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
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
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.
QUELQUE CHOSE EN LUI DE FERRASSIE (*)
* 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
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
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
in memory of Louise and Albin