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American Buys Parcels of Burgundy's Bâtard-Montrachet

Négociant Alex Gambal is the first foreigner to own part of the grand cru vineyard

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: March 8, 2011

Alex Gambal, an American négociant based in Beaune, purchased two small parcels in Burgundy’s grand cru Bâtard-Montrachet last week. The sale was part of a multiparty transaction between Domaine Brenot of Santenay and several purchasers for an undisclosed price.

In total, Brenot sold 8.6 acres in Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay. Gambal bought two of Brenot’s four parcels of Bâtard, located in the upper portion of the grand cru, known as Les Bâtards Montrachet since an 1860 classification. The other two parcels were purchased by Boisset Family Estates.

While other Americans own parts of grands crus, this marks the first time an American, or even a non-Frenchman, has purchased land in one of the Montrachet sites, according to Gambal. “I feel so fortunate to have these vineyards and to make something great from the potential that’s there,” Gambal told Wine Spectator. “I have been working on this deal since the end of October, so I’m happy to close this chapter and get to work in the vineyard.”

No one holds a current lease on the property, allowing Gambal to begin working the vines the next day. “In Burgundy, to buy a piece of land and be able to work immediately makes it extra unique.”

In addition to 0.93 acres of Bâtard-Montrachet, the deal includes a parcel of Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères, Chassagne-Montrachet l’Ormeau and some vineyards in Santenay, plus a house on the square in Santenay that Gambal plans to turn into a guest and rental property. The Santenay vineyards are currently under contract to others.

Gambal studied under Philippe Brenot at the enology school in Beaune from 1996 to 1997. During that time he launched his négociant business. With the new purchases, Maison Alex Gambal now owns 8.4 acres. All of the vineyards are farmed biodynamically and are in the process of attaining certification.

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