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On October 13, 2007, at the Clos l’Envège in Monbazillac, Patrick Montfort received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur Cross from the hands of the prefect of the Dordogne, Jean-Francois Taillec. He was being rewarded for the time and energy spent promoting the wines of Bergerac, of which “Julien de Savignac” has been the finest representative for the past 26 years. But who actually is - or was - this famous Julien? To find out a bit about him we went up on top of La Ferrassie rock.

Louise et Albin Legacies have to be treasured, understood and passed on to future generations. We must be careful not to forget. About 50,000 years ago a Neanderthal clan lived beneath La Ferrassie rock. When Denis Peyrony, the school teacher in Les Eyzies, discovered their burial ground in 1909 emotion was widespread and Neanderthal was finally to take his place in the history of mankind.

A century ago a peasant couple, « la Louise » and « l’Albin », lived above this very same rock. They had all they could wish for since they were short of nothing: a cow, poultry, a few grapevines, chestnut wood baskets for gathering cèpes and bringing chestnuts back for the swine. They were as precious as grandparents to me. Their death came suddenly in 1978 but they will always live on in my heart. Shortly after Patrick and Nicole Montfort came to live in the house next door in la Ferrassie. In 1979 Julien was born of this union. Julien? Julien was Albin’s Louise et Albin à La Ferrassie real name since, as everyone knows, all the Périgord peasants have a second name given to them that has nothing to do with the name they were given at birth.
Patrick, you once said: “I am convinced that there exists a symbiosis between man and the land”. You are indeed deeply attached to the Périgord which has become your fatherland and where you started your own business so our vineyards’ reputation would spread far afield – our Bergerac vineyards, so often sneered at by our Bordeaux neighbours.
And you sweetly named this enterprise: « Julien de Savignac », holding out your hand to the future generations and to your son of course… and maybe also, before you realized it, your hand had already “taken root” so to speak in the “terroir” (native soil) where you had planted it.


* Allusion to « Quelque chose en lui de Tennessee » - song by Eddy Mitchell

With determination, imagination and your family by your side you built an empire that firmly established itself in Le Bugue, Périgueux, Monbazillac and even in Paris. On October 13, 2007, in the lovely late-autumn sunshine peculiar to the Périgord, you were made “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” by the prefect of the Dordogne, Jean-François Tallec. The scene took place at the Clos l’Envège in Monbazillac with all your friends around you, your family and above all the whole of your “clan”. Everyone had tears in their eyes to see you so deeply moved by the occasion.

In your role as “Président de l’ Interprofession des Vins de Bergerac “ you have been working miracles championing the wines of Bergerac and seeing to their reputation the world over.
La Ferrassie is so proud to have in you the protector of its « terroir » and its traditions.

Discours de Patrick Montfort
Discours de Patrick Montfort

In 50,000 years’ time, will the stories of our lives, our fights, our preoccupations be fascinating archaeologists as much as the small Neanderthal population is fascinating us today?
Let’s just slip quietly away, leaving them this tiny trace of a delightful moment that kind and courageous Homo sapiens sapiens spent together, even though… nothing lasts forever.

in memory of Louise and Albin

Sophie Cattoire

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