One of the great names and terroirs of Saint Emilion whose wines exude class and sophistication rather than raw power. There has been some serious improvements here recently under winemaker Frédéric Faye. Michel Rolland has been brought in to consult - but not to change the unique Figeac style. Modern techniques such as vibrating sorting tables, de-stemming and an optical laser sorting line are being used, as well as 100% new oak barrels from 7 different coopers. As a consequence, the wines produced now seem a little riper and more polished than before but are still fine, pure and classic. Unusually for the right bank there is only 30% Merlot in the vineyard with 35% Cabernet Franc and - rare on the right bank - 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. Valmy Nicolas from La Conseillante has been brought in to sort out the commercial side. A sizeable part of production is relegated to the second label - Petit Figeac. Stunning wines in 2015, 2016 and 2018 make Figeac one of the hottest properties in Bordeaux in recent years.
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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!
The 2019 Figeac was picked from 13 September to 7 October, a total of 4 weeks picking. There is a little more emphasis on the Cabernet Franc this year - 36% of the blend. It is quintessential Figeac on the nose, that is to say that the enticing mélange of Merlot and Cabernet together creates more than a sum of their parts. Here the blackberry, crushed stone and graphite elements are seamlessly enmeshed with the more ravishing red fruit aspects delivered by the ripe Merlot. It is exquisitely defined. The palate is medium-bodied. First impressions are of a Figeac that leans more to the Cabernet/Left Bank side of its personality, quite structured with black fruit dominating, saline and marine-influenced. The Merlot really comes through towards the close delivering that almost clinical mineral-driven finish. Winemaker Frédéric Faye and his team have conjured a deeply impressive, intellectual Figeac this years, amongst the canon of greats that stretch back to the 1940s.
2028 - 2060
This is one of the most structured and linear Figeac with very fine tannins, yet at an intense level. So complex on the nose with notes of white flowers, blueberries and graphite. It’s full-bodied, very balanced and agile. So transparent and linear with brightness and raciness. 36% cabernet franc, 30% merlot and 34% cabernet sauvignon.
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.
The 2019 was harvested between 13th September and 7th October - a long harvested chosen deliberately with early picking for aromatic freshness in some parcels and later picking (after the September rains) for full ripening of some Cabernet parcels. The blend is 36% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. there will be 7,000 cases from a yield of 32hl/ha this year. 14.1% abv. Deep ruby colour in the class, with a complex nose of fresh red fruits that interplay with darker blackcurrant and chocolate. The Cabernets add a wonderful, fresh herbal note as well as a touch of pencil shavings. The palate is initially forward and fleshy, showing the rounded fruit of Merlot before the crunchy grip of the Cabernets come through. The tannins are mouthcoating but ripe, adding savoury graphite minerality to the dense core of red and black fruits. The spice is subtle and smoky, lifted by bright acidity. Taut and compact at the moment, this will need time in bottle but shows great potential. Tasted in Bordeaux and in London.
A higher amount of Cabernet Franc than usual in the blend, really get the Cabernet impact on the nose and on the attack, could easily say Left Bank with the liquorice root, menthol and leafy character. A rich creaminess comes in through the mid palate, with sappy raspberry fruits alongside salinity and minerality. The exuberance of a warm summer is there but it is well hidden under the precision of the tannic structure overall. An extremely impressive and signature Figeac. Juicy on the finish and oh so careful in its tannic delivery. 100% new oak. A yield of 34hl/ha, higher than 2018. 3.7pH. Drinking Window 2028 - 2046
30% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon. pH 3.7. Barrel sample.
Exquisite wine. Fragrant, floral nose with a perfect pitch of fruit. Cool, minerally edge alongside. Very pure and precise, the crafting spot on. Lovely line and length with plenty of drive and persistence. Refreshing, saline finish. A classic Figeac in its elegance and restraint. Gets the nod over 2015 and 2018 and at least on a par with 2016. (JL) 14.1%
Drink 2028 – 2048