The new regime at Figeac has made huge strides in driving the quality of this famous estate even higher. The uniquely deep gravel soils make this the perfect terroir for Cabernet Sauvignon, hence the 44% in the finished blend this year. A fine balance between exuberant spiced dark fruits and a fresh sturdiness. Concentrated and long, there is a hint of Médoc masculinity to this wine and yet it finishes very fine indeed. Huge potential.
The Château Figeac 2014 is a blend of 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot picked from 29 September and 12 October. It is matured in 100% new oak from six different coopers, the alcohol level 13% with a pH 3.7. I tasted the wine twice at the property and once more at a négoçiant. The first time, it did not quite possess the precision on the finish that I was looking for, whilst the oak felt too prominent and blurred away that distinctive Figeac character. The 2nd and 3rd samples tasted one week later showed much better. Superb delineation on the nose, the oak here nicely integrated and allowing the Figeac character to be expressed, lifted red cherries and fresh strawberry dallying with cold stone and undergrowth scents, a touch of graphite courtesy of the Cabernets. The palate is medium-bodied with typical Figeac traits of cedar and undergrowth coming through with aeration, joined by blackberry and boysenberry. The finish here displayed more precision. Yes, just a little reserved and austere but the Cabernet is on song and imparting a structured finish. There are scurrilous rumours that the Figeac style is being forsaken. On the contrary, under winemaker Frédéric Faye and the Manoncourt family, it is retained and enhanced.
Two thirds of the crop. 40% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% new barrels. Deep crimson. Quite opulent nose. Much more intense and opulent on the palate. Round and gentle tannins. Much more obviously charming at this stage than the old Figeac. Tannins almost imperceptible. Quite savoury on the finish. Lively. Certainly much more Figeac than ‘Rolland stereotype’. 13% Drink 2024-2040
Sleek and tight, with layers of well-focused boysenberry, cherry and cassis fruit, backed by a long, iron-edged finish. There's a whiff of tobacco in the background, too. Seriously grounded in terroir, this may take some time to unwind fully.
A beautiful Figeac with stones, oyster shells, chalk and fruits. Full-bodied and compacted with ultra-fine tannins. This is compressed and compacted with a wonderful style. The 32% cabernet sauvignon should give a unique structure here. More structured than the 2012.
A big, ample wine, the 2014 Figeac is bold and intense to the core. Black cherry, plum, smoke, new oak and licorice flesh out in a beautifully layered, resonant wine endowed with superb richness and power. The style is both modern and classic, with bold fruit and plenty of supporting structure. Mint, lavender, violets and cloves wrap around the powerful, structured finish. My sense is that the 2014 is going to require considerable cellaring. Today it is inward, tightly wound and massively tannic, with a level of explosive energy that should allow it to develop beautifully in the cellar. The blend is 40% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Cabernet Franc.
40% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc. Stylistically still finding its way. Dark fruit nuance. Mid-palate fuller and rounder than in the past but with a firm tannic line behind. 100% new oak fully absorbed. Only 13% alcohol. Needs time. Drink: 2022-2035
When this château employed Michel Rolland, allegedly in the search for higher scores, some people feared the worst. But they (and I) were wrong, because this is a fantastic 2014. Rich, plush and densely oaked, but with mineral, lead pencil-etched freshness, fine tannins and a real sense of purpose and precision. Drink: 2022-35
Château Figeac has had a chequered history. In the 19th century, its owner went bankrupt and it wasbroken up into various parts - some attaching themselves to Beauregard and La Conseillante.Another part became La Tour Figeac, which was later divided again creating La Tour du Pin Figeac.Luckily, 40 hectares of this once vast estate were able to cling together forming the parameters of one of St Emilion's most recognisable châteaux. Figeac is known to be almost Médoc-like with itssavoury and pensive character.
South of Pomerol lies the medieval, perched village of St Emilion. Surrounding St Emilion are vines that produce round, rich and often hedonistic wines. Despite a myriad of soil types, two main ones dominate - the gravelly, limestone slopes that delve down to the valley from the plateau and the valley itself which is comprised of limestone, gravel, clay and sand. Despite St Emilion's popularity today, it was not until the 1980s to early 1990s that attention was brought to this region. Robert Parker, the famous wine critic, began reviewing their Merlot-dominated wines and giving them hefty scores. The rest is history as they say. Similar to the Médoc, there is a classification system in place which dates from 1955 and outlines several levels of quality. These include its regional appellation of St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, which is further divided into "A" (Ausone and Cheval Blanc) and "B" (including Angélus, Canon, Figeac and a handful of others). To ensure better accuracy, the classification is redone every 10 years enabling certain châteaux to be upgraded or downgraded depending on on the quality of their more recent vintages.