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Showing posts from July, 2011

Visit to Paul Mas, Part 1

Dwayne Perreault — I sell a lot of Paul Mas wines, as these are very well made Languedocers ranging in price from €5 to €9, which come in a broad range of varieties and styles. It is not uncommon to see a full pallet arrive at the shop door, only to have to order more the next week. But of course, I’m not the only one. In fact, Paul Mas exports to more than 40 countries.

The modern business begins with Jean-Claude Mas, son of Paul, who together with his brother inherited 70 ha of vines at Château de Conas, just outstide of Pézénas.

Jean-Claude expanded the estate by acquiring Domaine de Nicole (40 ha) by Montaignac overlooking the Herault valley, Mas des Tannes (40 ha, half of which are certified organic), and Domaine Astruc (70 ha) at 300 metres in Limoux, with a cooler mid-Atlantic climate which favours white grapes, as well as Pinot Noir.

That’s a total of 220 ha, but that’s not all. Jean-Claude also contracts 80 growers who run a total of 780 ha to produce 500,000 cases per year of …

Understanding Fine Wines: Frank Smulders

Dwayne Perreault — Frank Smulders MW received his degree in 1992 and is to this day Holland’s only Master of Wine. I was his student while doing my WSET Advanced course, and I’ve also made a posting on this blog about a memorable Austrian wine trip Frank organized.

I was able, with great pleasure, to sit in on a recent lesson Frank gave, as part of his course on Understanding Fine Wines. The theme was Syrah, Grenache and Tempranillo, so there were top bottles from the Rhône, Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Priorat and Australia to be tasted.

We began with a discussion of Tempranillo and a tasting of some top Spanish specimens. Tempranillo recently overtook Garnacha to become Spain’s most planted grape, and its character is very much determined by the climate. Frank underlined how important this is, by pointing out that Tempranillo produces clearly different wines in each of the three best known regions where it is grown: Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Toro.

In Rioja, Tempranillo has an almost Pino…

Not a Bordeaux 2010 wrap up (but some last personal, subjective recommendations)

It is a day after the fair to post about the wrap up of the Bordeaux 2010 campaign. It's over, for days already. I am finalizing things, the last sales, and lots of paper work.

A little while ago an anonymous reader replied to one of my posts wherein I suggested some 'good value primeurs'. He wrote something friendly like "you seem to see good value everywhere". He wasn't too happy about the high prices, plus he thought that I, as an importer, wasn't the person to give buying advice: I simply couldn't be objective.

And he is right, this anonymous reader, I am an importer, and I am subjective also. As is every critical taster with a clear preference. The good news: as an importer I decide what I buy.

With primeurs the choice is broad, and there's definitely no need to confine oneself to a limited array of wines (that need to be pushed). No, we visit Bordeaux for a full week, taste a shipload of wines, and then I share my personal thoughts with the rea…