Following J. Halliday (James not Johnny) visit we are proud to see that the Languedoc wines have raised a new status, considering James comments on our wines ! Article from Weekend Australian on Saturday 15/8/2009
If you are going to sell coal to Newcastle, you
need competitively priced, high-quality coal,
matched by exceptional marketing expertise.
Domaines Paul Mas ticked all the boxes and, in the
space of a few years, has become the largest exporter
of estate-branded French wine to Australia.
It’s a fascinating story which has moved at
breakneck speed since Jean-Claude Mas took
ownership and control of the family business
(est.1892) in 1999. While a fourth-generation member
of the family, born Generic cilais whithout prescription in Languedoc, his early adult years
explain one part of his success. He studied in Lyon,
Nancy, and England, and worked in Miami, Paris and
Bordeaux in the sports car business, wine on the side.
A born communicator, he is much more the
product of a cosmopolitan, fast-track world than a son
of the soil of southern France. Given the exponential
growth of his wine business in the past 10 years, he
must also be a gifted financial controller.
A quick take on the numbers shows sales of
10 million bottles in 2008, with 19.4 million euros in
exports to Holland, Japan, Canada, Australia, the UK
and the US (the top 60 per cent). While Mas has a
near-bewildering range of brands focused on
mainstream varieties, the Arrogant Frog range is a
cornerstone, leading annual sales into Australia with
over 100,000 cases selling at $10.99, a bitterly
contested sector of the market. The Paul Mas
varietals (20,000 cases) at $8.99 (exclusively through
Dan Murphy) look as if they should be more
expensive than the Arrogant Frog.
This is precisely what Hardys (pre-Constellation)
sought to achieve with La Baume, and Southcorp
with La Perouse. DESPITE TOP-LEVEL
AUSTRALIAN WINEMAKING EXPERTISE,
A SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENT, AND
HOME TURF DISTRIBUTION AND
MARKETING CLOUT, BOTH FAILED
MISERABLY AND EXITED WITH THEIR
TAILS BETWEEN THEIR LEGS.
I recently travelled to Languedoc to find the
answer (along with a few fellow journalists as the
guest of Domaines Mas). I could see how Jean-Claude
Mas was making such good wines at their price points,
and soon realised the answer lay in his exceptional
marketing skills. Australians are thoroughly
accustomed to black, self-deprecating humour, and
Jean-Claude has taken it to another level.
The labels of Arrogant Frog are descendants of
Ronald Searle, the artist/cartoonist who contributed
much to the wine world in bygone decades. I love
them, and think they are in a class apart from other
little critter labels. Along with countless others,
I also think the Paul Mas and Arrogant Frog wines
offer exceptional value.
For more on Languedoc-Roussillon and more
tasting notes, see www.winecompanion.com.au