“Affordable Luxury” that’s what you think when you are sipping a gorgeous glass of Domaines Paul Mas. I think beauty, passion, and very food friendly wines.
A small group of us gathered for a tasting with Vintner, Jean-Claude Mas, at the Hundred Acres Restaurant on MacDougal Street. We were escorted to a beautiful back room filled with fresh flowers, bright white walls, and wrought iron tables and chairs which gave you the feeling of sitting in a little café in France; it was delightful.
The wines, oh how I could talk all day about the wines. We tasted an incredible variety of wines throughout the afternoon, and I was not disappointed with any of them; all were incredibly delicious. Paul Mas wines are the result of fine ingredients, a fantastic growing region, and true talent that comes from Jean- Claude Mas himself. What an inspiring man, as a fourth generation Vintner, his passion for the wines he makes was infectious. He explained throughout the luncheon how much he enjoys his career and it is obvious that his creativity and insight since taking over the business in 2000, has made Domaines Paul Mas one of the leading producers in the Languedoc region of France. His goal is to make superior wines with a modern, New World flair, and after this tasting, I’m a big fan! The wines have character, strength, and elegance and went so well with our three course lunch.
We started off with some crisp whites that danced on your palate with elegance and structure. The Paul Mas Estate 2012 Chardonnay was full of flavorful balance. Twenty percent of this wine is aged in Oak and the rest in Stainless Steel giving flavors of Pineapple, Ripe Yellow Apple, and Bread Notes accompanied by good acidity and a nice long finish. Following the Chardonnay was two of my favorites, a 2012 Picpoul De Pinet and a 2012 Marsanne. The Picpoul is an interesting grape varietal and Jean Claude was able to pinpoint all the wonderful characteristics this varietal has to offer. It filled the palate with fresh, lively, full fruit flavors with a hint of peach. The Marsanne expressed full flavor and fruit forward aromas. This wine was bright with aromas of pear and white flowers with a smooth mouth feel and a toastier finish, which could come from 25% of the juice aging in oak for three months.
Throughout this vibrant tasting, a three course lunch was served. The menu was perfect for lunch and accompanying wines and included a selection of salads, house made ravioli and burgers. All the selections complimented the wines very well as I happened to save a sip of the Chardonnay and Marsanne to taste the variation of flavors with the meal. The reds were very enjoyable as we were able to sit down to a lovely lunch with Jean Claude. The 2011 Clos De Savignac was deep purple color, silky but dry and layered with aromas of blackberry, toffee, and some spice. We compared vintages side by side with our entrees trying the 2010 Clos De Savignac alongside the ‘11 which was similar in comparison except for the ‘10 having more cocoa and violet notes.
Other noteworthy wines from Paul Mas offered at this tasting were a 2009 and 2011 Paul Mas G.S.M. The 2011 had a nose of spice and rich dark berries followed by a medium bodied fruit forward palate with well integrated earthiness. The 2009 had very complex aromas of berries, violet, and tobacco followed by a full bodied rich finish with some slight toasty flavors.
The cheese course is always my favorite and this one stole my heart with a Coté Mas St. Hilaire Crémant de Limoux Rosé NV Brut complimenting the final course. This wine was gorgeous with fresh strawberry and raspberry aromas following through to a fresh bright palate, perfect with the cheese and home-made bread.
Mas has been awarded several prestigious honors for his high quality wines and has helped make the Languedoc region a force in the wine making industry. Paul Mas wines are wonderful for everyday drinking and food pairing. The quality is exceptional and the prices range from $12 to $30, making them excellent, affordable choices for any occasion. You can find these wines at many wine shops and will not be disappointed if you pick up a bottle or two… possibly three!