|Saint Emilion & Satellites
|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)
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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