(2018) Silène is the legendary tutor of the Greek god Bacchus, and his likeness was found on an ancient clay seal found in one of the Paul Mas vineyards, a copy of which strikingly covers the entire front of this imposing bottle of Chardonnay from its Languedoc homeland, Limoux. The nutty, slightly marmalade-like and spicy richness of the nose immediately tells you this has been aged in quality oak barrels, then the palate is really very beautifully composed: crisp, fresh and taut orchard fruits and lemon are backed up by some peach, toast and Brazil nut buttery fatness, but the clean, zesty citrus finish gives great cut and thurst through the richness. A perfect and stylish partner to roast poultry.
(2018) From their base in Pézenas, the family-owned Domaines Paul Mas are certainly one of the big names of the Languedoc region, their wines a fixture of UK supermarket shelves. This is something a little different, a crisp white made from the Clairette Blanche, from the tiny appellation of Clairette du Languedoc, where Paul Mas owns almost half of all Clairette plantings. It is elegantly floral, with an almost freesia-like note, but very delicate, and plenty of fresh apple and lemon. In the mouth that freshness drives forward, only 12.5% alcohol helping keep it light on its feet, yet it has a but of flavour intensity as well as a long, crisp finish. For more information and food-matching suggestions, please watch the video.
(2016) Despite the name, which doesn't do much for me, this was lovely: in a Mâcon style with a little warming toast and vanilla note, and Burgundian clarity showing some cream and very fresh apple and melon fruit before a crisp finish.
(2015) With a clear nod towards Châteauneuf du Pape in its packaging, this is in fact a IGP Pays d'Oc blend of Marsanne and Viognier, relatively light (which suggests crisp and fresh) at 12.5% abv. With a hint of Emerald to the colour, the aromas are indeed fresh and lifted, with a lovely honeysuckle perfume to stone fruits and juicy apple. In the mouth it strikes a lovely balance; one the one hand quite fat and filled with sweet fruit, on the other cool and crisply defined by a hint of spicy creaminess before a rush of palate-cleansing acidity.
(2015) Picpoul is a grape variety that has zoomed to the top of the popularity charts in recent years, and I can fully understand the appeal of these wines from a traditional appellation of the Languedoc. This is an excellent example, with an extra ounce of pungent, almost Sauvignon-like herbaceous and tropical intensity, some notes of lychee and mango, and a blast of citrus. In the mouth it is refreshing and zingy, with crunchy fruit juiciness, and that big, fresh-squeezed grapefruit tang to the acidity. Delicious summer drinking.
(2015) Here's an unusual white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay that has been given a little oak-aging. That has given a subtle background nuttiness to the wine, but it is very discreet, the aromas to the fore are rosy red apple and a touch of peach. On the palate it is cool and clear, the freshness of the Sauvignon and citrus and orchard fruit clarity coming through nicely, just a rounding and smoothing effect of the oak into the crisply defined finish.
(2014) 100% Picpoul, from vineyards 800 metres from the sea near Sète. The vineyards are on clay and limestone soils, on a sub-soil of fossilized coral. The wine undergoes a long, slow fermentation at low temperature, that took two months to complete. It has 13% alcohol. The colour is a pale green/yellow, with that nice creaminess to the nose, of oatmeal, almond and soft herbs, with orchard fruit notes too. In the mouth it has plenty of refreshing flavour. It is dry, with a lemony acidity and the fruit is of cool, fresh apple and Asian pear. The acidity is gentle, with a nice little saline note too, making this aperitif and fish and seafood-friendly.
(2013) Fresh, grassy, herby and bright, this has real punch and vigour, the palate streaked with lemon and lime, a tart and invigorating herbal edged to the acidity that makes this sharp and dry, meaning it's food-matching credentials are all intact. A good example at a very good offer price.
(2012) A little honey, a little oatmeal, peach and nectarine aromatics. Lovely pate, limpid and juicy, with a deal more of that limpid, nectarine pulp and juicy tangerine acidity. Lovely quality here. Delicious and quite full bodied.
(2012) Pays d'Oc. Fermented in concrete and steel, with some staves for ageing. Very good Viognier aromatics, a touch of peachy lift, a certain lemon confit character and a touch of herby quality. The palate is quite full, and whilst not fantastically complex, it has good citrus, spice and a touch of melon skin and lemon peel bite.
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