The Deffarge family has managed this family-owned property in Périgord since 1749. We take a closer look at its underrated Montravel and Bergerac wines.
Down the generations
Jean-François and Sylvie Deffarge inherited the estate which currently covers approximately 50 hectares. They renamed it after an old windmill located on the property and to emphasise their community spirit - they also welcome visitors in their gite.
They use sustainable vineyard management so as not to “harm nature...or wine growers!” They have invested in special spraying equipment that recovers from the ground the products sprayed on the leaves so as not to pollute the soils, entitling them to level 3 HVE environmental certification.
Work in the vineyards and winery is a family affair, involving their two sons, Benjamin and Quentin. One day, explains Sylvie, “my children will take over the estate”.
The unique minerality of Montravel
‘In Monte revelationem’, or the revelation came on the mount, is said to be the origin of the name of the village, whose Protestantism caused it to be razed to the ground on orders from Louis XIII during the wars of religion. In Montravel, the clay-limestone soils contain iron-rich clay, sometimes in the form of outcrops. Although Saint-Emilion is only twenty or so kilometres to the East, the red wines here can therefore display a unique minerality and freshness.
This is true of ‘Coeur de Roche’, the estate’s iconic label. Its nose recalls black fruits and it is blended from the classic mix of varieties from neighbouring Bordeaux that are Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, along with significant amounts of Malbec. The wines age for 18 months in casks as specifications for the appellation are much more stringent than for Bergerac. Consequently, the palate is robust and well-structured yet retains fruitiness and suppleness due to the high proportion of Merlot. The wine is considered to be midway between the virile charm of Bergerac and the more feminine appeal of Saint-Emilion.
So before the chateau actually delivers the ‘caress’ in its name, a good ten years or so will have to pass before the wine can be uncorked.