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 2017 Figeac is magnificent. Beautifully layered and exquisite in the glass, the 2017 possesses remarkable balance and harmony from the very first taste. An utterly beguiling, captivating wine, the 2017 simply has it all. Bright, red-toned fruit, mint, spice, lavender and rose petal overtones flesh out in the glass, but above all else, Figeac is a wine of total harmony. The Grand Vin includes 10% second generation fruit. Even so, production is down around 50%."
94-97 points, Antonio Galloni
"The 2017 Figeac is composed of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Very deep garnet-purple in colour, the nose sings of Cabernet Sauvignon—bright crushed black currants, blackberries and wild blueberries with wafts of lilacs, pencil shavings, tobacco, tilled earth plus a hint of bay leaves. The medium-bodied mouth is fine, elegant, minerally and incredibly vivacious with tons of energy. Bright and refreshing with firm, grainy tannins and a provocative hint of chew, it finishes with great length. This should age wonderfully. 100% new oak was used for this sample and it is very well-integrated."
94-96 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
"They are hard at work on a new cellar here, which will be ready for the 2019 vintage. 43% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. pH 3.66. 10% of the wine is from secondary buds but the selection was all done by blind tasting. Yield 22 hl/ha. Half the normal harvest. No pigeage, just kept the cap wet. 100% new oak.
Deep cherry red with lots of purple. Lifted and fragrant. Finely and intensely scented. This is very fine: pure and precise, some red fruit on the palate. Succulent, juicy, scented on the palate too. Silky, charming, mouth-watering. So succulent, so precise, unforced. 13.5% Drink 2025-2040"
18.5 points, Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com
"The 2017 Figeac was picked from 7 September to 3 October at 22hl/ha (average across frosted and non-frosted parcels) with 13.5° alcohol. It has a deep purple hue. The bouquet is very well defined, quite strict at first with well-behaved blackberry, raspberry, pressed rose petals and just a touch of violet. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine backbone, fresh in the mouth with a sense of energy, quite precise and linear with a pinch of spice towards the finish, a little graphite lingering on the aftertaste. This is unapologetically classic in style and whilst it might be overshadowed by the sensational 2015 and 2016 Figeac, this is an impressive follow-up to that might pair that has really put Figeac back on the map."
93-95 points, Neal Martin
"This is a dense and layered red with blackberries, blueberries and hints of hazelnuts. Full-bodied, very tight and focused. Impressive young tannins. Velvety texture. Very pretty to taste. Juicy and delicious. 43% merlot, 47% cabernet sauvignon and 10% cabernet franc. Less franc than normal due to the frost."
95-96 points, James Suckling
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.