Gambal-Work is a new winery dedicated to making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara that expresses the true nature of the grapes. Here is how the winery came into being as described on their website:
GAMBAL-WORK is the creation of four men who believe that great wine is made by following a seamless line from the vineyard to the bottle. This is easy in theory but requires discipline and vigor to see and hear a myriad of small details throughout the entire process.
We are an artisanal winery in the old-world tradition. Barrels, fermenting tanks and techniques have either been sourced directly from France or have been borrowed, adapted and updated for California’s unique potential. Fundamentally we want to make wines that we love and share them with friends and family that not only reflect the underlying character of the vineyard but also the growing season. We are custodians of a place, a moment in time and hope to capture this and share it with you in our bottles.
I have followed this winery from the beginning. I met Alex Gambal in Burgundy years ago (to read an article on Alex Gambal click here ). Mike Mayfield, who is a good friend here in Santa Barbara and an Underground Contributing Editor, got to know Alex as well and they decided to do something together in Santa Barbara. They were joined by Peter Work and Jeff Newton and the rest is history (to read about them click here ).
I tasted the Chardonnays out of barrel and felt that they had great potential. Now Gambal-Work has bottled these Chardonnays. Just as I thought, it is an impressive duo. The wines are now being sold direct from the winery with options to purchase a three pack or six pack. The production was small with 75 cases 2016 Bentrock Vineyard and 150 cases 2016 Francesca Vineyard. Pinot Noir will follow next year and thereafter there will be more Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. And, everything is transparent.
Gambal-Work is to be commended for being one of the few wineries in California that is listing ingredients on their labels. Ridge Vineyards and Bonny Doon Vineyard are two pioneers of this practice as well as a group of winemakers in Lodi known as Lodi Native Mission ). Ingredient labeling is very important in the current period where so many California wines are being manipulated (to read my article on this subject click here ).
My tasting notes on the first two Gambal-Work releases are shown below. My advice to you is to follow my lead and CLICK HERE to go to the website and make your purchase (three pack for $195 plus tax and shipping of $18 and six pack for $390 plus tax and shipping of $35). If you love traditionally styled wines as much as I do you will love these Chardonnays. After making your purchase, try a bottle of each and then put the rest away to drink over the coming years.
2016 Gambal-Work Chardonnay Francesca Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Light yellow in color this Chardonnay exhibits a lovely subtle citrus perfume with a kiss of vanilla accented by a floral nuance. With great style, balance, and finesse, the wine is flavorful with very pure fruit showing hints of white peach and citrus with a very faint vanilla tinge. Bright and crisp with a lingering finish, this is a very impressive young Chardonnay that should show further development over many years into the future – Outstanding Plus.
2016 Gambal-Work Chardonnay Bentrock Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Light yellow in color this wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with subtle hints of spice and citrus. On the palate, it has lovely fruit with richness and depth that is expressed in a very elegant and finesseful style. The subtle flavors of peach and citrus are accented by a faint floral undertone and are followed by a lingering finish. This is a really gorgeous young Chardonnay that has many years of development ahead – Outstanding Plus.