The Leperchois family originated from Santa Croce sull'Arno, a small village south of Tuscany about 40 kilometers from the sea. The family’s ancestors emigrated to France due to the economic crisis that struck Italy in the 1920s. In Italy, their forebears produced table grapes and grapes destined to become wine. Part of the family also worked in leather tanneries three generations ago.
The family made a fresh start when they arrived in France. They started by being wine-growers for different domains. Afterwards, they acquired 3 hectares in the 1930s. At that time, their grapes would be taken to the village cooperative. In 1974 when Christian Leperchois took over the vineyard, he extended it to 9 hectares and started selling the wine in bottles. First Côtes-du-Rhône in 1974, then he sold Tavel and Lirac in 1980. The wine cellar was also constructed at this time.
In the 1980s, Christian acquired 11 additional hectares followed by another 10 in the 1990s. Since the 1990s, the entire vineyard adopted organic farming and became ECOCERT certified in 1997. The family’s fifth generation, Magali and Fabien, Christian’s children, increased the domain in the 2000s to reach its current 50 hectares.
In the 14th century, the Papacy resided at the Palais des Papes in Avignon. The region was watched over by Italian guards on horses known as the Carabinieri. Since then, the area has been known as "Carabiniers". Because the cellar was constructed on the site of a former horse stable where the Carabinieri kept their horses, the family kept its name. The horse became the symbol for the domain.
The domain is located in the commune of Roquemaure in the Gard department, an ancient river port on the right bank of the Rhône. In the 17th century, Côte du Rhône wines, which the king couldn’t get enough of, left from Roquemaure. This name was given to the wines of the right bank of the Rhône, and then became Côtes-du-Rhône (plural) by including left bank wines. The more southern right bank crus, Tavel and Lirac, draw their heritage from the second and third epochs. Their terroir is composed of earthy layers dating back to the Pliocene epoch several millions of years ago. Sand, colluvium, clay, limestone and the famous rolled pebbles are associated with this period. This period was marked by the retreat of the Mediterranean Sea, some areas of the Alps collapsing and changes with the Rhône’s riverbed.
Today, Magali and Fabien are the fifth generation to work the domain. Fabien joined his father in 2006 as Maître de Chai. He converted the entire property to biodynamic, receiving Demeter certification in 2009. Demeter International is the only international certifying body for biodynamic farms and products. In 2013, Magali joined to handle administration and sales. In 2015, the company Biodynamic Wine was created to allow Fabien and Magali manage the domain and sell the vineyard’s wines.
They now manage the domain and team, which includes 6 people, helped by seasonal workers that work the vineyards.
The domain has always had a vision looking towards the future:
We work Tavel, Lirac, Côtes-du-Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellations as well as IGP Pays d’Oc. We make wine using natural yeasts without additives and without sulphites. An adjustment is made during bottling, only for certain products. The goal is to reduce the amounts of sulphur dioxide as much as possible to preserve aromas for the greatest pleasure to consumers.
Biodynamic winemaking goes much farther than organic:
The domain is growing! The winery, storage, shipping and tasting room are being expanded and should be finished by 2020. We also are hoping to acquire 10-15 hectares of vines at most, all while still remaining at a manageable, family size vineyard. This will allow us to continue to concentrate on quality while working the entire vineyard as biodynamic in the best conditions as well as to keep it family owned and operated.