Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Paul Mas Estate, Languedoc-Roussillon

Continuing the series of "Wines Beau Was Sent A Long Time Ago", this time I am exploring a producer in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France. Long a place associated with cheap, mediocre bulk wine, there have been rumblings over the past few years that a serious uptick in quality is taking place. Granted, there has also been a concerted push by the trade group(s) and producers of the region to showcase their wines on the world stage.

Earlier this year (a familiar refrain, no?) I was sent three wines from "rural luxury" wine company Domaines Paul Mas to taste and comment on. Time, as it seems to do, slipped away and while I fully intended to open and write about these wines for summer, now the Holiday Season is upon us. I was sent three wines from the Paul Mas Estate line, which appears to be their mid to high(ish) priced label.

Despite the lateness of the year, upon tasting these wines I found them to be very suitable for the cool/cold weather and am excited at the thought of how they could pair with your Holiday feasts.

2011 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinet Coteaux du Languedoc: Opens with lemons and oranges, grass, and hints of butter. Great acidity on the palate, which helps tame the ripeness, and provides a very food-friendly angle to this wine. I really enjoyed how interesting the wine was as it gradually warmed up, showing fleshier tropical and stone fruit flavors. $11 on the East Coast. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

2011 Paul Mas Estate Chardonnay Saint Hilare Coteaux du Languedoc: Ripe notes of apple and lemon curd, rendered butter, and tart lime juice. I was struck at how balanced the aromas were. Good acidity, creating a beautifully cleansing effect on the palate. It highlights citrus and apple notes galore. Each sip left me with a smile, and the finish was nice and crisp, readying my palate for another bite. $13 nationally. Recommended.

2011 Paul Mas Estate GSM Coteau du Languedoc: My first thought was that smells like a GSM, which is a good thing. Licorice, blackberries, blueberries, and a pleasing meaty nature. The bouquet had me intrigued but unfortunately I just wasn't as excited about the palate. It's a bit soft and ripe, and could maybe use more acidity. I'm not sure if it's a function of this wine's youth or not, but this seems incomplete. That said, if you like soft, ripe, easy drinking red blends, I think will make you happy, especially at the price. $14 on the East Coast.

The two whites showed the best for me on the day I tasted them, and on the second day. They had lots of nice primary fruit, plenty of acidity, and are priced to compete. The red just wasn't that great, and I feel there are better options around the price point. One would be the 2011/2012 St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone, an incredible deal at around $15. Still, the GSM is a wine that will appeal to many palates and the crowd-pleasing style will certainly be a hit at any parties you bring a bottle to. Those whites though, they deserve some serious consideration as you plan your holiday meals.

The Paul Mas website isn't very good, but I was able to find out that this producer makes a lot of different wines from sources all over the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France. I think their packaging and message are very good and the wines are certainly of reasonable quality. Seeing the Languedoc-Roussillon area start to climb out of the shadows and more into the mainstream as a source for quality is exciting, I hope we all continue to get exposure to the wines.

These wines were media samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel


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