Tasting - Bernard Magrez Collaboration - Feb 2017

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 L'Équipe

For WINE DOG's first producer collaboration, we had the honour of hosting the guys from one of Bordeaux's most distinguished estates, Bernard Magrez. In a moderately edgy Brixton basement, we got stuck into an eclectic mix of wines from their global portfolio, with gems from France and as far afield as Japan. It was excellent to taste such diversity in the company of our passionate pair of Magrez experts, Augustin et Jean-Christophe.

 Passion + Wine + Basement

Monsieur Bernard Magrez is one of France's preeminent wine barons. The Magrez estate consists of more than 40 properties, totalling over 1000 hectares, stretching across the world. Mr Magrez made his first fortune in spirits and high volume Bordeaux, he created Malesan in 1979 - now Bordeaux's 2nd largest wine brand. In 1985, Magrez invested in his first château, Bordeaux's Pape Clément, which remains the jewel in the Magrez crown.

  Setting the scene...

The Château is one of Bordeaux's greatest and oldest, having earned its name in 1305 when its proprietor, Bertrand de Goth, succeeded Bertrand XI as pope. The property sits on the Left Bank, within the Pessac-Léognan AOC, and counts First Growth Haut-Brion as its closest neighbour. (You can read about our recent visit to the château and the Pessac region here.) Since 1985, Magrez's estate has been supplemented by a plethora of Bordeaux and international wine properties. We picked 10 wines from the portfolio: 3 of their Bordeaux Grands Crus Classés, 3 from southern France, 1 Spanish, 1 Californian, 1 Japanese and 1 Argentine. It was fascinating to see how the Magrez philosophy of: high quality terroir, low yields and modern winemaking played out across such a large swathe of the globe!

 Wine of the night...

Given its reputation, it wasn't a huge surprise that the wine of the night went to the 2013 Pape Clément Blanc! An uncompromisingly concentrated and bold white Bordeaux, with buckets of citrus, stone and tropical fruit combined with ginger, vanilla and lemon curd. The 2007 Pape Clément Rouge also did not disappoint. From the hot 2007 vintage, the wine was drinking well already - with its mature aromas of tobacco and sweet spice offset by a cassis backbone and a very textured palate.

 Loving a good wine map...

Personal highlights were the 2010 Alegria de Herencia from Priorat, Spain and the 2011 Magrez Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The 100% Carignan Alegria showed a lovely mix of red and dark fruit, well integrated spicy oak and a slight graphite edge - a steal at under £20 a bottle! The Napa, sourced from 2 precious hectares of the coveted Dr Crane vineyard in Saint Helena, was a wonderfully opulent wine. Rich, ripe, and amazingly mouth coating, with layers of blackcurrant, cassis, vanilla and clove.

It was a complete pleasure to host Augustin and Jean-Christophe and we can't wait to have them back for another stellar evening!

 Legit...

FULL LIST OF WINES:
1. Magrez-Aruga Koshu 2013
Katsunuma, Japan
- 100% Koshu
2. Passion Blanche 2013
Côtes Catalanes IGP - 48% Maccabeu, 40% Muscat, 10% Grenache Gris, 2% Grenache Blanc
3. Domaine des Songes Blanc 2015
Pays d’Oc IGP - 100% Chardonnay
4. Château Pape Clément Blanc 2013
Pessac-Léognan AOC - 54% Sémillon, 36% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Sauvignon Gris and 2% Muscadelle

5. Château Frombrauge 2007
Saint-Émilion AOC - 89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon

6. Bienvenida 2011
Mendoza, Argentina -100% Malbec
7. Alegria de Herencia 2010
Priorat DOCa, Spain - 100% Carignan
8. Magrez Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Saint Helena, Napa Valley - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
9. Château Pape Clément Rouge 2007
Pessac-Léognan AOC - 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot

10. Clos Haut Peyraguey 2006
Sauternes AOC - 90% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon

Jonny Orton