emily Who Meets Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, official It Girl of the Paris wine scene

emily Who Meets Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, official It Girl of the Paris wine scene souleil photo credit charles roussel (3)

I have never seen Emily in Paris, but I’m over it (it’s probably the only type of French cheese I’ve ever turned down, and that’s saying something). What you may not know is that the real The Parisian It Girl walks among us and her name is Marianne Fabre-Lanvin.

A publicist by day and a wine entrepreneur by day, Marianne is the epitome of effortless French elegance. So when she told me that she was launching her own brand of wine, I had no doubt that both the liquid and the label would be up to her and of course she and Souleil You have not let me down. Here’s everything you need to know about Marianne, her equally iconic (and French) co-founder Thomas Delaude, and the aesthetically pleasing organic wine project that’s saving the planet one beach cleanup at a time.

emily Who Meets Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, official It Girl of the Paris wine scene le ros 1 4705

What was your inspiration for Souleil?
Co-founder Thomas Delaude and I grew up next to the Mediterranean in a region with such diverse and striking natural beauty – the salt pans and marshes of the Camargue, the wide stretches of sandy Mediterranean beaches, the scrub, the red earth of Lake Salagou), where everything revolves around natural colors and warm sunlight. The landscapes of the south of France and the sea were undoubtedly an inspiration for the design of the label. We wanted to feel the warmth and vibrancy of the landscape of our home region.

As for the name, “Souleil” means sun in old French. It is also the name of a club on the main beach street of Montpellier (next to the beach road) where Thomas and I often went with our friends. I really like that in the word Souleil there is “soul”, which nods to the philosophy and commitment of the brand to do good for the environment and raise awareness around a cause such as the preservation of the ocean.

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In your opinion as a française, what makes Souleil different from other French wines that people are more familiar with?
First of all, most French wine labels tend to be classically traditional. It can be beautiful, but it can also be intimidating if you don’t know how to decipher the label. Our wines are more modern and closer. We want to appeal to a wide audience of everyone from connoisseurs to those just beginning to discover wine. We chose warm colors because we were thinking of the endless summer vibe our wines have. Everyone can relate to that, especially in the dead of winter!

Second, we are trying to be creative, or even daring, with our wine blends. Our white “Le Blanc”, for example, is unique and very expressive. It includes signature varietals from the south of France: Piquepoul, Terret Blanc, Ugni Blanc and Muscat, and we’re even adding a bit of Grenache Blanc in the 2021 vintage. Le Rosé 2021 will be mostly Grenache noir with a dash of piquepoul (a white grape). Le Rouge is a classic Syrah Grenache, but very juicy and best served slightly chilled.

How would you describe the lifestyle of the quintessential Souleil drinker?
I imagine the Souleil drinker lives in the moment. They enjoy a simple day at the beach drinking rosé wine on the sand or an impromptu lunch cooking with friends.

I also believe that most Souleil lovers care about nature, because by choosing us, they are choosing an organic wine. They will also support the nonprofit 5 Minute Foundation and its commitment to protect our oceans through cleanups, plastic recycling programs and education. We hope to help shed some light on his valuable work.

emily Who Meets Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, official It Girl of the Paris wine scene credit laurent vilarem 2

What is your ideal place/time/situation to drink your wines? What is the atmosphere/costume/music etc?
I am fond of apéros (drinks before dinner) fresh and always longing for sunsets and long summer nights by the sea, like everyone else, I’m sure! we had some afternoons on the beach last summer, starting with a beach cleanup and ending with a festive apéro. One of the most memorable was at Plage de l’Espiguette in Camargue, in the south of France. It was a perfect summer night, and there was even a saxophonist who we loved with songs like “Let the Sunshine in” by Hair. They all wore a casual-chic summer outfit (lots of white and beige linen), with skin still salty from the sea and beachy hair sculpted by the breeze. Another memorable Souleil apéro took place in Biarritz on the beautiful art deco rooftop “Bar de la Côte”, overlooking the ocean. Le Rosé’s label blended perfectly with the backdrop of the golden hour and sunset, and then the sun disappearing into the Atlantic. Lights out, cheer up!

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How would you summarize the role of wine in the French way of life? How does that differ from the way we view wine in American culture?
Wine is part of the culture in France, it is everywhere. I would say that wine is a must in a French shopping cart. Furthermore, most French people live near a vineyard and wine culture permeates (almost) every home, cafe, restaurant or social gathering. It is for everyone, young and old, available at all prices. People love to talk about wine, but not necessarily as experts. For example, having a glass of Heritage can evoke memories of a getaway trip to Corsica and spark a discussion about the delicious local charcuterie they have on the island.

It’s hard to speak in general terms about the way Americans view wine. In the past, wine hasn’t necessarily been in the picture or an accessory for most American homes. Other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages were more prominent. Most of the states did not produce wine, and the proximity to the production site is important for that drink to be part of their culture. Breweries were more common, for example. Good wine was seen—and probably still is, to some extent—as a sophisticated product and, therefore, consumed on special occasions. Today, it is demystified and more accessible. I often find that Americans are curious about what they are drinking (varieties, production areas, etc.). They are eager to know all the details, in order to fully appreciate the qualities of a certain wine, which is a great show of respect for the winemaker. However, he feels that the way Americans appreciate wine is increasingly resembling the European mindset.

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emily Who Meets Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, official It Girl of the Paris wine scene le blanc 3 4790

Where can our readers buy Souleil?
Souleil is distributed throughout the United States, and available at stores like Verve in San Francisco and Convive Wines in New York City. They ship to most states.

You can also enjoy Souleil wines by the glass at French bistros like Claudette and Bobo’s in Manhattan, for example. Le Blanc pairs deliciously with Claudette’s Roast Chicken Sasso. Just say!

Any future Souleil updates that you can share with us today?
We are working on organizing several appetizers, which will follow this summer’s beach cleanups in Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), Porquerolles (an island off the coast of the French Riviera) and The Rockaways. Depending on the location, Thomas will give beginner kitesurfing lessons. His wife, Mireille, will organize yoga sessions. The apéros will certainly include marching bands, and I may join them because I started playing cornet a couple of years ago and need to fight stage fright. Stay tuned!

[Photos by Charles Roussel, Laurent Vilarem, Doris Poe/David Fritz Goeppinger]