Alex Gamble is living his dream. Leaving his real estate business in Washington DC in 1993, he moved to Burgundy to follow his passionate love of wine. His first vintage was released in 1997, and he hasn’t looked back since. In town for the South Florida Wine and Food Festival, Gamble hosted a small tasting this afternoon at Wine Bistro 555 on South Beach. He presented seven of his 2008 wines to a small group of tasters. His whites featured his Puligny Montrachet, his Chassagne Montrachet “Maltroie” and his Chassagne Montrachet. His reds featured his Bourgogne Pinot Noir Deux Papis, his Chambolle Musigny, Vosne Romanee Vignes Vignes, and Clos Vougeot.
I was very impressed with the character of the whites. The 2007 version of the Chassagne Montrachet, and the 2007 Maltroie both earned 91 points from Wine Spectator. All three wines had delicate aromas, with citrus and flint. On the palate, the Puligny showed lemon and light minerals. It was tart, and on the juicy side of crisp. The Chassagne Montrachet included a bit of talc on the nose. On the palate I found tangerine, and a hint of vegetal. It had a medium-long finish, with a citrus peel bitterness. It was softer and rounder than the Puligny. The last white, the Maltroie, added some faint oak to the nose, with a grapefruit, oranges, and under-ripe white peaches on the tongue. It offered a medium-long finish, that evolved through tartness with vegetal notes, to a softer feel of light fruit with a touch of vanilla.
His reds were classic burgundy with a touch of “Yank”. Slightly fruitier than a typical burgundy, they were on the good side of austere, with layers of flavor that were fun to explore. The wines were a bit young, showing mildly aggressive tannins – not unpleasant, but in need of aging, decanting or food (or all three). All had earthy notes, with dark fruits and a touch of spice. The finishes on each were medium long to long. At the start of the palate, each demonstrated its particular character: The Deux Papis had a light body with layers of strawberries, chocolate, and spices, with soft tannins. The Chambolle Musigny showed its youth by staying on the tannic, acidic side of the spectrum, while showing unripe cherries, some vegetal notes, and some dried fruits. I think that this wine needs at least 4-7 years to mature. His 2007 version of this wine earned 90 points from Wine Spectator.
The Vosne Romanee Vignes Vignes gave a nose of faint petrol, cherries, and some herbal notes on the nose, with more earthy notes on the palate. I thought this was also a rather austere at this age, needing several more years in the bottle to firm up. The wine did show nice structure and good potential, with strawberries and cherries sneaking through the tannins on the finish.
The last wine, Gambal’s Clos Vougeot, was my favorite red. This wine earned 93 points for the 2007 vintage. 2008 is young, but gave talc, strawberries, dark fruits, and a hint of dried fruits on the nose, with an earthy, herbal palate that included dried fruits, spices, and a little cigar box. The finish was medium long, with cherries wandering around the tannins as it sat.
These wines are available in limited locations in South Florida. La Bottega (305.444.3493) in Coconut Grove carries them; other locations will be added to this post as they become available. Pricing on the whites shows in the $40-$50 range on Wine Searcher, while the reds range from about $25 up to about $150.