Paul Old - Les Clos Perdus
I had the chance to meet Paul Old In the serene and intimate atmosphere of his 18th Century house located in a car-free street of Peyriac de Mer.
His career path is truly incredible: how did a man who was a professional dancer and choreographer for more than 20 years (notably with Australian Ballet) find himself in the Corbières looking after several hectares of vines?
Short version, "because I’ve always loved wine” he replies, with a big smile. The long version is slightly more… interesting. Having left Australia to work as a dancer in London, Paul had been looking for a new career as his “body began to fall apart” at the honorable age of 37. Always enthusiastic about wine, tasting a lot of samples with a friend working at Decanter, Paul was rapidly told that he had a gift and that he should cultivate it. The seed was now planted in his head and a chance visit to a friend in Corbieres showed him the potential of the old vines being torn up across the region. Without hesitation, he booked a one-way ticket to Australia and used his resettlement funds to retrain as a oenologist/winemaker at the Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.
Starting with 1.5 hectares of vine in 2003, the domaine encompasses now some 35 parcels scattered over 20 hectares located in the Corbières Maritimes, the Hautes-Corbières and the Agly Valley. All unique, these parcels bring complexity, depth and typicity to the range.
Today, despite the dithyrambic reviews and the Michelin Starred restaurants which pour Les Clos Perdus, Paul keeps on taking risks. “Natural wine is about playing with your boundaries and your fears” he says. That’s why he embraces the millésime effect and that he started Project 108, a bunch of wines that are produced without rehearsal and added sulfites.
From the table of Jancis Robinson to the ones of Noma, Geranium and Frantzén, the wines of Paul Old are now available in Amsterdam to quench your thirst for discovery and beauty.