Château Grand Français
A precursor of organic farming
The history of Château Grand Français dates back to the 15th century, when the property was surrounded by 600 hectares of farmed vines and cereals. It was passed down from generation to generation to eventually land in the good hands of Dominique Vacher, who proudly continues his family legacy. Benefiting from a 15th century cellar, 8 hectares of organically-certified vineyards, and a traditional savoir-faire, Dominique Vacher and Château Grand Français produce some of the finest, most distinguished Bordeaux wines.
Location: Bordeaux, France
Sustainability: Certified organic since 2002
Interesting fact: The name of the estate, “Grand Français”, is an homage to owner Dominique Vacher’s distant ancestor who, in 14th century English-occupied Aquitaine, distinguished himself by asserting the rights of the French kingdom.
Buy Château Grand Français wines
Château Grand Français has long been renowned for its exceptional work in the vineyards, as shown by the “Agricultural Merit” medal won in 1906, already rewarding their gentle farming method and remarkably healthy, living soil. The estate was quick to understand the negative impact of chemicals in the soil and began its full transition to organic farming in 1999, long before the large Bordeaux estates thought about transitioning. “I chose to eliminate all chemicals from the estate and farm organically,” he says about his going organic. While organic viticulture requires a lot more planning and hands-on work than its conventional counterpart, the quality of his fruit shows in the elegance and vibrancy of the wines he produces.
Located north of Saint-Émilion on the hillside of the l’Isle Valley, Château Grand Français covers over 8 hectares of vines with a density of 5000 vines per hectare. The vines are pruned as Double Guyot and kept short to limit the yield and force the vine to produce fruit of the highest concentration and quality. The three varieties planted at the estate, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, all thrive in the loamy-sandy soil with red gravel and the sunny south exposure. While each parcel is harvested and vinified separately, Dominique seeks the best of each fruit. 45% of Merlot is planted on the estate with the aim to provide the deep colour and fruit quality the grape is known for. The 30% of Cabernet Sauvignon are aimed at providing both colour, structure and ageability to his wines, while the remaining 25% of Cabernet Franc contributes to his wines’ outstanding complexity, elegance, and freshness.
Over the last 25 years, Dominique Vacher has built a loyal team that supports his efforts for a more honest and expressive winemaking philosophy at Château Grand Français.. Harvests are done by hand, with the fruit selected in the vineyards. It is then fully de-stemmed in the winery and goes through cold maceration for about 15 days. Each parcel is harvested at the best moment, vinified separately, and blended after a careful selection for each cuvée. Only native yeasts are used for the vinification. Following the fermentations, the wine is aged in different vessels: oak barrels for the Grande Cuvée, terracotta jars for the Cuvée N°, and stainless steel vats for the Cuvée Héritage. The wines are finally bottled at the estates and aged a bit longer until we can enjoy them.