Château Figeac 2020
• 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 2020 Figeac is a blend of 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, weighing in with an alcohol of 13.9% and a pH of 3.7. Opaque purple-black colored, it bursts from the glass with a beautifully vibrant initial wave of pure, pristine black fruits: fresh black cherries, juicy black plums and ripe blackcurrants. With swirling, a whole array of floral and spice notes is unleashed: lavender, ground cloves, cumin seed, cardamom and rose oil. The medium-bodied palate is surprisingly graceful for the intensity of aromas, featuring ethereal, perfumed black berry notes, framed by a seamless line of freshness and ripe, grainy tannins, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note. Far more cerebral and quietly introspective than it is hedonic, this could only be Figeac." Lisa Perotti-Brown, End of May 2021: The Wine Advocate (05/28/2021) Rating: 96-98+
"This delivers concentration and intensity, a ton of black fruits, definitely Cabernet dominant in terms of fruit, and its slightly serious character, with a whoosh of juice on the finish. An extremely elegant and controlled wine, with savoury bilberry and loganberry, then peony and tobacco leaf as it opens. Tannins are finely layered but there are a lot of them. Not an exuberant Figeac, but this is rarely a wine that rushes out to seduce, it takes its time and has ageing potential in spades. The gravel soils in the drought of the summer meant the grapes slowed their ripening process, although only the youngest vines suffered blockages, and that combined with the high Cabernet content of Figeac means lower alcohols than the past few years, giving a classic balance and a feeling of effortless success. 75% of the production went into the first wine. Harvest September 4 to October 1, a full five weeks. Their final yield here was around 37hl/ha, (higher than in 2019 at Figeac, which was 34hl/ha). As with on the Left Bank, the Cabernet Sauvignons were the lowest yield (30hl/ha), with tiny berries so had to be careful with the extraction. First vintage in the new cellars." Jane Anson, Best Saint-Émilion Wines Tasted 2020 En Primeurs (04/30/2021) Rating: 96, Drink: 2029-2046
"A super-classic wine, the 2020 Figeac sizzles with vertical energy. The château has made a number of tremendous wines in recent vintages, but I don't remember a Figeac with this much saline-drenched intensity and mineral drive. The 2020 is superb, but it won't be ready to drink anytime soon. The mixture of soil types and varieties, with the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, that is such a signature here, was a huge help in maintaining balance and energy in the wine. Technical Director Frédéric Faye certainly seems to have gotten the most out of the vintage." Antonio Galloni (June, 2021) Rating: 95-97
"I loved the 2020 Château Figeac, and this beauty offers everything you could want from this site, revealing a dense purple/ruby color to go with gorgeous notes of cassis, tobacco, sappy herbs, and spring flowers as well as an almost Pauillac lead pencil note that develops with time in the glass. A blend of 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, it's full-bodied and has perfect balance, ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish. It brings ample power yet has a weightless elegance and riveting precision reminiscent of the 2016. Don't miss it." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2020: En Primeur - Part 1, (05/23/2021) Rating: 96-98