The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Inside Dominique Gallois’ Natural Wines

Posted on | August 26, 2015 | Written by Michael Adler | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 4.56.59 PMPeople often say that the winemakers and chateaux in Bordeaux are very formal and businesslike. In Burgundy, though, the vignerons aren’t businessmen as much as they are farmers; they’re folks who love their land and share a deep connection with it, and who are much more comfortable working with a shovel than with a spreadsheet. Perhaps none personify these qualities more than Dominique Gallois, a stringent traditionalist who makes gorgeous wines of stunning depth, elegance, typicity, and purity using wholly non-interventionist techniques at his domaine in Gevrey-Chambertin.

I was lucky enough to spend a full day with Dominique back in February when he presented his wines to sommeliers in some of NYC’s top restaurants. Their response to his classically styled, understated wines was overwhelmingly positive. As today’s American wine market is oversaturated with hefty wines of great power and concentration, Dominique’s wines are a breath of fresh air for those of us who appreciate elegance, subtlety and a distinct sense of place.

When you speak to Dominique, he makes it immediately clear that his vines and their terroir that hold the primary responsibility for the outstanding quality of his wines. He told me that after harvest and pressing, the only thing he does to the juice is once daily batonnage, or a brief stirring of the juice in barrel to circulate the lees (his miming of this motion is hilarious, by the way). Everything else is left to nature, and after tasting Dominique’s wines, you’d have a very hard time arguing with his process.

Dominique’s sleek and aromatic Bourgogne Rouge is an absolute steal priced under $30, while his old-vine Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles VignesGevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Petite Cazetiers, and Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru are textbook representations of their illustrious terroirs, thrillingly complex yet subtle. However, his most sought-after wine is the prized Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moins, a collector staple that is a fixture on several top NYC restaurant wine lists.

The 2013s are on the boat from France at this very moment and will be here very soon. When I tasted through Dominique’s 2013 barrel samples back in February, the wines were quite friendly and open-knit in their youth. I got a bevy of floral and herbal aromas on top of layers of gorgeous red fruits, with that telltale Gevrey sauvage persistent throughout the lineup. The Bourgogne Rouge should be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years; the Gevrey’s will be approachable when young; however, they will reward patience in the cellar and will continue to evolve over the next decade.

If you share my passion for beautiful, classically-styled Burgundy Pinot Noir, I urge you to try a few bottles and enjoy them knowing that you’re supporting a humble farmer and his family, and not an investment group’s bottom line.

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