One of the great names and terroirs of Saint Emilion whose wines exude class and sophistication rather than raw power. There have been some serious improvements here recently under winemaker Frédéric Faye. 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. A sizeable part of production is relegated to the second label - Petit Figeac. Stunning wines in recent vintages make Figeac one of the hottest properties in Bordeaux.
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The 2020 Figeac was picked from September 4 to October 1 and underwent vinification free of SO2. Deep purple in color, it is initially backward and sultry on the nose, necessitating 60 minutes before it really opens. It then reveals intense scents of cranberry, raspberry and touches of cassis intermingling with white pepper. Given that the Cabernets comprise 63% of the blend, this has a typical Left Bank personality but with Right Bank precocity. The palate conveys a sense of vibrancy and vigor on the entry, a dash of black pepper and allspice mingling with the mélange of red and black fruit. The tannins are satin-like in texture, and there’s dark berry fruit and hints of pencil lead and black truffle shavings toward the Pomerol-like finish. This is a magnificent Figeac from head winemaker Frédéric Faye and his team. This sample really came into its own 2–3 hours after opening. 2030 - 2065
This is a really sophisticated young wine with tobacco, crushed stone, currants and dark chocolate on the nose, following through to a medium to full body with intense yet linear tannins and a spicy, fresh finish. Some cloves and black pepper. Graphite at the end. Very long. 37% merlot, 32% cabernet franc and 31% cabernet sauvignon.
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. 2027 - 2057
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.
Drinking Window 2029 - 2046
Deep ruby-purple colour. Intense blue and black fruit with a smoky, rich spices underneath. The palate is muscular and driven, with real vertical power and intense, vibrant blue fruit at the core. There is a lithe juiciness about the fruit, with mineral, savoury depth. Dried herbs, toasted spices and an exotic spices add richness and further power through the mid palate before a long, complex and harmonious finish. This is a wonderfully proportioned, ageworthy Figeac.
37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon. 77% of production. Cask sample.
Gentle, juicy and pure with nothing overdone. Merlot provides the broad-brush sweetness on attack, the Cabernet the fresh, minerally notes on the finish. Fine grain of tannin and aromatic complexity on the nose and palate; the finesse is there. (JL)
Drink 2028 – 2045
(37% M, 32% CF, 31% CS; 77% harvest; 13.9% ABV; 100% new)
Dense, richly blackcurrant-ripe and mineral-saturated, rich, ripe, and fresh to smell; concentrated, vigorous, firmly but finely tannic, a superb balance; a dense, compact, vivid wine, sweet, vital, racy, and mineral, beautifully sustained and carried across a very long palate, and with an aroma and fruit finish that mirrors all that has gone before. Figeac’s roughly one-third-each blend here is a clear Right Bank bonus in the current climate, so here there is Cabernet Franc floral subtlety, Cabernet Sauvignon tension and complexity, and, of course, that core Merlot flesh. This is the third great wine in a magnificent trio, brimming with class, scope, finesse. Great, glorious, beautiful Figeac. Should already be lovely within the decade, and then for three more and beyond. 2030–60+.