Domaine des Carabiniers

BIODYNAMIC FAMILY VINEYARD

Family estate of 50 hectares in the south of the Rhône valley, near Avignon

Organic wines certified ECOCERT and biodynamic wines certified DEMETER

 

The Origin of the Leperchois family

The Leperchois family comes from a small village in the south of Tuscany, about forty kilometers from the sea: Santa Croce sull'Arno. The ancestors of the family emigrated to France, driven by the economic crisis that raged in Italy in the 1920s. In Italy, the ancestors produced table grapes and grapes for wine making. Part of the family also worked in leather tanneries, 3 generations ago.

The Birth of the Estate

When he arrived in France, the family made a new start. They started out as wine growers for different estates and then acquired 3 hectares in the 1930s. At that time, the grapes were brought to the village cooperative. And it was in 1974, when Christian Leperchois took over the vineyard, that he extended it to 9 hectares and began to market the wine in bottles. First, the Côtes-du-Rhône in 1974, then the Tavel and the Lirac in 1980. It was also at this time that the cellar was built.

During the 1980s, Christian acquired 11 additional hectares, followed by 10 hectares in the 1990s. Since the 1990s, organic farming has been carried out on the entire vineyard and in 1997 Ecocert certification is obtained. It was then the fourth generation, the children of Christian, Magali & Fabien who enlarged the surface in the 2000s to reach the current 50 hectares.

The domain name

In the 14th century, the papal community lived in Avignon (Palais des Papes) and the region was guarded by Italian guards on horseback: the Carabinieri . Since then, the locality has been called the “Carabiniers”. As the winery was built on the site of an old stable where the Carabinieri kept their horses, the family kept the name, and the horse became the symbol of the estate.

The place

The estate is located in the town of Roquemaure (Gard), a former river port on the right bank of the Rhône. In the 17th century, it was through Roquemaure that the wines of the Côte du Rhône, which the king loved so much, left. This name was given to wines from the right bank of the Rhône and then became Côtes-du-Rhône by integrating wines from the left bank. The vintages of Tavel and Lirac, the southernmost right bank vintages, draw their heritage from the secondary and tertiary eras. Their terroir is composed of terrestrial layers dating back several million years (Pliocene) where sands, colluviums, clay, limestone and the famous rolled pebbles, formed by the retreat of the Mediterranean Sea, the alpine collapse and the variations from the bed of the Rhône.

The estate today

Today, Magali & Fabien are the 5th generation to work on the estate. Fabien joined his father in 2006 as head of culture and Cellar Master. He converted all of the land to Biodynamics and obtained Demeter certification in 2009. Magali arrived in 2013 to take care of management and sales. In 2015, the Biodynamic Wine company was created to enable Fabien & Magali to manage the estate and market the wines from their vineyards.

It is now they who manage the domain and the team. The team is made up of 6 people, helped by seasonal workers for work in the vines.

The Philosophy of the Estate

The estate has always had a vision turned towards the future:

  • Organic viticulture since 1990, certification obtained in 1997 (ECOCERT certification)
  • Biodynamic viticulture since 2006, certification obtained in 2009 (DEMETER certification)
  • Improvement of the cellar in progress (expansion of the winery space, storage and shipping, new tasting cellar)

We work on the Tavel, Lirac, Côtes-du-Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellations and on the IGP Pays d'Oc. We vinify with natural yeasts, without adding any product and without sulphite. A readjustment is made during bottling, only on certain products. The aim is to reduce the doses of SO² as much as possible, in order to preserve the aromas for the greatest pleasure of consumers.

Biodynamics goes further than organic viticulture:

  • fewer inputs used in the vineyard (reduction in the use of copper and sulfur).
  • the only preparations other than sulfur and copper used are natural (herbal teas, silica, horn dung).
  • less or no inputs used during winemaking (less or no sulphites).
  • the philosophy of biodynamics resembles homeopathy: providing the vines with herbal teas to strengthen them and strengthen their natural defenses for preventive purposes.
  • be attentive to the environment in order to identify the best times to treat the vines (weather forecast, observation of life, lunar calendar).
  • everything is natural therefore no risk for living beings (winegrowers, cellar masters, consumers).
  • focus on the health and vigor of the plant and the soil; biodiversity.
  • long-term vision: better attention to plants, better fruit, better vines = better wines!
  • just like the great Chefs, for whom the secret of a great recipe is a good ingredient, for us, a good wine is first and foremost, a good fruit.
  • preservation of the balance and enhancement of terroirs: a terroir cannot be created, hence the importance of enhancing it, enhancing its land and its quality so as not to impoverish it.
  • "500P" : horn dung which is a very nutritious compost which is applied to the soil to stimulate the roots and nourish the underground auxiliary fauna, which helps the soil to develop. Root growth is a major element for the health and quality of the vine. The application of horn dung helps to stimulate the microbial life, necessary to endow the natural reserves of the vines during the winter.
  • we also spread "501" , in other words quartz silica, on the foliage to help plants capture the light intensity, source of heat and the lunar night light. This promotes photosynthesis.

The future

The domain is growing! The winery, storage, shipping and cellar space will be enlarged by 2020. We would also like to acquire 10 to 15 hectares of vines at most in the future, in order to keep a reasonable size (a human size). This will allow us to continue to focus on quality by working the entire biodynamic vineyard in good conditions and to keep family management.

Our style: wines with fruit, terroir-oriented, resulting from a winemaking process that respects the grapes, aromas, terroirs and people.