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CHÂTEAU FIGEAC

2013 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Saint Emilion & Satellites
Village Saint Emilion
Classification 1er Grand Cru Classé

There was a lot of talk about Figeac this year, new regime here, still Manoncourt-owned but there has been a putsch as far as the management is concerned. As usual the high Cabernet Sauvignon content on their gravel soils (which are rare at the top end of the Saint Emilion classification) make it hard to judge amongst its peers. Attractively dry, it still seems a little blocky, and although harmonious one can for the moment see this being fine but not amazing. Rating: 89-90 L&S (Apr 2014)

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The final blend, from yields of 36 hectoliters per hectare, is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. With an average alcohol of 13%, the wine is outstanding and probably, for me, the best Figeac in many a year - even though it is from a difficult vintage. A tribute to not only Madame Manoncourt, but to Jean-Valmy Nicolas and Michel Rolland. The wine is a dense ruby/purple with a beautiful nose of creme de cassis, cedar wood and a touch of tobacco leaf. The wine is medium-bodied and has opulence on the attack, after which tannins kick in. This exhibits good purity and far more texture and depth than about any recent Figeac has possessed. A wine that was over-cropped, picked underripe and simply a major underperformer for such a great terroir. It should drink well for 10-15 years. With 100-plus acres, Figeac is St.-Emilion-s largest single vineyard and is situated on an outcropping of graves, hence the decision decades ago to plant a good bit of Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortunately, Madame Manoncourt, who took control of the family estate after her husband died, has had the foresight to bring in Jean-Valmy Nicolas of La Conseillante and also hire Michel Rolland to look after the wine. For the first full vintage, he-s had to work with this 2013, and while some people in Bordeaux thought this was the wine of the vintage, I-m not prepared to go that far. It certainly is a huge improvement (and keep in mind the raw materials had to be far less impressive than, for example, what would have been available in 2009 or 2010). 2014-2029 Rating: 89-91 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(Aug 2014)

Deep red-ruby. Aromas of black cherry, smoke, chocolate mint and underbrush show a caramel nuance; gained sweetness and focus with aeration. Juicy, floral dark fruit and licorice flavors show moderate hang time on the back end, which features dusty tannins and a repeating floral quality. Rating: 87-90 Ian d'Agata - Stephen Tanzer website(May 2014)

The nose has depth of fruit yet lots of oak and the palate starts with fleshiness and sweetness. The mid palate has some red fruits slightly fresher and lighter but the ripe fruit is there at the back giving flesh on the finish. 2017-2028. Rating: 89-92 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk(May 2014)

The arrival of a new winemaking team at Figeac (including Michel Rolland) has been controversial, especially for those who loved the “old” ways. This is an oakier, more modern wine than its predecessors, but it’s extremely well made, with fine tannins, more noticeable Cabernet Sauvignon and a savoury flourish. Promising. 2018-26 Rating: 92 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(May 2014)

Heady and spicy with some odd vegetal notes like celery salt and chicory! A little too hard and tannic and the oak is absurd. There must have been some fruit in there once. Rating: 16+ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com(Apr 2014)

Vin large et séveux, beaucoup d’ampleur en finale, tannin racé, excellentes promesses. Rating: 17 TAST, Bettane & Desseauve(Apr 2014)

Well-formed blackcurrant fruit, slight spiciness – there’s some nice oak here. The tannins protrude from the structure though, in a way that interferes with the drinkability. (RH) Drink 2020-2026. Rating: 16 Richard Hemming MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2014)

First vintage with Michel Rolland as consultant. Lovely blueberry aromas and Cabernet notes. Palate smooth and persistent. Has freshness and length. Drink: 2019-2035. Rating: 17.25 James Lawther MW, decanter.com(Apr 2014)

This delivers a very solid core of plum, cassis and blackberry fruit, with polished edges and a good underpinning of iron and violet notes through the finish. Long and solidly built without overreaching. One of the top surprises of the vintage. Rating: 91–94 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2014)

Picked between 1 and 15 October, it is a blend of 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, a high percentage of the latter, which might surprise a few naysayers. Cropped at 36hl/ha, the Figeac 2013 is being matured in 100% new oak. The bouquet is clean and fresh, the Cabernet offering a touch of fresh mint to the dark berry fruit, the oak nicely assimilated. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins. There is clearly a fine bead of acidity; a harmonious and silky smooth Figeac with shimmering black fruit seguing into an understated charming finish. I have read a lot about Michel Rolland supposedly creating a blockbuster wine when in fact the truth is that Frederic Faye, with Michel as consultant, has created a classic Figeac that will give great pleasure over the next 15 to 20 years. Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com(Apr 2014)

A balanced, silky wine for the vintage, with mineral, currant, licorice and light spice. Medium body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. I like the hints of sweet tobacco, too. Very different blend: 50% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 20% cabernet franc; in a normal year, it’s one third of each. Rating: 90-91 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Apr 2014)

Château Figeac

Figeac is a very ancient estate dating from the Gallo-Roman period. Its origins go back to at least the 2nd century, at which time it belonged to the Figeacus family, who gave their name to the “villa” located on this site. Château Figeac has been in the family of the present owner since 1892. Thierry Manoncourt, later assisted by his wife, Marie–France, took great pains to renovate the vineyards in order to bring Figeac up to the level of the very greatest Bordeaux. Today, his daughter Laure and his son-in-law Count Eric d’Aramon have joined them in managing the estate, and perpetuating the family tradition. Figeac is located in the “Graves de Saint Emilion”. It has an unusual topography and outstanding terroir consisting of three gravelly outcrops. This explains why Figeac is the right bank wine chateau with the highest proportion of Cabernet grapes. It is a great but atypical wine, often called “the most Médoc of Saint Emilion wines”.

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