Foto: Jean-Claude Mas, owner and winemaker at Domaines Paul Mas
Often described as one of the pioneers of the ‘new Languedoc’, Jean-Claude Mas exports what he calls ‘rural luxury’ much further afield than the south of France. And he offers activities for wine tourists, centred on his restaurant on the Mediterranean coast.
From the Chateau Paul Mas, at Pézenas, to the Domaine Paul Mas, the history of your family goes back to 1892, that is to say four generations of winegrowers.
I took the reins of the 35-hectare family vineyard in 1999 and created the Domaines Paul Mas vineyard in January 2000. Today we have 11 vineyards across the Languedoc: we own 600 hectares ourselves and are partners in another 1,312 hectares. Out of the 22 million bottles that were put on the market in 2015, 80% were classified as IGP Pays d’Oc (Protected Geographical Indication).
How do you define the spirit of ‘rural luxury‘ which you have created?
It’s our philosophy. Create great accessible wines and produce special moments that are rich in emotions: that’s the real luxury today! To do that, we have developed a craft which respects the environment, from the grape vines to the wine shop, and we use a winemaking process which respects the grapes. Our objective is to become a 100% organic producer by 2023.
With the opening of the Côté Mas restaurant, in 2012, you have developed a large range of wine tourism activities.
The Château Paul Mas restaurant is well anchored in the spirit of ‘rural luxury’, and is situated at the heart of the grape vines and the olive trees. We offer cookery courses and musical evenings, while the tasting cellar allows us to introduce our guests to the Languedoc wines, through the vineyard’s 50 different wines, and what’s more in a setting which includes the works of the painter Emmanuel Flipo. We also have a VIP space for seminars and two superb suites nearby. The Ecuries d’Olivier stables organize horse rides through the vineyards and the bushland, with views over the lagoon, the Mediterranean Sea and the town of Sète.
You are winning lots of awards (40 gold medals) and are among the ‘30 winemakers of tomorrow‘ according to the news magazine L’Express: What is your vision for your profession?
We are producing the wines of the old world with an attitude that is resolutely new world, in exceptional wine-growing country. We are proud of our rural roots while at the same time cultivating an open mind.