose Alex’ wines?

As he is American I thought he would be making very oaky wines.

On the contrary, he has always favored the fruit and preserved the characteristics of each appellation. A true gem!


My favorite bottle?

The Saint-Aubin "Les Murgers des Dents de Chien"; a wonderfully situated Premier Cru, right beside the Grand Cru Montrachet. With this wine I can show my clients that great chardonnay can be mineral, highlighting finesse over  richness. With great quality and value for money; a sheer delight!


What dishes would you recommend with this?

A whole roasted Brittany lobster in a chestnut cream, or a crusty side of pork with burrata.




Julie & Walter love…

le Chorey-les-Beaune 2009, en rouge


The first word that comes to mind?

Julie: fruity!

Walter: tangy like red berries…


Why you like it?

Julie: it is very delicate, subtle, rather feminine!

Walter: he still youngster, with long and happy years ahead.


What would you eat with?

Julie & Walter: a "filet mignon" in a casserole with pickled vegetables,

a little spicy and slightly sweet.



The essentials


In March 2011 we acquired new vines in Batard-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseigneres and Chassagne-Montrachet L'Ormeau. In the fall we acquired under a long term lease some Savigny Les Beaune Les Picotins.


For the 2010 and 2011 harvests we continued to increase the amount of vines we harvest directly to two thirds of our production.


Owned Vines : 3,5 ha


Average annual production : 50 000 bottles


21 appellations in the Côtes-de-Beaune and Côtes-de-Nuits


Whites :

• Bourgogne,

• Fixin,

• Chassagne-Montrachet,

• Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos

Saint-Jean et 1er Cru La Maltroie,

• Puligny-Montrachet,

• Puligny-Montracher 1er Cru La Garenne,

• Meursault Clos du Cromin,

• Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières,

• Saint-Aubin 1er Cru

les Murgers des Dents de Chien,

• Corton-Charlemagne.

Reds :

• Bourgogne,

• Chorey-les-Beaune,

• Savigny-les-Beaune,

• Volnay 1er Cru En Champans,

• Beaune 1er Cru Grèves,

• Chambolle-Musigny,

• Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

Les Charmes,

• Vosne-Romanée,

• Clos Vougeot,

• Latricières-Chambertin.




Wine and time…

Truly organic farming


In the fall of 2009 we began our official conversion and certification to bio/organic farming. (We will discuss this subject in this issue and over the years in detail. I find the term "bio" all too slippery and often the basis of a sales pitch or as a way to hide bad winemaking.)


When Geraldine arrived in 2009, monitoring of the vines seemed important to better “understand” the grapes as they entered the cellar and to intervene as little as possible in making the wines. A great reason to go from organic to biodynamic. Working the soil with horse drawn ploughs and tractor, tilling the soils, respecting the lunar calender, mixtures; the precepts of biodynamics are applied with pragmatism and common sense. No high falluting ideas since what is important is the production of healthy grapes in sufficient quantities to make balanced wines.

Alex Gambal awaits you


20-23 Mars 2012

Grands Jours de Bourgogne


17-22 Mai 2012

Nantucket Wine Festival, Nantucket Massachusetts

In 2012 we followed a ninety year old vine in AOC Puligny-Montrachet


Winter Pruning

It is the act that begins a vintage. Good pruning considers : the required yield, the spacing of future clusters to favour green pruning, sun exposure and grape maturity, the descending moon when the sap is dormant in the plant, dry weather to avoid fungus on the wound left by the secateur.


Single Guyot pruning is predominantly used in Burgundy. This consists of preparing 2 buds for the following year. The cane must be sufficiently long so it does not break when attched to the wire.




Best of...



House to rent in Santenay



The house can sleep six, has three bedrooms,

two full bathrooms and a separate powder room.

We are going to equip the house with wifi and a stereo.








Minimum stay: three nights or one week


Low Season: December 1-April 30: 750 / 1000 € per week.

High Season: May 1-October 15: 1000 / 1250 € per week.

Fall Season: October 15-December 1: 750 / 1000 € per week.

Hospices Week: 1250 €.

Alex Gambal - 14 bd Jules Ferry - 21200 Beaune - France

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