Staff Picks for Summer – Magnum Edition!

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Think of this as our monthly answer to, ’so what have you been into lately?’ — fresh updates from Portfolio Managers with unfiltered intel on why we’re drinking what we are.

Summer Mags 11
Magnum glory at COTE, where ‘Magnum Mondays’ have been coined at their Flatiron location for years.

There was a time during pandemic where half-bottles were a practical alternative to a full bottle, for those of us that were flying solo during lockdown or attempting moderation– a practice that was already notoriously difficult in this industry, but especially so during a year like 2020.

Then we evolved — or devolved(?) — back to our 750s. “Maybe I’ll drink the bottle over a few nights, or identify some safe friends to share my Riesling with.”

Fast-forward to today, when the buzz and positivity for a new post-pandemic reality is being felt all around us. More people? More parties? More formats. After a significant stretch of worry and uncertainty, we can’t think of a better way to welcome summer.

And so, in the spirit of people being able to see their people for the first time in a hot minute, and the necessary celebration that comes with it…

It’s time to drink some magnums.*

*All suggestions pair well with food, friends, and merriment. If you need more of an incentive to seek out these BFGs, see the bottom of this post.

WE’RE SHARING:

DEHOURS GRAND RESERVE BRUT
Wine and Spirit Label 1
In the height of the most isolating parts of the last year, I would have done almost anything to share a great bottle of wine with the people I loved. Now, nearly 15 months later, I need more than a bottle, and I’m ready to pop a magnum of Dehours Grand Reserve Brut NV to share with all of the friends and coworkers I’ve missed so much!

Champagne already inspires celebration, and Jérôme Dehours’ excellent Grand Reserve is serious party wine. Made up of mostly Meunier from the western part of the Marne Valley, the purest salty, juicy expression of the grape shows in every glass. Dehours’ wines are always a more savory in style with an incredibly distinct yeasty, sourdough quality, and opening a magnum of this wine gives a whole new meaning to “breaking bread” with those we’ve missed.Abby Oliveras, Brand Ambassador - Champagne, Germany, & Austria

 

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Founded by husband-and-wife duo John House and Ksenija Kostic, Ovum is a celebration of the diverse expressions of Oregon Riesling. They source fruit throughout the state from sites with blustery Pacific winds, extreme diurnal shifts, and rocky, well-draining soils.  All of Ovum’s wines see the same practices in the cellar: natural fermentations, no additions or subtractions except for SO2, extended lees contact, and aging in neutral barrels or concrete eggs. The resulting wines are textured and concentrated, driven by minerality, and framed by unwavering acidity.

Big Salt is a white wine that embodies a day at the beach. It’s bright, fresh, dry and a bit salty (although no salt is added!) – once it’s done, you’re left wanting more.  This wildly aromatic wine is laced with Gewurztraminer and Muscat overtones, notes of citrusy Riesling, and stone fruit and white tea complete the complex aromatics. The palate is filled with texture, herbal hints from Pinot Blanc, and finishes with bright acidity. Big Salt pairs well with fish tacos, pesto chicken pasta, pad thai, and definitely with friends, so make sure you grab a magnum!Ryan O'Rourke, USA Portfolio Associate

Wine and Spirit Label 3
The perfect companion for the summer – delicious artisan cider in an eco-friendly 1.5L bag. Made from heirloom apple varieties fermented dry and with no dosage; a truly gastronomic cider. The cider stays fresh for over month after opening, so feel free to bring one to your next picnic with family and friends, or just pour a glass the next time you fire up the grill.Ted Damianos, Assistant Portfolio Manager, GRSP
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I’m in love with the 2020 vintage in Provence. Luckily for me one of my favorite rosés, the Château du Rouet Côtes de Provence, also comes in my favorite format: magnums.

This gorgeous big bottle proved to be the perfect accompaniment to my recent rustic picnics in the rugged Yellowstone country of Wyoming. The Memorial Day weekend and the wild country of the West were excellently matched with the bracing rosé nectar from the high altitude vines of the Côtes de Provence.

The ancient Château du Rouét, which pre-dates the French Revolution, produced a 2020 of supreme balance and chiseled floral fruit, despite a dry growing season. This mouthwatering rosé has a translucent glow that puts your mind squarely in the breathtaking Estérel mountains, where the vines are found, not far from the beaches of Cannes. The lacy texture and vibrant blood orange and peach notes conjure the fragrant saltiness of the Mediterranean and the subtle notes of the wild thyme and rosemary, that grow around the slopes of the Château, add beautiful complexity to the wine.

The blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, 10% Tibourenc is absolutely singing in 2020, all enclosed in the classic and striking Provencal hourglass bottle. This magnum is the perfect way to forget the last 12 months and celebrate the summer of 2021 with friends and family. David Hinkle, Chief French Officer

Wine and Spirit Label 5
Filipa Pato makes soulful wines from indigenous grapes in Bairrada, Portugal. Missao represents the pinnacle of this winery, made with 130 year-old pre-phylloxera vines. Full-bodied & structured, brimming with dark fruit, this will develop beautifully in your cellar (or give it a decant and enjoy it now!)Ted Damianos, Assistant Portfolio Manager, GRSP
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Produced by a traditional winemaking method which dates back several hundred years colloquially known as “Pipeño”, this fruit-forward blend of País and Carignan is my idea of a summer red and if you’re serving it with a slight chill from magnum, even better. Winemaker David Marcel sources the fruit from a single, old-vine vineyard in Chile’s Maule Valley.

Much like Beaujolais Nouveau, this wine undergoes a short fermentation and is meant to be enjoyed upon release. You don’t even need to invite your friends to the park if you’re bringing this – you’ll make new ones soon enough!Cody Stephenson, World Portfolio Manager

Wine and Spirit Label 7

From the earth of the picturesque town of Montepulciano, Caterina Dei produces this stunning Vino Nobile adored by critics across the world. Lush, perfumed, fruit-driven yet elegant, it is an exquisite expressions of the local Prugnolo clone of Sangiovese.Mariarosa Tartaglione, Assistant Italian Portfolio Manager

 


Lest we forget some batched-cocktail goodness…

THE BERGAMOT SPRITZ

 

Wine and Spirit Label 8
If the bartender or host is not there to monitor or serve up the drinks, and if it’s particularly delicious, people will keep marching back to that bowl. Nothing screams summertime festivities more than something sparkling like this large-format, low-ABV spritz.Amanda Elder, Spirits Content & Education Manager

Pour ingredients into punch bowl, add small orange wheels, blood orange or kumquats for presentation, and a large block of ice. Ice will accomplish two things, chilling the cocktail and adding dilution. Serve in glasses over more ice.

WHY MAGNUMS?

AGEABILITY

Magnums expose double the amount of wine to roughly the same amount of oxygen, lengthening the aging process and keeping wines fresher for longer.

Older vintages of wine in magnum are likely to be in better condition than those in 750s, making them great for cellaring and collecting!

DURABILITY

Thicker, heavier glass used for larger formats protect wine from heat, light, and travel-related vibrations.

THE OBVIOUS — THEY’RE SUPER FUN!

If you haven’t shown up to a festive occasion or outdoor hang with a magnum before, you should try it! They just feel more special than 750s– and immediately set the tone for celebration.


Click here for what we were feeling last month.