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A Global Leap

The great names of France, the classed growths of Bordeaux, the splendidly romantic Burgundies, and hearty Rhones are known and eagerly sought after around the world.

It seems that for generations we have been pursuing and enjoying the same names.

It is a rare for new labels to take on the international wine market and succeed.

Conas vineyard low

The Languedoc region of France down the southwest towards Spain has grown vines since the Romans passed through. In the past few centuries, most farms had smallish vineyards and supplied the family or the local markets. There was plenty of winemaking across these valleys but not organized or classified like the fabled areas to the north.

The story of Chateau Paul Mas centres around Pézenas, the city of playwright Molière, in 1892 when Auguste Mas bought the first family vineyard of 9 hectares. His sons and grandsons had a feeling for the vine and they increased the family holdings. Raymond and later Paul Mas consolidated 120 hectares including a small chateau with a 1000-year history. Paul gave his son Jean-Claude a small parcel of land in 1987.

Paul Mas Estate Cab MerlotThe modest vineyards were not considered enough to occupy the young Jean-Claude and he went away to university and worked in totally different careers in France and overseas.

But the call of the vines brought him back.

Restaurant C+¦t+® Mas, Montagnac (1)[1]

Through the 1990s He learned about making wine from scratch and by 2000 he was ready to reveal the products of his labours to a wider audience. Today he presents multiple labels and price-points with Chateau Paul Mas single vineyard wines at the top. They are some of the finest wines from this region. At the other end of the spectrum are the wines that have caught the imagination and palates of a new global generation. Jean-Claude observed the success of younger winemakers such as the Australians, with their drinkable fruit-forward wines with attractive and non-traditional labels.

Enter the Arrogant Frog … Old World wines with a New World attitude.Arrogant Frog Viognier

The goal is “pure pleasure at a reasonable price.” Their cheeky little mascot on the label tells you what to expect: lively wines that leap out of the glass.

Jean-Claude travels the world encouraging people to taste his philosophy. He is by no means arrogant but a humble and charming gentleman with a clever sense of humour.

Arrogant Frog RoséFrance will always have those luxury labels beyond the reach of most but it is good to now have easy access to the delights of lesser-known regions previously enjoyed only by local families.

Read all about it at and

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Ian MacTavish

Mr MacTavish is a celebrated writer and one of Australia's more respected Wine reviewers, appearing regularly in national magazines, in print and on line. So far, he has never been heard to say 'no' to a wee dram.

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