Château Figeac 2016 (Pre-Arrival)
• Domaine: Château Figeac
• Appellation: Saint-Émilion
• Classification: First Growth, Premier Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Figeac is considered one of the jewels of the picturesque Saint-Émilion village. It is situated next to Château Cheval Blanc, one of the champions of the appellation.
This unique Right Bank producer yields wines that rival some of the finest in the Médoc. Due to higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon going into the wine, a characteristic unique to Château Figeac among Right Bank producers, due to its well-endowed terrior, its wine has a remarkable aging potential unlike the more accessible while young, and Merlot dominant wines from the area. As the years progress, if well-cellared, Château Figeac continues to dazzle, impress, and grow more coveted with each passing vintage. In fact, demand is so high for offerings of Château Figeac that many buyers who are fortunate enough to come into contact with a bottle often purchase it immediately — for they never know when it will sell out.
One of the many attributes that makes this Saint-Émilion producer such a viticultural tour de force is its unique terroir. Château Figeac is located in what is known as the Graves region of Saint-Émilion. Very few producers in the Right Bank are fortunate enough to experience the luxury of this enviable terroir. The special gravel topsoil is heat absorbing, light reflecting, and excellent for drainage. Unlike the majority of Saint-Émilion’s limestone and clay heavy soils that are well suited for cultivating Merlot and Cabernet Franc, Château Figeac’s special terroir is perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon. The estate’s 40 hectares of vineyards are evenly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
Château Figeac is one of the oldest vineyards in the Right Bank. The Romans saw the land’s great potential and cultivated vines on the estate approximately 2,000 years ago. Château Figeac received its name in the 18th Century, and the enormous 200-hectare estate continued to change hands over the ages. As ownership changed, parcels were sold off, including some to the legendary Château Cheval Blanc. In 1955 during the Saint-Émilion Classification, Château Figeac was classified as a Premiere Grand Cru Classés Class B Estate -- a high honor.
Eventually the estate was procured by Thierry Manoncourt who was known as, “the Pharaoh of Saint-Émilion.” Manoncourt showed an unprecedented level of commitment to Château Figeac and was responsible for a number of innovations at the estate. He introduced temperature controlled stainless steel vats to the fermentation room and oversaw the production of Château Figeac’s second wine, Le Petit Figeac. Château Figeac was the first Right Bank producer to set the precedent of creating a Second Wine, and many other châteaux followed suit shortly thereafter. Manoncourt was considered a giant within the wine industry, and this former President of the Saint-Émilion Jurats proudly championed the entire region. Unfortunately, in 2010 he passed away and ownership of the estate changed hands to his widow, Madame Marie-France Manoncourt.
After a brief period of uncertainty, Château Figeac rebounded spectacularly with a legendary vintage in 2015. As the years progress, the wines improve in quality at a staggering rate, and it is widely speculated this Premier Grand Crus Class B estate is due for a promotion at the next reclassification of Saint-Émilion producers, currently expected to be held in 2022. Given the price appreciation Château Pavie and Château Angelus saw after their promotion to Class A, it is no surprise speculative buyers are snatching up Château Figeac all around the world.
"The 2016 Figeac was bottled at the end of July 2018, since Frédéric Faye wanted to give the wine more time in barrel to develop more harmony. The stunning 24-carat bouquet rivets you to the spot with brilliant delineation and mineral-rich red fruit that articulates its terroir as well as any Right Bank you will find. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannin, perfect acidity, wonderfully integrated new oak and enormous depth toward the fresh, pencil-box- and cedar-infused finish. This is a classic Figeac, up there with the 1947 and 1949, both recently re-tasted and testifying to a wine that genuinely belongs among the elite Saint-Émilions. Faye believes it is the best Figeac he has ever made. He is correct." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (January, 2019), Rating: 100, Drink: 2023-2060
"The 2016 Figeac is comprised of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is a little broody and reticent at this very youthful stage, slowly unfolding to reveal profound plum preserves, crème de cassis, black raspberries and star anise with hints of moss-covered bark, truffles and tilled loam plus a waft of red currants and raspberry leaves sparks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is practically quivering with energy, offering glimpses at tightly wound black fruit and mineral/ferrous layers, framed by very firm, ripe tannins and wonderful tension, finishing long with the spices coming through. This will need a good 7-8 years to come round and then should cellar for 40+ years. Very serious, beautifully poised and sophisticated personality this vintage." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (11/30/2018, Interim Issue), Rating: 97+, Drink: 2025-2065
"The 2016 Figeac is a blend of 36% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked from 23 September until 20 October at 49 hectoliters per hectare with 13.9% alcohol. The acidity is 3.67 pH, and it matured in 100% new oak (focused on five cooperages). This is a property that opened a new chapter in 2013, when Michel Rolland's services as a master blender have been called upon and engendered far greater harmony between the three grape varieties, now all singing from the same hymn sheet. It has a crisp blackberry nose, a little closed at first, opening nicely in the glass and offering raspberry coulis, pencil box and subtle mint aromas—classic Figeac in many ways. The palate is extraordinarily well balanced with a fine lattice of tannin sculpted to perfection. There is a slight edginess to this Figeac that I adore, the Cabernets very expressive, more so than the 2015, with graphite infusing every pore of the black fruit. This Figeac has an outstanding structure and a saline finish that beckons you back for another sip. The 2015 Figeac was stunning and the 2016 no less. Tasted on four separate occasions, and in the end, only one (banded) score became inevitable." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Rating: 98-100, Drink: 2026-2060
"Another brilliant wine from the genius of Frédéric Faye, the 2016 Château Figeac checks in as 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that spent 19 months in new French oak. Roughly 75% of the production made it into the grand vin. This deeply colored beauty is a legendary wine in the making and offers ultra-pure aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, smoke tobacco, dried herbs, chocolate, truffle, and graphite. Showing more violets notes with time in the glass, it builds incrementally on the palate, with flawless balance as well as incredible elegance, no hard edges, and a finish that won't quit. Readers will have a blast comparing the 2016 and 2015 vintages over the coming 3-4 decades and this estate is firing on all cylinders. This will most likely merit a triple-digit rating in 7-8 years and keep for 4 decades or more." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2016: Firing On All Cylinders (2/28/2019) Rating: 98+