de Montaigne is
situated on the border between the Gironde and the Dordogne,
7km north of Castillon La Bataille. It is best known for the
château where Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was born and died
(1533 - 1592). Michel de Montaigne : famous author,
Parliamentary Counsellor, Mayor of Bordeaux, Gentleman of the
King’s Chamber and indefatigable traveller.
The commune is composed of four hamlets : the village itself
with 12th century church and the château entrance, Les
Illarets, Le Petit Moulin and Bonnefare which has a chapel
dating from the times of the Knights Templar.
The presence of vineyards and production of wine in the area
go back as far as the Crusades and Michel de Montaigne
doubtless contemplated the vines’ ancestors from his tower as
he wrote his essays.
This is wine-producing country and Montravel has the advantage
of very sunny, south-facing hillsides perfectly adapted to the
wines of the region.
Studies show that the geological strata of St Emilion and
Côtes de Castillon are exactly the same virtually up to Le
Fleix, or around Port St Foy, meaning that these vineyards
have the same soils as their prestigious neighbours St Emilion
and Pomerol. Similarly the grape varieties of Merlot, Cabernet
and Sauvignon are the same as their illustrious neighbours.
The white wines are made from a harmonious blend of three
grape varieties : Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. This
blend gives Montravel dry whites a distinct and recognised
The Côtes de Montravel and Montravel which are harvested a
little later than the dry white wines, produce excellent sweet
(‘liquoreux’) white wines which can be kept - and indeed
improve with keeping - for many years.
The reds are also fine wines made of a blend of Merlot,
Cabernet-Franc and Cabernet- Sauvignon.
In fact for a
long time the commune was known as St Michel et Bonnefare
before adopting its present name in 1938 in memory of the
It has a surface area of 930 hectares and counts
a population of
356 (official population on January 1, 2017
It is, essentially, an agricultural and viticultural community
but also has large tracts of forest land. The plateau
vineyards are beautifully exposed and produce an excellent