Montagne Saint Émilion

Wines, châteaux and description of Montagne Saint Émilion. Click on the château name to go to their website.

Montagne Saint Émilion

Technically this Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), formed in 1989, is Castillon: Côtes de Bordeaux after a rebranding in 2008, yet most people still simply call the area Côtes de Castillon. Prior to 1989 it was sold as Bordeaux supérieur: Côtes de Castillon and earlier than 1934 it was called Près Saint Émilionnais. 

Côtes de Castillon comprises 9 communes: 

  • Belvès de Castillon

  • Castillon

  • Gardegan et Tourtirac

  • Les Salles de Castillon

  • Puisseguin (Monbadon)

  • Sainte Colombe

  • Saint Genès de Castillon

  • Saint Magne de Castillon

  • Saint Philippe d’Aiguille

The AOC is an extension of the limestone plateau of Saint Émilion, 45 km east of Bordeaux. Possessing 3000 hectares, 1850 under vine, and with about 5000 vines per hectare, it produces about 160,000 hectolitres a year of red wine. There are approximately 360 growers averaging 8 hectares each. It is a place full of Romanesque churches and old mills. 

Three main soil types exist over a 100 m height variation. Gravel dominates in the areas adjacent to the Dordogne river, where generally lower quality wine if grown. It then grades to clay in the slopes, fading into limestone on the plateau. Approximately 70% of the vines are Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc (locally called Bouchet), and most of the rest is Cabernet Sauvignon. Numerous woodlands, wild patches and other types of farming can be seen in the landscape.

The region ripens slightly later than Saint Émilion by about a week, and has generally higher acidity and sugar in the grapes. As such Cabernet Sauvignon is unpopular here as it ripens later than Merlot at the best of times. The deep coloured wines have  intense aromas of red fruits, strawberries, raspberries, plum, cherry, and sometimes leather


Castillon produces more wine per hectare than Saint Émilion, yet slowly there is a trend to reduce volume and have a lesser amount of wine with an improved quality. Generally the area is undervalued, and excellent wines are increasingly to be found here.

Vines have been planted in the Côtes de Castillon since the 2nd century under Decimus Magnus Ausonius, the root origin of Château Ausone in Saint Émilion. Apparently in his writings it is stated Castillon wine was famous even in Rome.

When Aliénor d'Aquitaine, born of Bordeaux, married Kind John of England in 1154 (yes, think Robin Hood), it made Castillon into a major export port for wine to England and Holland, long before the fame of the Médoc. Fortifications and tow paths were built during this time.


It was at Castillon in 1453 that the decisive battle of the Hundred Years War was fought, with the death of General Talbot and the end of 300 years of English reign in Aquitaine as King Charles VII took control.