Domaine des Carabiniers is a certified Biodynamic estate winery in France’s Rhône region. It produces wine under the Lirac AOC, Tavel AOC and Tavel and Côtes du Rhône AOC. The name ‘Carabiniers’ refers to the practice in medieval times of cavalry soldiers (protecting the Pope in nearby Avignon) stationing their horses overnight in the buildings which since 1920 have been used by the Leperchois family for winemaking.
Owner: Christian Leperchois, and his children Fabien and Magali. The company registered its name Biodynamic Wine SARL (Societé à Responsabilité Limité or Limited Company).
Vineyards: 2018 50 hectares (135 acres) I was told (IBWC 2018). | 2012 45 hectares (111 acres) of vines in the Cèze Valley.
Grape varieties: 50% Grenache Noir (r), 20% Mourvèdre (r), 20% Syrah (r), plus Carignan noir (r) and Cinsault (r), Clairette Blanche (w), Bourboulenc (w), Roussanne (w), Grenache Blanc (w), a tiny amount of Picpoul (w), and Viognier (w), from 2014.
Tavel, Terroir de Causses: An island of vines comprising 4 hectares (9.9 acres) which was created in the 1950s out of the scrub (la garrigue), whose white limestone (calcaire blanc) soil is ideal for Tavel (Rosé). Roughly 50% Grenache Noir, 50% Cinsault, Clairette Blanche and Syrah.
Lirac, Terroir de Sable: Sandy terroir. 16 hectares (39.5 acres) of Lirac. Pliocene sand and pebbles, pudding stones (galets). Roughly 60% Grenache Noir, 20% each Mourvèdre and Syrah.
Terroir à Fruits: ‘Fruit-driven wines terroir’.10 hectares (24.7 acres) of Côtes du Rhône. From an area at the foot of the sandy terraces, on light soil, which warms quickly in spring and allows easy penetration of rain water.
Biodynamics: 2003 Christian Leperchois told me (on 4th December 2003 by ‘phone: ‘I have thought about biodynamics, and read up about it, but you need to study it deeply if you are going to do it properly, as it is a special way of farming, and you need to know what you are doing. As yet I have not made the first step.’ | 2013 On 7th September 2013 Christian Leperchois told me by ‘phone that from 2010 his son Fabien had taken over and had adopted Biodynamics with advice from Pierre Masson. Biodynamic compost 502-507 is made from recycled green waste but with no animal manure as sheep manure, for example, would have to be trucked in from long distances. Work to a three to four year cycle for compost. Use a 250-litre copper dynamiser. The main Biodynamic spray used is Prepared Horn Manure 500P. The Leperchois family harvests its own dandelion and chamomile for plant-based sprays.
Certification: 2000 First vintage with full organic certification. | 2011 First vintage with full Demeter Biodynamic certification. | 2018 Still Demeter-certified Biodynamic.
Lirac Blanc: 2014 50% Grenache blanc, 40% Roussanne, 10% Clairette. Average vine age 35 years. Bit neutral and herby but cleanish at least (Millésime Bio 2015). | 2017 Seems faded (IBDC, San Francisco 7th May 2018).
Tavel AOC: 1999 50% Grenache Noir, 50% Cinsault, Syrah, Clairette. Cheesy, flat, alcohol runs a little too hot (Millésime Bio 2002). | 2017 50% Grenache Noir, 20% Cinsault, 15% each Syrah and Clairette.
Oc Rouge: 1999 Syrah from a south-facing site on sandy alluvial soil.
Côtes du Rhône Rouge AOC, Domaine des Carabiniers: 1999 Light in both colour and flavour (Millésime Bio 2003). | 2002 Easy tannin, whole berry ferment, simple at Millésime Bio 2003. | 2013 50% Grenache Noir, 50% Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault. Loose, bit simple (Millésime Bio 2015).
Côtes du Rhône Rouge AOC, Terre Devau | 1999 Light in colour and flavour (Millésime Bio 2002).
Lirac Rouge, Domaine des Carabiniers | 1999 Dull, light (Millésime Bio 2002). | 2001 Decent clean fruit, soft, dry firm tannin behind (Millésime Bio 2003). | 2002 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah and Mourvèdre. Decent, simple (Millésime Bio 2003). | 2017 50% Grenache, 25% each Syrah and Mourvèdre. A bit simple and primary (IBDC, San Francisco 7th May 2018).
Domaine des Carabiniers
Tras le Puy, F-30150 Roquemaure (Gard), France
Tel+33 (0)126.96.36.199.94 or (0)188.8.131.52.15
International Biodynamic Wine Conference 2018, San Francisco 7th May.
Millésime Bio, Narbonne, January 2002.
Millésime Bio, Narbonne, 13-15th January 2003.
Millésime Bio, January 2015.