Karina and Guillaume Lefèvre are two of the loveliest and warm-spirited people you would ever encounter. They met hiking across the island of Corsica and it was Coup de Foudre, "love at first sight." Karina had travelled to France from her native country of Brazil, but after meeting Marseille-born Guillaume, she made a home with him in Southern France. Their family has grown to four with the addition of their son and daughter.
The French Government established a farm subsidization program to encourage young people to return to the land and cultivate crops. Like in so many countries, there is a mass exodus to the cities and rural France is struggling to maintain its agricultural traditions. With help from the government and a small amount of savings, Guillaume and Karina purchased Domaine de Sulauze in 2004, which was comprised of 29 hectares of vineyards, a few stone buildings and a stone barn where a wine cooperative once operated. Together they began converting the entire estate to first organic and then biodynamic viticulture and polycultural farming, which includes wheat fields (for bread), barley (for beer), olive trees (for olive oil) and an extensive vegetable garden to feed their family and employees. Today the entire domaine is Demeter certified and a good portion is worked by animal traction.
Karina and Guillaume grow the classic red and white varieties of the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence appellation including Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Ugni Blanc, all planted in sandy, limestone-centric soils with many shells. In fact, the domaine takes its name Sulauze from a soil-type known as Lauze, which is a flaky limestone with excellent drainage that protects vines from temperature variations. Su, or sur, which means "on" or "above" in French, combined with "lauze" translates to "on lauze".
The family's annual production of 15,000 cases is comprised of 50% red wine, 40% rosé, and 10% white wine. They are intent on authentically expressing their terroirs and thus, adhere to traditional vinification methods and intervene as little as possible in the cellar. All wines are fermented with their native yeasts, little or no sulfur is used (and only volcanic sulfur at that), and no fining or filtration is done. Guillaume is a leader in the region's natural wine movement, and he is constantly experimenting, so the cellar is dotted with barrels of skin-macerated wines, zero sulfur foudres, and more! That said, purity and deliciousness are the main objectives, so dogma and dirty wines don't have a place at Domaine de Sulauze.
While the beguilingly tasty Pomponette Rosé represents the bulk of their production, the Pomponette Rouge (pressed red grapes from the rosé), Les Amis Rouge, Charbonnières Rouge, Galinette Blanc, and Super Modeste Pétillant Naturel offer deliciousness and excellent value at every turn. And since 29 hectares and a cellar full of wine wasn't enough to manage, the always ambitious team established Brasserie de Sulauze, France's first ever biodynamically certified brewery, located just across the dirt road from the winery. With a lineup of farmhouse ales to round out their offering, Sulauze is a one stop shop for libations, inspiration and gracious hospitality. The Lefèvre family reminds us how fortunate we are to support good people making good wines!