At a walk around tasting at the Beekman Hotel in NYC we had a chance to sample wines from Bernard Magrez, an influential French winemaker who owns dozens of different vineyards and
wineries around the world.
While walk-around tastings are a great way to learn about a winery, a region or even a country, they are really designed for wine merchants, importers, sommeliers, and buyers.
Walk around tastings give them a chance to taste and discuss wines that they are specifically interested in to incorporate into their portfolios. However, they are usually large and sometimes crowded events featuring many many different wines. This makes it difficult for us to cover them without a plan.
We usually go in and sample a specific sliver of what is being offered, rather than trying to report on an incomprehensibly large range of products.
For the Bernard Magrez portfolio tasting, the number of wines, particularly those from his four Grand Cru houses in Bordeaux, was quite large. We focused almost exclusively on lighter wines that would be good selections for the warmer weather.
Wines for spring tend to be lighter, fruitier selections with a focus on varietals that pair well with salads, lighter meats and picnic foods. White and Rose wines tend to predominate here, but lighter red wines like Gamay, Pinot Noir, Nerello Mascalese or Lambrusco, as well as the American Chancellor grape are also great for spring dishes.
At the Bernard Magrez tasting we tried:
Blu De Mer, Pays DOC, Sauvignon Blanc (2017: $9): The Blue De Mer brand wines are produced in the Languedoc region of southwestern France. These are lovely, inexpensive wines that are a good bet for
spring. The Sauvignon Blanc was a light gold color, with a floral beachy nose. The wine was very dry with nice acid and light fruit notes.
Its sister wine, Blu De Mer, Pays DOC, Grenache (2017: $12) is made from 70 percent Grenache and 30 percent Cinsault grapes. It was a clean light pink color with a very light fruity nose and a light strawberry palate.
We found it to be Very dry with good acid, this is a fun and inexpensive picnic wine. There is also a sparkling version of this wine made with a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes.
We also tried three Provence Rosé wines. Wines from this region tend to have a salty strawberry taste that makes them pair very well with lighter dishes.
Douce Vie Provence (2017: $12), Chateau Muraires Provence (2018: $16), and L’Excellence des Muraires Rosé (2017: $28) all fit this profile, with the L’Excellence having a bit more complexity.
Finally, we tasted L’Aurore en Gascogne, Cotes de Gascogne, (2017: $8). A blend of 80 percent Columbard and 20 percent Sauvignon Blanc, this was a super light-yellow wine, with peachy, almondy nose.
The wine was very fruity, with peach, pear and jackfruit (Juicy Fruit gum) notes. This is a great wine for roast chicken or fish, and we can see it as a house white for parties throughout the summer.
For more on the Bernard Magrez Portfolio of wines visit: http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en