Thursday, June 12, 2014

Looking South To Languedoc

When one thinks of France they think of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rhone.  Well, there is a hidden gem in Languedoc.  In fact when I was taking the CSW class those were the words of my teacher.

In the Coteaux de Languedoc AOC between Pézenas and Séte on the beautiful Mediterranean coastline sits Domaines Paul Mas.  Records suggest that is was once the most important estate in the Langeudoc region and has been in the same family for over a thousand years.

Today Domaines Paul Mas has 440 acres that includes Château du Conas, Domaines de Nicole and Les Tannes in Montagnac and Domaines Astruc in Limoux AOC.  The vineyards are planted with Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Viognier and Chardonnay. They also work with about 80 growers and have 2000 more acres under contract.  They vinify their own fruit and select grapes based on quality not price.

Jean-Claude Mas is the fourth generation winemaker.  He always as a child help in the family estate in Languedoc. After experience in Bordeaux he returned to the family vineyards with the goal to cultivate the finest classic grape varieties and to create wines with a modern, New World flair.

Jean-Claude took over Domaines Pual Mass in 2000. He has since transformed the 86 acre estate in Languedoc to one of the leading producers of premium wines.

Now the wines:

2011 Chateau Paul Mas Clos de Savignac Rouge

  • Appellation: Coteaux du Languedoc AOP
  • Vineyard: 7.4 acres located on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Vineyard is planted with old vine Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
  • Aged for 14 months in American Oak
  • Bottled unrefined and unfiltered
  • Blend: 50% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 20% Grenache
A nice dark purplish redish color.  Aromas of coffee, licorice, touch of vanilla and blackberry fill the glass. It leads to a palate, smooth, full of dark fruit.  The blackberry shows through strong with slight tannins.  

Chateau Paul Mas Clos du Moulinas Cru Pézenas Rouge
  • Appellation: Coteaux du Languedoc Grand Vin de Pezenas
  • Vineyard: of clay and limestone with fossilized seashell rocks.  Mediterranean climate with oceanic influences. Syrah vines are between 29 & 49 years old and the Grenache is over 50. 
  • 40% of the blend does it's malolactic fermentation in oak barrels, then aged for 12 months in barrels.  60% put in oak after malolactic.  Oak program is French and American
  • Blend: 55% Syrah, 45% Grenache
Aromas of this wine is strong on the blackberry with hints of thyme.  Once in your mouth you get layers of fruit...blackberry, cherry and raspberry with a hint of herbal notes. Silky mouth feel.

Chateau Paul Mas Clos des Mures Rouge
  • Appellation: Coteaux du Languedoc
  • Vineyard: Soil of clay and limestone with fossils and limestone rocks. Syrah comes from 25-35 year old vines, Grenache vines are 30 years old and the Mourvedre are 18. 
  • Blend: 85% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre
This wine had a very tight wound nose.  Some hints of coffee, blueberry and blackberry.  I had it open for over an hour before the tasting.  I thought the wine was bland.  

However....being that I was alone with three bottles for the week, I wasn't drinking them all in one night. About 3 days later when Paul came back we opened the bottle and to my surprise it had come alive. It unwound itself nicely.  It became a little more fruity on the palate and quite enjoyable.



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