Finding good quality, and expressive Pinot Noir is not so easy from southern France, however this example gives plenty of pleasure at the price point. Soft, cherry flavour with enough tannin and fruit to balance and give length.
About the estate
Considered a flagship of the Sud de France brand, their wines express all the richness and diversity of the region. Domaines Paul Mas owns more than 600 hectares of vineyards, and work in partnership with grape growers across an additional 1312 hectares of vines. This means that they have access to 40 different grape varieties, both local and international, as well as an incredible range of different terroirs in the Languedoc region of southern France. This diversity is due to the unique situation of the region, bound by the Mediterranean to the south and the mountains of the north, and by its geological formation. The tiny hamlet of Conas near the historic town of Pézenas is the historical cradle of Domaines Paul Mas. Located on the Ile de Conas Estate, the castle has a long history, extending back more than a thousand years. Domaine de Conas was split in 1792 and sold at auction. Only the château and a mill remained together with 27 hectares, which became Raymond Mas’ property from 1954. In the hands of Jean Claude Mas, Raymond's grandson, the company (still family owned and run) has grown significantly by purchasing wine estates the length and breadth of the Languedoc. We work with Jean Claude on a small selection of his impressive portfolio: a) Mas des Tannes near Pézenas with 36 hectares of biodynamically managed vineyards, holding a prime location at an altitude of 120 metres, on rolling terrain. It is protected by pine forest and the garrigue (wild scrubland), nurtured by the Mediterranean climate (9 km from the coast) and cooled by the northerly breezes. The clay-limestone soils are rich with organic life and a lush sub-soil which has never been exposed to synthetic products. The vines are naturally resistant and robust, the grapes concentrated and healthy, the wines balanced and sumptuous. b) Arrogant Frog is made up of 20 hectares in Grand Cru Limoux (15 organically farmed and 5 certified by Terra Vitis). Located near to the village of Gaja-et-Villedieu, (100 km from the coast), the vineyards are north-facing and at an altitude of 200 metres in the area most influenced by the maritime climate of the Limoux region. The vines are rooted in clay-limestone soils with shale and stoney, clay soils, producing the best grapes that in turn make the prestigious AOP Limoux and IGP Pays d’Oc wines. All fruit is harvested by hand. c) Cuvée Secrete is a delightfully pure expression of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes, tended organically before being skilfully and seamlessly blended. No added sulphur ensures that the flavours are as unadulterated as can be. All Jean Claude's wines are very polished and expressive, and clearly lean towards 'New World' in style.