Domaine les Clos Perdus

It had been a while since my last cellar visit with Paul Old.  In fact we should have met in April 2020, but circumstances intervened…….so I was delighted to have the opportunity for an update in his small cellar in the pretty village of Peyriac sur Mer.   Wine was a complete career change for Paul.  After 20 years as a ballet dancer, he trained at one of Australia’s best wine colleges,  Charles Sturt university, at Wagga Wagga

Paul has 20 hectares of vineyard land, with 16 in full production, in three different terroirs, and many more plots.  First is Corbières Maritimes, between Peyriac and the nearby village of Bages, with a strong maritime influence.  The soil is heavy clay.  Next there is Villesèque de Corbières, on clay and limestone, with better drainage.  These vineyards ripen three weeks later than those by the sea.  And finally there is the schist of Tautavel in Roussillon, an  hour's drive away, and where Paul grows white varieties, including Muscat.  They enjoy the acidity in the schist.   They are all farmed biodynamically, which Paul considers helps establish the individual identity of each vineyard.  He lamented the three years of drought; he has lost about 20% of his vines, due to water stress.  His oldest vines proved to be particularly vulnerable.

2023 l’Année blanc, Vin de France - 15.00€

This cuvee is usually produced in Tautavel, but the owner of an important component, Terret planted in 1880, had simply chopped the vines down.  Paul was heart broken.  So there is Macabeo, 60%, from the Corbières Maritimes, with Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache  Blanc and Grenache Gris and a hint of Viognier and Muscat.    

Some depth of colour.  A little peachy on the nose and more so on the palate, with rounded fruit and texture and balancing acidity, with good mouthfeel and weight and a slight bitterness, un joli amer, on the finish.  It can lack acidity so Paul gave the wine 12 hours maceration before pressing it.

2020 l’Extrême 

From a single vineyard at Tautavel,  planted in 1890, with all three Grenache, with Grenache Gris in the majority.  He presses the grapes gently with a basket press.   And this wine did undergo a malolactic fermentation, but it doesn’t always happen.  Paul considers it ages better with a malo.  He makes 1000 bottles in all; there is one barrel with the wine on the lees to allow for some autolysis, but no lees stirring and the rest is kept in a stainless steel vat.

Light golden.  Lightly herbal notes on the nose and the palate some satisfying weight, with more herbal notes.  All very intriguing with lots of nuances.  One of those wines that keeps you guessing so that you keep going back for more.

And then we compared the 2023 l’Extreme - 35€

With the same élèvage but no malo, and including a little Lledoner Pelut.  A little colour.   Again quite herbal, but youthfully so. Very good acidity with some weight and texture, but not yet as harmonious and complete as the 2020.

2023 L’année rosé, Vin de France

A pure Mourvèdre, from the Corbières Maritimes, with the colour coming from four hours in the basket press.  Thick skins with almost no juice.  No malo.  Fresh and vibrant, with red fruit and acidity.  Ripe and youthful.

2014 Prioundo, Corbieres,

From a hilltop plot at Villesèque.  80% Grenache Noir and 20% Cinsault.  Fermented in stainless steel and aged on the lees.  Quite a deep colour.  ride red cherry fruit with some tannin.  the Cinsault reduces the alcohol level; it was still 14.5.  There was plenty of cherry liqueur fruit, so typical of Grenache, with elegance and freshness, and balance, belying its 14.5, and also its ten years of age.

2023 Prioundo - 20€

A vat sample.  to be bottled, probably at the end of the year.   Paul mentioned the cost of bottling,  1.30€ per bottle, which is quite a significant outlay, which you are not going to get back in a hurry.  Medium depth bright purple colour.  Fresh red fruit.   Perfumed and youthful, with a grip of tannin.   Promises very well.

2020 L’Extrême Rouge, Llum de Lluna - or the light of the moon - Côtes Catalanes

From a hilltop vineyard of Lledoner Pelut at Tautavel.   Medium colour after four days maceration.  Perfumed red fruit on both nose and palate, with a balancing streak of tannin.  In 2023 the Lledoner Pelut went into the white Extreme.

2022 l’Extrême, Côtes Catalanes

Deeper colour. a firmer, drier and more peppery nose.  With perfume and balancing tannin on the palate, and a peppery finish.

2016 l'Extrême

To see how things have changed.   40 days maceration and a blend of 80% Lledoner Pelut an 20% Syrah.  Fermented in 500 litre oak barrels.  Good colour.  Solid, ripe and rounded; dense and youthful with a firm tannic streak and a slightly drying finish.   Illustrating a fascinating evolution of style compared with more recent vintages.

2022 Project 108

Paul talked about the number, which is of significance in some eastern religions.  It also relates to the size of the sun and its distance from the earth.  Look up Wikipedia for more info!   As for the wine it is  based on Mourvèdre, with a little Grenache, grown in the Corbières Maritimes. No sulphur.  Four days in vat.  Partly destemmed. 

Very deep colour. Ripe fruit on nose and palate, with a tannic streak.  Mourvèdre is very reductive and handles oxygen well.

And then we compared the 2023, again without any SO2, but Paul said the analysis indicated stability.  And the taste was rich and intense with very ripe berry fruit and a streak of tannin.

2016 Corbières Mire la Mer 

Mainly Mourvèdre, on heavy clay soil, from local vineyards and fermented in barrel.  2016 was a very ripe year.   Very firm and structured ripe fruit on both nose and palate.  Tannic, sturdy, ripe and spices.  Still very youthful and very intense.  The colour is only just beginning to evolve.

2020 Corbières Mire la Mer  - 25€

Another ripe year, but also with rain.  A lot of fruit, but no water stress.  Ripe fruit on the nose and palate, and still barrel fermented, but a tighter oak than the 2016, so less obvious oak impact.  Very good balance. Youthful and harmonious.  More elegant than the 2016.  Good length.

And to summarise, a great tasting and lovely to taste old vintages and see how the wines have developed and evolved. 


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