WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

26 July 2011

Les Clos Perdus, Corbières / Agly Valley

Updated March 2014 - a tasty trio by Paul and Hugo revisited in London last year, imported there by Indigo Wine. Their (now quite pricey) wines are also sold elsewhere in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia - follow the web link at the bottom of this page. Read on for some words about the people and the places.
2011 L'Extreme blanc Côtes Catalanes (Grenache gris/blanc planted in 1903) – juicy and yeast lees-y, floral and nutty too then developing richer more honeyed fruit with lees notes vs fresh juicy mouth-feel to finish. Good white, should be for £27.50.
2008 L'Extreme rouge Côtes Catalanes (75% Lladoner Pelut + Syrah; total sulphites 40 mg/l) – developing 'tar' and meaty notes, quite extracted and chocolate oaky still yet lush and full palate, light bitter twist too but overall quite impressive. £27.50
2010 Prioundo Corbières (Grenache, Cinsault; total sulphites 30 mg/l) – ripe and smoky with dark yet perfumed berry fruit, maturing meaty notes too, concentrated with nice textured tannins, peppery and punchy finish. Yum. £18


July 2011 update: Paul Old, the winemaking half of "the lost vine-plots" which he established with Hugo Stewart in 2003, was showing and pouring their wines at the first "natural" wine fair in London back in May (click there for more info). These wines are imported by Dynamic Vines in the UK. Read on for more wise words and tasty wines dating from my travels 2007 to 2010 (extracted from WineWriting.com). Look at the little blurb on "wine scores" on the right for an explanation/rant on my curious 1-2-3 "marking"...
2009 L’Extreme white VDP des Côtes Catalanes (Grenache gris) – grainy toasty edges vs exotic peachy fruit, soft rounded mouth-feel then crisper finish. 1 although expensive at £15-£20.
2010 Macabeu (not bottled) – steely tight white wine developing light nutty tones, bright floral citrus fruit with a nice bitter twist, subtle refreshing finish. 1+
2007 L’Extreme red Côtes Catalanes (Lledoner pelut/Grenache) – a little closed up at first but it’s nicely perfumed slowly revealing peppery liquorice notes, has savoury leather touches on its rounded vs powerful palate, real depth too. 2+ £15-£20
2009 Cuvée 71 Corbières (mostly Carignan) – ripe berry aromas lined with hints of dark chocolate and vibrant black cherry, attractive dry vs ‘sweet’ tannins. 2 £10-£15
2006 Mire la Mer Corbières (Mourvèdre based) – maturing ‘sweet/savoury’ profile, black/blueberry fruit with ‘forest floor’ undertones; lovely concentration and style with firm yet still lively mouth-feel and elegant length. 2+ £10-£15

This scattered collection of old-vine parcels is owned, and transformed into the wines below, by English farmer Hugo Stewart and Australian winemaker, former dancer Paul Old (now there's an interesting combination of talents), who have vineyards in the Corbières region and in the northern Roussillon near Maury (hence the title of this post and inclusion in two 'guides'). They follow many biodynamic principles and tend the vines and their environment entirely by hand; well, using a few viticultural tools no doubt. The cellar is located in Peyriac-de-Mer on the coastal side of the Corbières, not far from Sigean and the sea obviously. Sampled at the Fenouillèdes in April 2007:
2005 Prioundo Corbières (around Villesques: Grenache Cinsault Mourvèdre) – quite tight and fresh, peppery v cherry fruit, a touch bitter perhaps but it displays nice elegance. 85-87
2005 Cuvée 31 Corbières (Peyriac area: Mourvèdre Carignan Grenache) – meaty black olive characters, more weight and power, again fresh bite and tangy grip but balanced. 87-89
2005 Mire la Mer
Corbières (Mourvèdre Carignan Grenache) – splash of vanilla oak with black fruit coating underneath, rounder finish yet still pretty extracted; quite attractive in the end but lacks soul (too much wood probably).
2005 L'Extreme Vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (Maury area:
Lladoner Pelut/Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre) – lush palate v quite toasty oak, closes up on the finish; difficult to tell, could be good... come back to it in 6 to 12 months. 89+?

Clos Perdus update January & April 2009
I popped in to see Hugo and Paul in their well-chilled cellar in Peyriac in Jan. and tasted a few more wines on their stand at
the Fenouillèdes wine show, in Tautavel in April. Latest news is the purchase of some "very old" Grenache Gris vines between Mas Las Frédas and Maury, to boost their white wine range; something I'm seeing more and more of generally, with increasingly impressive results.
2008
Grenache Gris (off the lees) - yeasty intensity v crisp mineral bite.
2008 Grenache Gris (older vines) - a bit more barrel adds nice roundness and texture v orange peel zestiness.
2007 Prioundo Corbières (mostly Grenache + Cinsault, from tank but final blend about to be bottled) - really perfumed and peppery with liquorice notes; fresh then fatter palate, very nice style. 87+
2007 L'Extreme (mostly Lladoner Pelut + Syrah from Mas Fred, nearly finished sample) - smokier and richer black fruits and spice; lively bite and length v light coconut oak texture. Paul wasn't "entirely happy" with this blend and might tweak it, but it's still v. promising though. 88+
2007 Mire la Mer
(Mourvèdre Carignan Grenache) – dense smoky black olive, berry and cassis; dry and firm mouth-feel v lovely fruit, power and well-balanced tasty finish. 89+
2007 Cuvée 51
Corbières (mostly Peyriac: 50% Carignan + 35% Grenache + Mourvèdre, 14% alc.) - quite rich and medium concentrated with lively floral and dark fruit and light chocolate backdrop. 87+
2008
Lladoner Pelut (from tank) - tangy cassis v spicy v ripe dark fruit, dry rounded texture.
2007 Le
Rosé (mostly Mourvèdre 13.5%) - deep orange colour, chunky and juicy with ripe raspberry fruit turning creamier, weighty v dry finish. Nice style. 87
2008
Cinsault - floral and plummy.
2008
Mourvèdre  - floral v black olive.
2008 Le
Blanc - nice leesy edges v citrus and mineral bite; fresh and dry turning more interesting on the finish. 85
2008 L'Extreme
blanc - fatter and more exotic, again nice yeast-lees and mineral bite v apricot notes. 87
2008 Le Rouge (
Grenache) - very white peppery and explosive berry fruit; ripe v dry mouth-feel, attractive style. 87


2010 UPDATE: Paul was manning a stand at the enigmatically named "Salon du X" - it's not that much of a mystery, actually, a tasting organised by agent Xavier Peyrot des Gachons with a dozen Languedoc & Roussillon winegrowers present (there were originally 10, I think) hence the X - in April at Domaine Gayda's impressive winery & restaurant complex between Limoux and Castelnaudary.
2009 Le Rosé (90% Mourvèdre) - wild and herby edges vs creamier red fruits; tight and quite lean mouth-feel vs a bit of weight and roundness. 85+
2006 Mire la Mer
Corbières (70% Mourvèdre etc. 14% alc.) – chocolate/coconut oak notes vs rich and smoky backdrop, quite toasty yet layered with ripe dark fruit and spices; attractive full rounded finish, tasty and well balanced in the end. 88-90
2007 L'Extreme vin de pays Côtes Catalanes (mostly Lladoner Pelut/Grenache + Syrah) - juicy black cherry, lush with "sweet" liquorice vs spicy undertones; quite soft tannins and finish vs 14% weight. 87+


17 Rue du Marché, 11440 Peyriac-de-Mer. Mobile France: 06 70 08 00 65, UK tel: 01725 511119; www.lesclosperdus.com.

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