Having plenty of tasty, good-value sparkling and white wines makes your summer parties festive and your pocketbook happy, too.
Jean-Claude Mas is the fourth generation of a French winemaking family in France’s Languedoc region. He took the helm in 2000, bringing his entrepreneurial drive and talent to the Domaines Paul Mas Company, which dates to 1892. What began as a single property, Chateau de Conas, is now a million-plus-case wine operation of seven estates and more than 70 contracted growers spread across the Languedoc. Mas’ Domaine de Martiolles is the source of blanc and rose’ nonvintage cremant de Limoux sparkling wines under the Cote Mas label.
In 1531, Benedictine monks at the abbey of Saint-Hilaire in Limoux recorded the making of sparkling wine. This was 137 years before the 22-year old Benedictine monk Dom Perignon arrived at the Abbey of Hautvillers in the Champagne region, where poorly-made still wine was the fare. Ironically, Dom Perignon is world renowned for the Champagne bearing his name, while the sparkling wine Saint- Hilaire is only known by wine geeks.
Cote Mas offers two tasty cremant de Limoux wines that would make the Benedictine monks proud. The nonvintage Cremant de Limoux Blanc is a blend of 60 percent chardonnay, 20 percent chenin blanc, and 10 percent each pinot noir and mauzac, the indigenous grape that used to dominate all Limoux sparkling wine. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for one year in bottle, it has a pleasant pear and jasmine scent. The refined bubbles bring a delicate lemon flavor across the palate with a pleasing dry finish.
The nonvintage Cote Mas Cremant de Limoux Rose’replaces the mauzac with an additional 10 percent chardonnay, but the winemaking remains the same. Its eye-catching orange tint is combined with a pleasing floral and white fruit scent. The soft bubbles carry a citrus fruit flavor to an off-dry finish.
I suggest pouring the nonvintage Cremant de Limoux Rose as your guests arrive, and serving the nonvintage Cremant de Limoux Blanc with a crab salad of slice green apple and diced celery. You’ll have them smiling twice.
Picpoul is not a well-known wine, but the 2011 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinetcould change that. Located near the Mediterranean, Pinet is one of a few villages whose Picpoul grape quality is recognized by the Languedoc wine authorities and allowed to use its name on the label as a pure Picpoul wine.
The 2011 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinet’s tropical fruit scent is as pleasing as a breeze on a hot summer beach. Its mango and pineapple flavors are lip-smacking good, and the crisp acidity is refreshing, revitalizing your palate for the next irresistible sip.
Pour the 2011 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinet with grilled chicken legs marinated in soy, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and black bean paste, accompanied with a mango salsa.
Summer begins on Friday. Once you taste the 2011 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinet and reflect on its price, you’ll make it the season’s white wine.
The Cote Mas Cremant de Limoux Blanc and Rose retail for about $14; the 2011 Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinet for $11.