While a fair share of Bordeaux vineyards can claim significant historical pedigree, few would be able to touch Chateau Figeac - it is one of a select few St Emilion vineyards to have been continuously occupied for over 2,000 years! The estate dates back to the second century when even the ancient Romans who occupied the area were aware of its outstanding terroir.
One figure dominates the Chateau’s modern era, and that is Thierry Manoncourt who ran the property from 1947 until his death in 2010, just shy of his 93rd birthday. Under his leadership, the Chateau was the first major Right Bank estate to embrace modern techniques such as temperature controlled, stainless steel vats.
The traditional-styled Bordeaux has, understandably, gone through a wide range of iterations in its 2,000-plus year history - yet it still manages to surprise and delight. The 2016 earned rave reviews from critics, with Jancis Robinson hailing it as a wine of which “...the Manoncourt family should be very proud.”
"The 2016 Figeac was bottled at the end of July 2018, since Frédéric Faye wanted to give the wine more time in barrel to develop more harmony. The stunning 24-carat bouquet rivets you to the spot with brilliant delineation and mineral-rich red fruit that articulates its terroir as well as any Right Bank you will find. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannin, perfect acidity, wonderfully integrated new oak and enormous depth toward the fresh, pencil-box- and cedar-infused finish. This is a classic Figeac, up there with the 1947 and 1949, both recently re-tasted and testifying to a wine that genuinely belongs among the elite Saint-Émilions. Faye believes it is the best Figeac he has ever made. He is correct. 2023-2060"
100 Points, Vinous
"This is a very linear and driven Figeac with smooth and fine tannins. Full-bodied, yet compact and reserved. Blackberry, chocolate and hazelnut flavors. Direct and structured. A blend of 38 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 36 per cent merlot, and 26 per cent cabernet franc. Better after 2024."
96 Points, JamesSuckling.com
'The 2016 Figeac is simply extraordinary. A wine of pure energy and vitality, the 2016 pulses with a real sense of drive. Lavender, mint, crème de cassis and cedar start to develop in the glass, but what is most remarkable about the 2016 is its total sense of harmony. There is natural tension, a sort of push and pull, between the wine's intense fruit and structural underpinnings that makes the 2016 a marvel to taste and contemplate. It was positively stunning in two separate tastings. Technical Director Frédéric Faye and his team made an epic Figeac in 2016. 2026-2066'
98+ Points, Antonio Galloni
Another brilliant wine from the genius of Frédéric Faye, the 2016 Château Figeac checks in as 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that spent 19 months in new French oak. Roughly 75% of the production made it into the grand vin. This deeply colored beauty is a legendary wine in the making and offers ultra-pure aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, smoke tobacco, dried herbs, chocolate, truffle, and graphite. Showing more violets notes with time in the glass, it builds incrementally on the palate, with flawless balance as well as incredible elegance, no hard edges, and a finish that won't quit. Readers will have a blast comparing the 2016 and 2015 vintages over the coming 3-4 decades and this estate is firing on all cylinders. This will most likely merit a triple-digit rating in 7-8 years and keep for 4 decades or more.
98+ points, JebDunnuck.com (February 2019)
The 2016 Figeac is comprised of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is a little broody and reticent at this very youthful stage, slowly unfolding to reveal profound plum preserves, crème de cassis, black raspberries and star anise with hints of moss-covered bark, truffles and tilled loam plus a waft of red currants and raspberry leaves sparks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is practically quivering with energy, offering glimpses at tightly wound black fruit and mineral/ferrous layers, framed by very firm, ripe tannins and wonderful tension, finishing long with the spices coming through. This will need a good 7-8 years to come round and then should cellar for 40+ years. Very serious, beautifully poised and sophisticated personality this vintage.
97+ points, Wine Advocate (December 2018)
A gutsy, fully endowed wine, brimming with dark currant, warm fig and steeped blackberry notes, as well as waves of smoldering tobacco and warm gravel. Features a serious bass line, but everything works together, while flecks of savory and iron dart in and out.
96 points, Wine Spectator (March 2019)
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.