An Escape to the Languedoc with Winemaker Jean-Claude Mas | Tracy's New York Life | A New York City Lifestyle + Travel Blog Tracy's New York Life | Best Lifestyle, Culture, and Travel Blog in NYC

An Escape to the Languedoc with Winemaker Jean-Claude Mas

by Tracy Kaler                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                           by Andrew Malone via Flickr
After swilling more than a dozen tastes of French wine from Domaines Paul Mas in downtown New York City, I walked south on Broadway to purchase a bottle of Carignan at Beacon Wine and Spirits in my neighborhood. Earlier this month, an intimate group of New York-based bloggers sampled a variety of the vintner's reds, whites and sparkling wines, poured by Jean-Claude Mas during a three-course wine luncheon at A Hundred Acres in SoHo. I felt very lucky to be invited to this lovely event. There's nothing like escaping the hustle and bustle of New York and retreating to the south of France for an afternoon, especially when that trip involves food and wine.

Admittedly, as a bit of a novice when it comes to French wines, I was pleasantly surprised as I savored and enjoyed every newly poured taste a little more than the previous. I was all the more impressed when I found out the retail prices of these wines are less than $30 per bottle.
We tasted more than a dozen Domaines Paul Mas wines
Mas pours our tastes while we savor delicious food at A Hundred Acres
Mas is a fourth-generation winemaker from the south of France. His passion for wine began at an early age while working in his family's estate in the Languedoc. Known for his unique and creative approach to winemaking, he has transformed Domaines Paul Mas into one of the leading wine producers in the Languedoc region since his takeover in 2000. 

Mas compares winemaking to fashion, emphasizing that "coming up with something new" is key, as is clever marketing. He also says success is "adapting to what people want," often reinventing what's been popular in the past. Staying fresh is essential, even for the most established and successful vintners.
Jean-Claude Mas talks about his wines.
This pioneer winemaker is changing the world's perception of the Languedoc region. Previously considered a bulk-wine supplier for the rest of France, the area now produces commendable wines. According to Mas, there's been a major revolution in winemaking over the past 20 years in the Languedoc. He believes that great wines don't have to cost a fortune; hence why, most of his wines, crafted in a modern, New World style from premium quality grapes, are affordable to many at just $12-$15 per bottle.

Though I enjoyed every bottle opened, here are my top picks: 

The Paul Mas Estate 2012 PicPoul De Pinet - $12

100% Picpoul 

This wine is a brilliant, clean and refreshing Sud du France white with a symphony of aromas, from fresh tropical fruit to sweet peach. Harmonious and elegant, the palate bursts with exotic fruit flavors. Enjoy now or age up to five years. 

An excellent companion to seafood and fish dishes, white meats, soft cheeses and fruit desserts. 

The Paul Mas Estate 2012 Marsanne - $12 (personal favorite white)

100% Marsanne

Scents of white flowers, pears and honeydew melon on the nose, this wine boasts a rich, fresh and mellow mouthfeel of pear and honey with a long, toasty finish.

A great match for seafood dishes, poultry, blue cheeses and fruit tarts. 

The Cote Mas Brut - $15

70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir

A lovely pink with delicate and persistent bubbles. Refined scents of honeysuckle, peach and apricot lead way to a soft mouthfeel of grapefruit and a hint of blood orange.

An excellent aperitif that pairs well with all styles of cuisine. 

Paul Mas Estate 2012 Pinot Noir - $12

100% Pinot Noir

Elegant aromas of red berries, strawberry, cherry and soft spices with a hint of vanilla. A medium-bodied wine with ripe tannins and acidity, flavors of red currant and plum and a long lasting finish of clove and vanilla.

Pairs well with roasted meats, poultry dishes, grilled vegetables and a variety of cheeses.

The Chateau Paul Mas 2010 Clos de Savignac - $25 (my personal favorite red)

Mourvèdre (50%), Syrah (30%) and Grenache (20%)

A generous, fruit-driven single vineyard wine, garnet red in color with intense purple hues, the Savignac is infused with complex aromas of violet, cocoa, roasted coffee beans and notes of blackberry. Well structured and opulent with rich tannins, its strong fruity mouthfeel leads to a complex, full-bodied finish.

Can age between 5 and 10 years. A perfect match with pasta dishes, rich cuisines like stews, venison, spicy exotic dishes and hard cheeses.

The Languedoc is easily accessed from Paris -- the trip is approximately three hours on the high-speed TGV. Until I take that dream vacation to France, Domaines Paul Mas wines are available at select restaurants and shops in New York City. La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin!

·         Abe & Arthurs, 409 W 14th St, New York, NY, 10014
·         Alias Restaurant, 76 Clinton St, New York, NY, 10002
·         Bar Blanc, 142 W 10th St, New York, NY, 10014
·         Le Colonial, 149 E 57th St, New York, NY, 10022
·         Porteno Restaurant, 299 10th Ave, New York, NY, 10001
·         The Cutting Room, 44 E 32nd St, New York, NY, 10016
·         The Dutch, 131 Sullivan St, New York, NY, 10012

Wine Shops:
·         Beacon Wines & Spirits, 2120 Broadway, New York, NY, 10023
·         London Terrace Liquor Shop,  221 9th Ave, New York, NY, 10011
·         Philippe Wine & Liquor, 312 W 23rd St, New York, NY, 10011
·         120 Wine & Liquor, 120 W 58th St, New York, NY, 10019
·         Avenue A Wines, 196 Avenue A, New York, NY, 10009
"Blind tasting is important. This is how your palate develops."--Jean Paul Mas
In 2006, Mas was named Mediterranean Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and L'Expansion, one of France's most prominent business publications. This was the first time the magazine awarded the title to a winemaker.

In 2008, Mas was named one of the Top 30 Winemakers of Tomorrow by France's L'Express magazine. Later that same year, Domaines Paul Mas was awarded Winery of the Year by The Guardian newspaper.

Mas also owns Côte Mas, Table et Vins, a restaurant sourcing fresh produce from the region with unique dishes prepared by Japanese chef Taichi Megurikami. The menu features local wines from none other than Domaines Paul Mas. For more info on the wines, visit the website.

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