Lou Maset” refers to the old stone hut amid the vines at Domaine d’Aupilhac in the Languedoc town of Montpeyroux. In the pre-Technicolor film reel I have spinning in my head, I can see the vineyard workers, tired after a long morning out in the hot sun, taking refuge in the cool, dark hut. One man, his tanned brow dripping sweat over the dusty floor, holds a saucisson and produces a pocketknife from his overalls. The crew gathers as he begins slicing. Another man—Pascal, we’ll call him—yanks the cork from an unlabeled jug filled with a deep-purple liquid and takes a swig. The wine tastes like freshly pressed wild blackberries gently warmed by the sun, with an herbaceous quality recalling the shrubbery growing on the vineyard’s perimeter. It is a bit coarse on the palate, but not in an aggressive way; when Pascal gnaws on a thick slice of saucisson, there is a strangely beautiful harmony between earth, sun, and man, and for but a brief moment, everything is just right.
The wine Pascal drank, of course, was the “Lou Maset” from Domaine d’Aupilhac—the perfect refresher after a hard day of work, and the ideal companion to a roast chicken, grilled merguez, or even just a few slices of a colleague’s charcuterie.