WHAT: It's September, but there is still plenty of hot weather ahead, so I am always looking for a nice white wine to go with lighter meals. The Coté Mas Sud de France Blanc Méditerranée is a great choice any time, but especially for warm weather meals.
It is a nicely-made wine at a good price from a region not well known for great wine. Languedoc in southern France is the single largest wine-producing region in the world, responsible for a third of France’s production. But for years the emphasis had been on quantity rather than quality.
The Domaines Paul Mas company has been among the leaders in bringing quality back to Languedoc, as many winemakers look to raise the level of their wine.
This wine is a beautiful medium lemon color in the glass, with powerful aromas of citrus and grapefruit. The first sip brings out similar tastes of citrus and grapefruit. As you keep drinking the wine you pick up notes of tropical fruit. The wine is fruit-forward, but with good acidity to create a balanced, food-friendly wine.
The wine is a nice blend of four grapes: 35 percent grenache blanc, 25 percent vermentino, 25 percent chardonnay and 15 percent sauvignon blanc. Each varietal is fermented separately, with only a few hours of skin contact. Only free-run juice and the first press are used in order to extract maximum fruit purity and aromas.
The fermentation lasts for three weeks in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Blending takes place in November.
WINERY: Jean-Claude Mas has blazed a trail for premium winemaking in the Languedoc region of southern France. Since taking over the centuries-old Domaines Paul Mas in 2000, his driving mission has been to use only premium quality grapes to craft superior wines with a modern, New World flair.
As a fourth-generation winemaker, he said he tries to make wines with authenticity and refinement. The result is a family of charming wines that reflect their unique terroir and are filled with personality.
Jean-Claude Mas defines the character of his wines as “luxe rural,” an appreciation of the simple pleasures of life, artfully rendered by nature.
Domaines Paul Mas sources the highest quality grapes from nine family-owned estates and other premier growers in the Languedoc. Jeane-Claude has added to his family’s time-honored winemaking expertise with major investments in modern equipment and techniques.
The wine is produced at the Mas family’s original 1,000-year-old estate winery and three other facilities throughout the Languedoc.
While the day-to-day winery work is managed by a team of winemakers, Jean-Claude oversees all blending and aging decisions personally. His main goal is to produce wines that are a pleasure to drink while clearly expressing their unique terroir. The winery practices sustainable vineyard techniques.
Domaines Paul Mas makes six sparkling wines, including three Crémant wines produced by Méthode Traditionelle (second fermentation in the bottle, like Champagne). The winery makes many other wines under several labels, including the Arrogant Frog, which features sauvignon blanc, cabernet/merlot, rosé of syrah, pinot noir, grenache/syrah/mourvedre and syrah/viognier.
GOES WITH: My wife, Teri, and I had this beautiful wine with fried shrimp, french fries and a tossed salad, a perfect midweek meal. The citrus flavors of the wine were a nice match for the shrimp and cocktail sauce.
I like to make fried shrimp because it is an easy, tasty meal. I peel the shrimp and soak them in milk or water. Then I dredge them through a bowl of breading and fry in a small countertop fryer. I strain the peanut oil and keep in the refrigerator to use several times.
The breading is mainly House Autry seafood breading, but I add Morton Nature’s Seasons and red pepper flakes or five-pepper blend. It makes for a light breading. If you like a heavier breading you could mix an egg or two into milk and soak the shrimp in that before dredging through the breading.
The Coté Mas Sud de France also would pair well with many chicken dishes, mild fish, curry and all kinds of cheeses. It is also good for sipping by itself.
The winery’s blog suggests Domaines Paul Mas wines exemplify the way the French enjoy life: “… an idea of luxury that isn’t about wealth and the things it buys you. It’s about giving yourself the permission to unwind: sharing a delicious home-cooked meal with loved ones, letting your thoughts drift from your work and other time-consuming commitments, or just relishing the simple pleasure of a summer evening.”
Sounds pretty good to me.