Montravel is already well-known for its white wines but now a new red appellation – Montravel Rouge – is finding itself in the French media.

‘Journalists in France have been writing about it a lot, and for good reason,’ said Daniel Hecquet, of Chateau Puy Servain, a Montravel Rouge property.

If the appellation is one of France’s newest, so is the way it is administered. It is the first wine-growing region in the country, apart from Champagne, where the appellation is bestowed only once the wine is bottled.

‘This is a first,’ said M. Hecquet, ‘the quality of the wine is asssured as it is judged on the finished product – the approved wine is the wine that will be drunk by the consumer.’

The wines are also tested to verify their ‘aptitude to ageing’. If this test is failed, the wine will not be eligible to qualify for the appellation test one year later.

In the latest edition of the Guide Hachette des Vins, Montravel Rouge has also been compared to its highly esteemed neighbour, Pomerol.

‘Two to three times less expensive than its neighbour and brother from Bordeaux for a wine that is almost identical,’ said the Guide.

The Montravel Rouge requires a minimum of 50% Merlot grape in the wine to qualify for the appellation, some go as high as 90%. Merlot is the predominant grape in Pomerol and St Emilion.

When deliniating the Bergerac appellation in 1945, the geologists responsible suggested the creation of a ‘Bergerac supérieur’, just East of the St Emilion area, in Montravel.

‘The seed was sown and it took 56 years to germinate,’ said Jean-Francois Defarge, president of the Montravel union.

When asked whether or not Montravel Rouge was modelling itself on the wines of Pomerol, M. Hecquet said, ‘it’s obvious. The winemakers here are making a lot of effort to go in that direction.’

The shelf price for Montravel Rouge is around €10-20 per bottle.

Written by Oliver Styles