The first inhabitants of Montfaucon settled on the rocky hill in the prehistoric era long before the Greeks and the Romans arrived in the region. The site is exceptional; the hill on the border of the Rhône River offers natural refuge and habitation in its caves as well as a viewpoint of the Rhône and surrounding area for enemies and predators.
The history of Château de Montfaucon dates back to the 11th century when the castle’s first tower was built. The castle’s role in history was strategic; the Rhône River was the border between the French Kingdom and the Holy Roman German Empire. Montfaucon was one of a line of castles and fortresses along the Rhône River constructed to guard the border, and later to tax ships carrying goods up and down the River.
The castle was extended in the middle ages and gained its triangular shape. It was owned by the powerful Laudun family. In 1420 the King of France gave the title of Baron to Montfaucon.
The winery is built at the bottom of the chateau. We still have the old vaulted cellar from the XVIth century where wine was made until 1936. Nowadays, this old cellar is used for barrel aging.
The first eleven towns forming La Côte du Rhône (including Montfaucon) on the right bank of the Rhône decide to protect the quality of their wine by forbidding grapes from outside the towns to enter the blends. In 1737 the King's Council orders the wine barrels from Côte du Rhône to be marked with letters C.D.R. This can be considered as the first appellation.
The castle was damaged during the religious wars in the 16th century. The de Pertuis family, our ancestors, had come
to Avignon from Piemonte in Italy following the Popes. They acquired the Chateau de Montfaucon in 1766. Thus Joseph
Gabriel de Pertuis became the Baron de Montfaucon.
Joseph Gabriel’s son, Eugene, served as Mayor of Avignon and member of the parliament from 1826 to 1830. He married a Scottish lady, Agatha Clavering. They had a son named Louis, Baron Louis de Montfaucon, and a daughter, Wilhelmine.
In fact Baron Louis and his father were also amateurs of wine, selling their wine in Paris. We found old labels from their time, 1829 “Vin de Monsieur le Baron de Montfaucon”, which inspired us to create our special cuvee made from the 15 grape varietals of the estate.
It was Baron Louis who realised the restoration and expansion of the castle in 1880s. The castle’s new façade is reminiscent of the Scottish style, an influence from his mother. The castle kept its triangular shape, which makes it the only remaining triangular castle inhabited today.
The Baron Louis dies. He left the Château and the estate to his young niece Madeleine since he never married or had children. On her marriage Madeleine becomes Comtesse de pins.
From 1936 to 1995 the family continued to cultivate the vines but sold the grapes to a co-operative. This has allowed us to inherit beautiful old vines of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise that are up to 90 years old.
Following his agriculture studies in France and California (UC Davis), Rodolphe de Pins makes wine at the renowned estates of Henschke in Barossa and Vieux Telegraphe in Châteauneuf du Pape. He takes over Montfaucon estate in 1995. He rebuilds the winery and makes his first vintage in Montfaucon in 1995.