Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Vineyard Tales - Mas Alart

Fred Belmas
The energetic Frederic Belmas owns and runs this small vineyard of 20 hectares situated just south of where I live in Cabestany.
He took over the family business which was started by his Great grandfather in 1897.

His Great grandfather, Jules, born in 1876, went to war in 1914 and employed a "chef de culture" to look after his farm, a Mr Baille, and hoped to God the place would still be standing when or if he ever got back. 4 years later, in a time before telephone calls and the internet, he came back to Mas Alart, dreading that he would find the place left to rack and ruin.
Not only was it still standing when he got back, the farm was thriving and not a centime was out of place - Mr Baille had run the place like his own, bringing in his own family to run the place like clockwork while Jules was at war.
The Great Grandfather was so thankful and relieved that he built a fine house ( La Maison jeune) beside the mas for Mr Baille and his family to live in for the rest of his days. That's the kind of family the Alarts are.
His Great Grandfather had bought the place to diversify and grow his business which was a textile factory in Vinça. With two sons, Jules thought that he needed 2 businesses to pass on to them and bought the farm which was around 70 hectares at the time.

In the early 1900's, he put the two names into a hat : textile factory or mas and the sons had to take their pick. Fred's Grandfather plucked out the farm and also his destiny to become a farmer.
Fred's Grandfather eventually took over the reins of the farm, which, like most vineyards in the region at the time, only produced sweet wines : muscat de rivesaltes and rivesaltes ambré.
Fred's Aunt Anne Alart then ran the vineyard from 1978 to 1995 and while Fred was busy studying for a degree in physics, she decided she had had enough and wanted young Fred , who was 25 at the time to take over. Fred dropped the physics like a hot potato , did a diploma in Montpellier in Viticulture and Oeneologie, worked side by side with the Aunty for two years and then was on his own ; master of the mas.

The first thing he did was buy up some land going a begging beside the vineyard with some well tended vines and started producing some red wine as up until that point, the vineyard was still producing 100% vin doux. In 2000, he bottled his first red wine and now produces 2 whites, 2 rosés, 4 reds and a very interesting selection of sweet wines.

Growing 11 different grape varieties, he had won many prizes in France for his excellent quality wines. He sells 80% of his wine at the mas itself and also in local restaurants : The Citrus in Cabestany, Les Flamants Roses in Canet, Boniface in Technosud, Can Vicens in St Jean Pla de Corts, among others.
You can also order online for delivery in France or Europe.
His wines are very reasonable priced. The award winning 'Dans la Vigne de Jules' is priced at 5€17, for example.

He lives on the mas with his wife and two children, Jules and Lili. Attending English lessons every week, you will be offered a very warm welcome at Mas Alart, where you can taste his wines in his interesting cave, set in the old stables of the mas.
Well worth checking out.

Mas Alart
RD 22
66 280 Saleilles
Tél: 0468505189

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...