Paul Mas Winery Tour
As one of the most important wineries in the Languedoc, I was lucky enough to have a peek behind the scenes at the making of some of the most emblematic wines of the "luxe rural" such as Arrogant Frog and Coté Mas. One of the advantages of doing an apprenticeship at MOMA (Institute Montpellier Management) is being able to discover the wineries around the region and getting to learn from the winemakers themselves.
This winery tour started in the vineyards surrounding the Paul Mas headquarters in Montagnac, just outside Pézenas in the South of France. It was a cloudy morning, just after a real downpour a few days earlier. We toured some of the surrounding vines and were shown how the earth showed signs of seashells and more specifically oyster shells making the winemakers believe that the at one point the winery was on the shoreline. This in conjunction with the topography is a defining factor in the elaboration of their wines.
In order to help them decide the best time to treat the vines against the various illnesses and pests, the winery has erected different weather stations at critical points enabling them to be able to forecast weather patterns and use the least amount of chemical products.
Weather station at Paul Mas allowing to make accurate forecasts on when to treat the vines
One of my professors, Antoine Beth, explaining the topography of the terroir and how the weather influences the grape production
Next stop on our tour was the cellars. We were shown the stainless steel tanks used to ferment the must of the grapes. This process varies in length depending on the varietals and the type of wine created. Once this process is completed the winemaker will either choose to have the wine aged in oak barrels (fully or partially) or to have them age in stainless steel tanks to keep the freshness already present in the varietal. This is mostly the case with fresh white varietals such as sauvignon blanc.
The stainless steel tanks used for fermenting of the grapes
Barrels used to age certain cuvees
Cleaning of the Barrels
Finally we were given a presentation of the company and the opportunity to try a selection of their wines. They showed us their range of wines "Coté Mas" which fit in with their oenotourism offer. Over recent years they have realised the importance of offering a full range of products and activities encompassing wines, eating and activities such as horseriding as this "art de vivre" is what makes the Languedoc and their wines so special.
The selection of wines we were able to try presented promising signs even though some of them would have been better with a few more years of age. The whites were very vibrant and fresh in line with what the export market, particularly British consumers, are looking for in their wines. The reds on the other hand were quite heavy on the tanins and displayed signs of the sunshine which is characteristic of this region.
One of my classmates, Nicolas Britto, tasting Coté Mas
I hope this gave you a little glimpse into the world at Paul Mas Winery. Look out for more winery tours on the blog as we discover new technologies they are using to produce excellent wines.