The story of Domaines Paul Mas blossoms directly from its founder and owner, Jean-Claude Mas, a primary protagonist of the wine producing region of Languedoc in France. He comes from a family of wine producers in the town of Pézenas in Languedoc, France, starting with his great-grandfather Auguste Mas who has acquired the first family vineyard of 9 hectares in 1892. Further purchases of land by succeeding generations resulted in the family’s advancement to expansion. But it was Jean-Claude who advertently elevated the family’s activity into an immense business.
Jean-Claude has the winemaking tradition in his genes. From a child at the age of three who escaped from his mother during a harvest to join his grandfather at the wine cellar, running a distance of 2.5 kilometers, he has chiselled it in his life. He grew up with the strong backbone of the wine environment, learning at first hand, seeing, touching and smelling from the field to the cellar. In 1987, his father, Paul Mas, gave him his first 35 hectares of vineyards, which, in the year 2000, he founded as Domaines Paul Mas, a name he dedicated to his father.
In a span of twenty-two years, Domaines Paul Mas has amplified its growth to 850 hectares of land, 15 Châteaux and Domaines, and an annual production of 22 million bottles distributed to 71 countries. A lot of factors contribute to this enormous growth but the fundamental factor was Jean-Claude’s relentless dedication, supported by his astute international business sense. It is one of the largest wine producers globally but he has a clear sense of producing wines in total harmony with the environment and completely driven to quality. As more labor-intensive, the vineyards are cultivated in ethical management, through biodynamic and organic farming, a few hectares using animal traction, making sure that no chemicals touch the vines. With the aim to be completely organic in a few years, at the moment they are 60% certified Agriculture Biologique, and 80% certified Terra Vitis.
Blending wines is one of Jean-Claude’s greatest strengths which he attributes to his mentor, Giorgio Grai, one of Italy’s greatest oenologists. Among the hundreds of cuvèes produced at Domaines Paul Mas, he himself oversees everything. His wines have an honest approach with evident fruit and tannins.
“At Domaines Paul Mas, rural luxury summarizes our culture and philosophy. With the greatest respect for our family heritage and our rural roots, we look for excellence. Understanding ancestral traditions, mastering modern technology, is what enables us to extract the quintessence of our vineyards and our cellars, all of that in total harmony with our environment,” relays Jean-Claude.
Languedoc is the largest and the most viticulturally productive region of France, located on the southwestern Mediterranean coastline, wherein most of the region is cradled by mountain ranges and the rest bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. The winters are mild while summers are hot and dry which permit the grapevines to thrive and yield ripe grapes. It has a complexity of soils where pockets of volcanic soils are present, as well as sedimentary of ancient and young materials, and plenty of rock. Languedoc has the luxury of having a diversity of landscape and climatic conditions. In fact, Jean-Claude has identified 17 different terroirs which contribute to the unique and strong character given to the 45 grape varieties that they are cultivating there.
At a recent virtual wine tasting, Jean-Claude Mas presented five of his wines with the support of Thomas Taddeo, his Italian brand ambassador.
Paul Mas Reserve Cremant de Limoux Brut Blanc de Blancs
Obtained from 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin and 10% Mauzac from 20 to 30 year old vines cultivated in clay and limestone soils at 250 meters asl. Traditional method with first fermentation in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature of 18°C. 20% of the wine is aged for 6 months in barrique, the rest are in tanks under controlled temperature then second fermentation on the lees for 24 months in the bottle in an air conditioned cellar. It presents straw yellow color with fine, numerous and persistent perlage. It has an intense nose of crispy fruits with white pulp, white flowers, and delicate notes of bread while in the mouth it gives a pleasant freshness, lively, pronounced acidity, crispy white pulp fruits, elegant and persistent.
Vignes de Paul Valmont Assemblage Blanc Pays d’Oc IGP 2020
A blend of selected Grenache Blanc, Chenin, Mauzac, Chasan, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc cultivated in vineyards aged 10 to 35 years old, in the Hérault valley in Languedoc bearing clay and limestone soils at a slight elevation of 60 to 150 meters asl. Each grape variety is vinified separately in stainless steel. Destemming, racking at 10°C and fermentation for 2 weeks at 16°C with selected yeast. This process allows for the wine keep a maximum of fruit, aromas, and softness. In the glass it presents a bright straw yellow color with greenish reflections, a moderately intense nose of white flowers, citrus peel, and tropical fruits while on the palate it has vivid acidity, crispy fruit, sapidity, well-balanced and long persistence. A pleasant entry level wine that showcases its frankness and ease in drinkability.
Paul Mas Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard Collection Pays d’Oc IGP 2020
Obtained from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes cultivated in the Paul Mas vineyards, aged 17 to 27 years old bearing clay, limestone, sandy and marl soils between Pèzenas and Montpellier, with an elevation of 100 to 250 meters asl, 10 kilometers from the sea. The grapes are mechanically harvested at night to avoid oxidation and preserve the maximum fruit expression. Fermented at 16°C with selected yeasts for 2 weeks and short maturation in tonneau and on the lees for two months before bottling. In the glass it presents a straw yellow color with greenish reflections. The nose is intense and complex with aromas of citrus fruits, grapefruit, raspberries, passion fruit, crispy green pears and apples and a touch of freshly-cut grass while in the mouth it is refreshing with a vivid acidity, fruity, sapidity and long finish. Great with raw seafood and fresh cheese.
Domaine Paul Mas Vignes De Nicole Rosé Pays D’Oc IGP 2021
Obtained from 35% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 15% Carignan, 10% Syrah, 10% Caladoc and 5% Mourvèdre from 8 to 25 year-old vines cultivated in clay limestone soil with fossils. Each variety is vinified separately with a fermentation at 17°C with selected yeasts. Aged on the lees with regular stirring for 40 days in in epoxy-covered cement vats. During the process, the wine undergoes regular racking to maintain all the fruit expression and concentration. In the glass it has a salmon pink color with an intense and complex nose of mature white peach, red berries, white flowers, candy and light eucalyptus. In the mouth it presents a lingering acidity, red berries and roundness as it ends with persistence.
Vignes de Paul Valmont Assemblage Rouge Pays d’Oc IGP 2020
A blend of Merlot, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache and Syrah cultivated in vineyards aged 10 to 35 years old, in the Hérault valley in Languedoc bearing clay and limestone soils at a slight elevation of 60 to 150 meters asl. Each grape variety is vinified separately. Short skin contact at controlled temperature for the Grenache and Merlot and 6 to 8 days for the Carignan and Syrah. Free-run juice and the first press which is extremely geared to a maximum fruit, aromas and preservation of softness. Blending is done in November then the wine is aged in stainless steel vats for at least 4 months before being bottled. In the glass it presents a ruby red color with purple highlights, an intense and complex nose of ripe dark stone fruits, cherries, raspberries and dried spices while in the mouth its fruitiness is pronounced with a delicate violet flavor, dried spices, light tannins, smooth and well balanced as it finishes with persistence.