If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that I had a fabulous visit to Domaines Paul Mas in the lusciously beautiful Languedoc. I was thrilled to meet the creative driving force behind the wine brand, the unstoppable dynamo who is Jean-Claude Mas.
A few of us shared a winetasting with him and as we tasted and chatted I asked him to select two of his wine creations he’d personally want to sip at home.
I’ll let Jean-Claude Mas kick off this selection of white wines from Domaines Paul Mas, with his own drink-at-home white wine choice. It is this:
The Elegant Frog (£7.50, Sainsbury) is 100% viognier and is waxy and creamy with apricot and orange peel notes. The viognier comes from the Middle Aude valley in the Languedoc and a small part of the blend is fermented and aged in oak barrels.
Some more white wines from Domaines Paul Mas
Exquisite Collection Marsanne 2017 (£5.99, Aldi, 13% abv) Jean-Claude Mas has worked hard to elevate the grape marsanne, traditionally blended with roussanne in the Rhone. Here it is so very juicy (and very drinkable). This wine has notes of pear, quince, honey and a floral flutter of honeysuckle rises just above the glass.
A couple of days ago I was in the Co-op and spotted the distinctive label of Silene Limoux Chardonnay (£9.99) which is lush with buttery notes, butterscotch and pineapple and is super-fresh and fruity. I’d sipped it during that winetasting afternoon with Jean-Claude and then, right there in the shop, I wanted to tell customers how delicious it is. But no-one looked my way. Until I dropped a tin of tomatoes but that’s not relevant here. I later shared the wine at one of my winetasting evenings with girlies and they enjoyed it too.
I thought the classical face on the bottle was that of Bacchus, the ancient god of wine and fertility but I’ve been put right on that. The label is based on a fragment of sculpture unearthed in the vineyard (now known as Silene) next to the winery.
Paul Mas Vinus Frisante (£10, Morrison’s, 12% abv) You’ve just got to love a drop of fizz. This wine is a blend of 55% picpoul and 45% chardonnay. Sparkling wines from the Languedoc are growing in popularity and here the local picpoul – which I think has the nickname “lipstinger” – adds a good bite to the blend with the chardonnay adding body and structure. There’s plenty of green apples and a good citrussy zest. It won a best value sparkling trophy at the London Wine Fair and I loved it so much I’ve used in a wine night and it produced several oohs and aahs.
The wine is so-called because Vinus, the heron, is the emblem of Domaines Paul Mas; and here’s my photograph of the rather beautiful image on a wall at Côté Mas, the heart of Jean-Claude’s business in Pézenas.
Domaine Paul Mas Estate Marsanne (£10.99, or £8.99 in a buy six deal, Majestic, 13% abv) This is a classic from the Paul Mas stable, with grapes grown on the limestone and clay soils of the Limoux and Carcassonne areas, blended with wine from grapes from the warmer area of Hérault. It has aromas of lemon and peach, with floral wisps of blossom and honeysuckle. It has a touch of creaminess in the mouth, where honey, peach and lemon, all play their part.
Domaines Paul Mas Vinus Clairette du Languedoc (£8, Morrison’s, 12% abv) This wine hails from the smallest but also the oldest appellation in the Languedoc which was created in 1948. The grape itself is one of the oldest in the region. It has traditionally been used as a blending grape but here it flies solo and very nicely too. It has a nose of ripe red apples, springtime flowers and peach; in the mouth flavours of citrus and apple cradle a mouthwatering acidity.
Domaines Paul Mas Reserve Languedoc Blanc (Waitrose, £9.39, 13% abv) The wine is a blend of 40% grenache blanc with marsanne, vermentino and viognier having an equal remaining share. Some of the blend has had oak contact which brings complex notes. The wine has aromas of vanilla, pineapple and apricots; and what’s this? A touch of cinnamon? Perhaps. Those fruits can be found as soft mouth-filling flavours too.
I must add another fizz Paul Mas Prima Perla Grand Reserve Chardonnay (£10.99, in a buy six at Majestic) which displays stone fruits, vanilla and toasty notes and is a moreish delight. I tasted it at Domaines de Martinolles where winemaker Bastien Lalauze creates it under his watchful eye. He’s in his early 30s and simply has a dream job producing sparkling wines with Jean-Claude Mas. I’m jealous.
Oh, before I go, what is Jean-Claude’s drink-at-home red recommendation? It is this one – Côté Mas Rouge (£7.99 or £6.99 in a buy six deal at Majestic) – just think intense, fruity, blackberry jam!