Born into a long line of Languedoc grape growers, Jean-Claude Mas became the first in his family to emerge as a formally-trained winemaker as a young man in his twenties. His initial memory of wine came when he was three-years-old, defiantly escaping his Mother’s watch to run two miles into the countryside to meet his grandfather in the fields during harvest.
As a young adult Jean-Claude went about founding Domaine Paul Mas in 2000 using the family’s existing 86 acres of holdings. In short time he began to purchase underpriced but strategically situated Domaines throughout the region, in the process turning their vineyards and cellars into well-known regional standouts. Fast forward twenty years and Jean-Claude’s is operating 15 separate chateaux and domaines, a diverse collection of terroirs spanning the kaleidoscope of topographies that makes Languedoc-Roussillon one of Europe’s most dynamic regional appellations: From mountainside terraces in Limoux used for some of the best sparkling wines you’ll find in France outside of Champagne, to salty coastal plots of Picpoul destined for local shellfish consumption, to vineyards set atop clay plateaux producing pale Grenache-driven examples of rosé and vin gris, to moonscape settings near the Spanish border responsible for intense examples of both dry and fortified Carignan.
Jean-Claude’s newest acquisition is Domaine Lauriga in the commune of Thuir, which he purchased several years ago after the untimely passing of longtime proprietor Rene Clar. The property sits between Perpignan and Thuir (where the aperitif Byrrh is made), and the history of winegrowing at Lauriga dates back to 1068 when the King of France personally tended the vineyards. Jean-Claude’s reason for purchase? To showcase the ultimate expression of traditional Roussillon grape varietals through the Domaine’s enviable collection of 60 hectares which strategically cross the three key Roussillon terroirs. Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, Carignan, and Muscat d’Alexandria shine here, in both dry and traditional “racine” format.