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Pinot Noir, 2018. Jean Claude Mas

Pinot Noir, 2018. Jean Claude Mas

Item #: V0620R1IF
Vintage: 2018
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/Appellation: California
Color: Medium Magenta
Nose: Violets, Strawberry
Palate: Berry, Fresh Earth
Finish: Piquant Cherry
Rating: 96
Cellaring/Serving Suggestions: Now through 2027/Red Meat, Fowl, Vegetarian/13% Alcohol by Volume

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Paul Mas is one of the producers responsible for the incredible heights the Languedoc has climbed in the last 30 years. His family has been farming the estate for almost 130 years. So, they have a bit of experience in what they're doing.

The Languedoc is in Southern France adjacent to the Mediterranean. It enjoys a maritime climate, which is just what the grapes love. But, in its early days, the emphasis was put on quantity at the expense of quality. So, they grew a lot of grapes, with higher alcohols. Higher alcohols were used to strengthen grapes grown further north where they didn't ripen as well.

But none of this was doing the growers any good as they were at times selling their grapes or bulk wine for less than it cost to produce. Experienced producers, like Mas, knew the potential. They convinced their neighbors to upgrade their vineyards to make better wine so they could earn enough to stay in business.

After decades of diligence, the Languedoc is now spoken of with reverence. They have many unique appellations, which was unheard of 30 years ago, and even single-vineyard wines like our selection. The most significant improvement, spearheaded by Mas, was to reduce yields dramatically, which allows the vines to pull nutrients from the soil and spread it to a smaller number of grape clusters. The results are stunning. Wines like our selection showing impeccable precision in the wild cherry and cranberry flavors to match Korean BBQ'd baby back ribs or sesame-crusted chicken.

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