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Aurelien Lefort
Auvergne, France

It’s always a funny thing, to see a person that’s humble, salt of the earth, and deeply normal get thrust into the world of “unicorn status.” It’s worth mentioning that this is the precursor to a much greater conversation about how we put these very regular people on pedestals, and one which I will leave to my colleagues in the industry who will do it far more eloquently than I. That said, keep this concept in mind when considering the fact that this person farms just a couple hectares of vines and produces wines in miniscule quantities, which are indeed delicious, but ultimately, will not actually change your life. It is, after all, just wine. 

Originally from the banlieues of Paris, Aurelien studied art as his trade before the concept of making wine was even a twinkle in his eye. Even today, most would say that Aurelien is perhaps an artist first, and being a vigneron is an addendum to that; his time is as likely to be spent discussing art, literature, or cinema as it is discussing wine. After moving to Auvergne he was greeted with the open arms of a young, dynamic winemaking community and under the tutelage of Patrick Bouju he was able to get his head and hands around the art of growing vines and making wine. 

Today, as I’ve said, the production is limited. After a few disastrous vintages the wines are harder to come across than perhaps ever before, even pushing Aurelien to consider bottling his wines in 50cl bottles so there might be more of it to go around. And while he’s producing true terroir wines, particularly with his gamay d’Auvergnes, he’s also fully present as an influence on their ultimate character. That’s perhaps even more central to the wines when we consider the negociant wines he produces, finding grapes from left, right and center, and in turn creating wines that could be none other than his own. They’re expressive, open, wild, free, compelling, confusing, and wonderfully unique. To drink Aurelien’s wine is to catch a glimpse of him as a person, which for me at least, beats daydreaming about unicorns.