RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Mas set to convert to 100% organic viticulture

Leading the way in the battle for sustainability across the Languedoc region is fourth generation winegrower Jean-Claude Mas who aims to be operating solely as an organic producer by 2023

Jean-Claude Mas Domaines Paul Mas

Jean-Claude Mas has led the vanguard for premium winemaking in the Languedoc region since taking the helm of the Mas family's centuries-old estate in 2000. His driving mission has been to use only premium quality grapes to craft superior wines with a modern, New World flair.

Beginning with the original 86-acre estate, he has grown the winery to a 500-acre enterprise with a commitment to sustainable viticulture; he also contracts 80 growers which collectively farm nearly 1500 acres, making Domaines Paul Mas one of the Languedoc's most influential wineries.

Recognising the potency of organic viticulture as a weapon in the battle for sustainability, Mas recently acquired Domaine Silène des Peyrals from the Skalli family. This estate boasts 24 hectares of organically managed vineyards in the Hérault department and Mass explains they will complement the organic projects he is implementing across Domaines Paul Mas, adding value to his growing portfolio of organic wines.

Situated between the historic Abbey de Valmagne, Domaine Peyre Rose and Château Paul Mas, Domaine Silène des Peyrals has interested the Mas family for generations. “My grandfather first sought out these wonderful vineyards decades ago, recognising the superb potential of the terroir for producing highly quality wines,” says Mas. The property is planted with Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah, producing wines under the Coteaux du Languedoc and Grès de Montpellier appellations.

Domaine Silène des Peyrals will be used to craft an organic label with an expected output of 10,000 bottles each year. In an exciting move for the project, Mas will collaborate with his former mentor, Giorgio Grai, who tutored Mas in the art of winemaking. He explains: “We decided to make a new brand of premium quality organic wine, bringing together the best of France and Italy'swinemaking know-how. I believe this could be one of our most original and exciting wines to date.”

The purchase of the estate is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to push Domaines Paul Mas towards dynamic and sustainable viticulture. A member of the sustainability foundation Terra Vitas, Mas has been experimenting with organic grape growing for over 20 years at his Mas des Tannes property. "All our vineyards are maintained with reference to biodynamic principles," he says.

The Mas des Tannes estate is located between the Vallée de L'Hérault and the Mediterranean sea, in the commune of Montagnac. For decades, Mas has used the knowledge and experience gained from Mas des Tannes to trial organic practices across his portfolio of unique properties. “Our aim is to simply make a positive impact on our environment, by preserving it.”

Domaines Paul Mas' bubbly, which is produced at Limoux also has organic roots, with a total of 9 hectares of estate vineyards currently managed according to organic principles. They complement a new range of Domaines Paul Mas organic wines, including a white Réserve - Grenache blanc, a red Réserve label and red Classique. The 2012 vintage of the white Réserve won a Gold Medal in 2014 at the Grenache du Monde competition, with seven different wine producing nations competing. "I am also overseeing a project involving a wine made entirely without the addition of sulphur," he says.

"At Domaines Paul Mas we ultimately recognise that organically managed vineyards achieve greater consistency in terms of fruit quality and yield. The initial additional expense of growing organic grapes is therefore easily offset by the gains in consistency and reliability of the fruit. As it stands today, 25% of our vineyards are organic, the rest are cultivated according to the principles of the Terra Vitas foundation.

"I also intend adding another 200 hectares to our existing portfolio of vineyards in 2015. Our mantra is to capture the best elements of both the Old and New Worlds,” he says. “New World technology and vibrancy of fruit coupled with Old World finesse is the only way forward for the Languedoc region.”

Organic wines:

Arrogant Frog Chardonnay 2013 - £9.75/bot, Vintage Roots

Arrogant Frog Cabernet-Merlot 2013 - £9.75/bot, Vintage Roots

Mas des Tannes Réserve Rouge 2013 - £12.95, Soho Wine Supply - Gold, Challenge Millésime Bio 2015 - Silver, Concours Général Agricole 2014

Mas des Tannes Réserve Blanc 2013/2014 - £10.99, Soho Wine Supply - Silver, IWC 2015 - Commended, Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 - Selected TOP 100 Languedoc Roussillons Wines 2014, Gold, Concours des Vignerons Indépendants 2014

30 March 2015