Hi, I’m Ben Hall. Gill (my wife) and I, are the proud owners of Chateau La Grande Etouble and responsible for the production of our wine "Le Garagiste".
Our vineyard is located within AOC Cotes de Bourg, the oldest appellation of Bordeaux. Grande Vin de Bordeaux.
From vine to wine, our grapes receive a very high level of manual care. We believe the quality of our wine reflects this natural and organic approach. The wines we produce are excitingly different for this area. They are handmade with love and passion. From start to finish, we nurture and follow the seasons through to harvest. I have a great respect for the “terriore” and use equipment to cultivate & feed the soil naturally.
From caring for the vines, making our wine, designing our labels, bottling and labelling, all the way through putting the bottles into the cartons and advertising them on our websites. We do it all. Our wine comes from the heart.
We have always been in love with France, we even planted a vineyard and produced our own white wine in the UK before moving to France.
In 2013, when an opportunity arose to move to France, we were delighted to purchase a small 2.2 hectare vineyard in the appellation of Cotes de Bourg, which is located within the world famous wine region of Bordeaux. Since renovating the farmhouse and re-building the chai and wine cellar, we have produced a base for oeno-tourism and regularly welcome visitors from all over the globe on wine holidays at “French Vineyard Vacations”.
Our gently sloping vineyard is located close to the Gironde estuary and provides a good diversity of soils and minerals and is currently planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines. The Merlot enjoy the deeper clay and limestone soil, while the Cabernet Franc express themselves well in the deep sandy loamy soils of the higher end of the vineyard.
Come BLEND with us
Our Blending Room experience invites you to be our “Winemaker for the day”; to learn the winemaker’s art while blending your own red wine from our “Cotes des Bourg” selection, within the world-famous Bordeaux wine region. Throughout the whole weekend you will benefit from the wealth of knowledge and the experience of our two friendly wine makers: vineyard owner, winemaker & viticultor Ben Hall and Yann Riou - Organic & Biodynamic vine & wine expert extraordinaire.
Blend your own Wine - add customised labels & Home Deliverly
Each couple will receive guidance in tasting and blending wine whilst in the Blending Room. Your specially chosen blend will be labelled with your personally crafted label which will follow the required wine regulations and protocols. Your cases of wine will then be delivered to your chosen address. Each couple can choose the amount of cases to be delivered, there is a minimum purchase of 20 cases per couple.
After settling into our life of as vignerons, we decided to follow our hearts and "GO BIO".
This has proven to be one our best decisions ever. Our 45+ year old vines now have a new lease of life. We are very excited and delighted to say these organic improvements are being reflected within our wines too.
We began to slowly and carefully began to convert our "vineyard garden" into a totally self supporting, natural environment or "terriore" as its called here in France.
Ben converted part of the chateau into a small simple chai, where all the wine is fermented and macerated and left to mature in barrels or small stainless steel cuvees. He also went on to create a cosy and atmospheric wine tasting room where we offer regular wine tastings and blending experiences to visitors.
Encouraged by the results of our wine, we took a step further and introduced the use of agrobiological techniques, which respect the cycle of the vines. We regularly dynamise tissans (homeopathic tea remedies) which Ben hand sprays from his back pack - you'll often see him walking up and down the vineyard in the early hours of the mornings.
Another change we introduced in early 2017, was a different method of pruning called "Guyot Poussard Pruning". Ben believes this single change has greatly benefited our old vines which are now thriving.
We removed 0.6 hectares of our vines - we plan to replant these areas with Malbec and Carmenere from MASSALE SELECTION at a later date.
In the meantime, these areas are planted with wild flowers and green manures which provide a welcoming home for insects, birds and animals, together with auxiliary fauna. Soft soil cultivation, annual sowing of green manures, spraying of manures, concoctions and preparations are used to improve and revitilise the whole terroir.
Going forward, we believe our wine will be highly desirable and greatly sought after due to the rare combination of organic, biodynamic wine produced from MASSALE SELECTION vines.
The vineyard is registered with ECOCERT and this year’s vintage of 2019 will be labelled as “IN CONVERTION”, with the fully organic label being applied in 2021.
I make wine to stimulate all five senses; to evoke memories and create new ones. For me, wine is all about making each and every "wine moment" truly unforgetable. Capturing the experience with all your senses, enjoying the simple pleasures of life with family and friends or simply "tout seul".
In all our different bottles of Merlot and Cabernet Franc you'll discover a fresh dynamising energy of the pure fruit, quite unlike any other wine from this area. We focus on making a very small limited boutique productions within our
"Le Garagiste Series".
"Always good"... "Toujours Bien"
Hand Picked with Love
Each year we analyse our grapes and consider what unique qualities this year's vintage brings. Each cepage (grape variety) also benefits from different minerals and advantages depending on where they "live" in our vineyard.
The Merlot enjoy the deeper clay and limestone soil, while the Cabernet Franc express themselves well in the deep sandy loamy soils of the higher end of the vineyard. This knowledge helps us to consider the type of wine we would like to make and we then marry the two concepts together.
Once we know our different "cuvee selections" the grapes are handpicked separately. In this way we can leave the grapes mainly whole during fermentation and through into carbonic maceration. This helps to encourage an amazing fruity "nose" (aroma) for our wine. The moment you dip your nose into a glass of our wine you'll become aware of it bursting with "fruitiness".
Some vintages are so fruity we choose to mature them in our stainless-steel cuvees, for a shorter length of time. This wine is popular in the European market - with the young who enjoy drinking wine on its own - in a wine bar, Cav or Bar. The wine is young and fruity too - hence the name "Tutti Fruite".
We also use less sulphur in our wines and utilise several different aged barrels from 1 to 5yo barrels to mature our wine in. You'll notice how soft and digestible our wines are with fine, silky tannins on the finish. We aim to bring out the gold within our wines - hence the name "Alchemy".
It's surprising how different barrels, located in parts of the cellar bring different "noses" and flavours to wines. Each barrel seems to enrich and enhance in quite a unique way. Some bring chocolate or coffee; others offer vanilla or caramel or liquorice. In 2017 we produced a particularly complex and spicy little number which we thought deserved the suitable name
Our aim is to produce SMALL CUVEES of unique BOUTIQUE WINE with a beautiful bouquet, a fresh and fruity flavour with good acidity.
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