Alex Gambal, Meursault “Les Narvaux”
Alex Gambal, Meursault “Les Narvaux”

Alex Gambal, Meursault “Les Narvaux”

Burgundy / Côte de Beaune, France 2018 (750mL)
Regular price$81.00
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Alex Gambal, Meursault “Les Narvaux”

Today’s secret Meursault is the type of glorious, immensely textured Chardonnay that makes Burgundy’s ever-rising prices, restrictive allocations, and complex classification system all worth it. This is to-die-for stuff, from a vineyard you may not expect, or even know: “Les Narvaux.” Perched right above Meursault’s formidable string of elite Premier Crus lie a few hidden gems that insiders have historically referred to as the “Deuxièmes Crus.” The three best are Narvaux, Tillets, and Casse-Têtes, and these lieux-dits, while not 1er Crus, are brilliantly tense, decidedly powerful forces to be reckoned with.

Alex Gambal’s sliver of vines in “Les Narvaux” is situated in the tiny northwestern sector, which also happens to be among the highest and coolest micro-climates in the entire village. Accordingly, that made it a veritable utopia in the blazingly hot 2018 vintage. The freshness and mineral tension in today’s white Burgundy is beyond computation, but hedonists will be happy to know there’s also an unending supply of rich, orchard-fruit opulence within each deep layer. It’s Meursault perfection! NOTE: This is a minimally produced cuvée (58 total cases), and what little trickles into America is instantly sucked into the high-powered vacuum that is the white Burgundy cognoscenti. No more than six bottles per person. 

Because of Burgundy’s global fame, many people who haven’t yet visited may think it’s bustling with tourism and bumper-to-bumper traffic. It couldn’t be more opposite. The quaint villages sprinkled along the Côte d’Or transport you back to a simpler time when all the townspeople knew each other and everything was within walking distance. Meursault, Chassagne, and Puligny are shining examples: Despite holding the world’s most coveted Chardonnay plantings, these villages are home to just a couple thousand residents, combined!


Alex Gambal’s climb into Burgundy’s upper echelons isn’t a rags-to-riches story, but it’s undoubtedly impressive and hard-won. In 1993, he chose to leave behind his family’s business in Washington D.C. and relocate to Beaune where he started getting a feel for the land and the wine trade. Within four years, he had mustered up enough gumption to launch a small négociant business. As an American in Burgundy, it’s infinitely easier to buy grapes than it is to own the land but that didn’t stop him from slowly adding to his domaine holdings. In fact, in 2011, he became the first foreigner to own vines in Grand Cru Bâtard-Montrachet!


Today, we’re offering Gambal’s 2018 Meursault “Les Narvaux.” Anyone familiar with the wines of Meursault knows the persuasive powers of Premier Cru “Les Genevrières,” but there are a few higher-lying gems on the same hillside that provide incomparable lift and energy while preserving the signature depth of Meursault. “Les Narvaux” is one of these steep sites, and it’s overlooked by many consumers merely because it doesn’t have “Premier Cru” sprawled across its label. 


Gambal’s 0.1-hectare slice of vines actually lies within a smaller parcel locally known as “Les Gorges de Narvaux.” This micro-climate pushes past 1,000 feet elevation, making it the highest and coolest section of the entire vineyard. To articulate this beautiful terroir, Gambal farms organically and avoids excess oak and ripeness. In 2018, his crop was hand-picked at low yields and transferred to the cellar in small crates. A pneumatic press was used to gently extract the juice from the whole-bunch grapes and after settling in stainless steel vats, the juice was gravity-fed into French barrels, 25% new. From here, a natural fermentation (including malolactic) occurred and the wine was bottled after 16 months of maturation. 


If you like immensely layered white Burgundy, today’s limited Meursault is for you. Gambal’s 2018 “Les Narvaux” dances across the palate with wonderful concentration and ripeness, yet tactile minerality and enormous swells of acidity keep the endless layers of citrus/orchard fruit buoyant. The palate erupts with pineapple, apricot, yellow peach, stirred lees, sweet yellow apple, crushed white rock, acacia honey, yellow wildflowers, vanilla bean, and buttered toast. While these flavors all sound very hedonistic, I assure you it is leagues away from feeling saturated—this is spring-loaded with tension and freshness. That’s why I cannot wait to see how this premium Chardonnay evolves over the coming years. Still, it’s already in a superb drinking window at the moment so don’t hold back!

Alex Gambal, Meursault “Les Narvaux”




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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