Château Figeac 2019
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, thanks to its well-endowed terrior, its wine has a remarkable aging potential unlike most of the wines from the area - more accessible while young, Merlot dominant. 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 growing 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. 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 the estate has been managed by his widow, Madame Marie-France Manoncourt. After a brief period of uncertainty, Château Figeac rebounded spectacularly with a legendary vintage in 2015.
In 1955, during the first official classificationi of Saint-Émilion, Château Figeac was classified as a Premiere Grand Cru Classés Class B Estate -- a high honor. Only Château Ausone and Châteaux Cheval Blanc were catapulted into a higher tier - Premiere Grand Cru Classés Class A. Expectations have been building that at the next reranking and reclassification of Saint-Émilion, Figeac is most likely to be promoted into the top rank - Premiere Grand Cru Classés Class A. Given the price appreciation Château Pavie and Château Angelus saw after their promotion to Class A in 2012, it is no surprise speculative buyers are snatching up Château Figeac all around the world.
"The 2019 Figeac is composed of 30% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Cabernet Franc, harvested from the 13th of September to the 7th of October. The alcohol this year is 14.1% and the pH is 3.7. Steal-your-heart scents of mulberries, black raspberries, Black Forest cake and cassis prance ever so gracefully out of the glass, followed by nuances of plum preserves, red roses, cinnamon toast and clove oil plus just a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, the palate shimmers with electric energy, framed by a solid backbone of wonderfully ripe, grainy Cabernet-led tannins and bold freshness, finishing with fantastic persistence and with tons of emerging earth and floral layers. This is a simply stunning, seemingly effortless, beautifully harmonious expression of the vineyard and the vintage - bravo!" - Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (6/14/2020, Bordeaux 2019 Issue), Rating: 98-100
"A stunning vivid wine, the 2019 Figeac may very well turn out to be one of the wines of the vintage, when all is said and done. Cabernet Franc is 36%, a bit higher than the norm, which has been closer to 30%. The 100% new oak is barely perceptible. Rich and dramatic in the glass, the 2019 soars with magnificent intensity. Graphite, cured meats, smoke, licorice, menthol and spice develop with aeration, but the 2019 is dense and very primary today. It is a truly grand Grand Vin in the making.
Estate Director Frédéric Faye describes a year of starting and stopping in terms of maturity. He chose to start harvest with the young vine Merlots on sand early to preserve freshness, but waited on the parcels with Cabernet on clay/gravel, where the soils retain more moisture. Faye opted for gentle winemaking as he was concerned over-extracting the Cabernets in particular." - Antonio Galloni, Vinous (6/2020), Rating: 97-99
"Reminding me of the 2016 with its pure, classic style, the 2019 Figeac checks in as 36% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Merlot, and the Cabernet certainly takes center stage at this point. Deep purple, with an incredibly pure bouquet of crème de cassis, spring flowers, tobacco, lead pencil shavings, and damp earth, you'd be excused for guessing Pontet Canet (or maybe Lafite) blind as it has a distinctly Left Bank style. Full-bodied and flawlessly balanced, with beautiful concentration, it's one of those wines that offers serious power and richness, yet no sensation of weight or heaviness. In addition, the tannin quality is off the charts and could not be any better. If you love classic Bordeaux (or just great wine for that matter), you should buy this wine." Jeb Dunnuck, BORDEAUX 2019: A Modern-Day Version of 1982? Rating: 98-100