|France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion
One of the great names and terroirs of Saint Emilion whose wines exude class and sophistication rather than raw power. There have been some serious improvements here recently under winemaker Frédéric Faye. Modern techniques such as vibrating sorting tables, de-stemming and an optical laser sorting line are being used, as well as 100% new oak barrels from 7 different coopers. As a consequence, the wines produced now seem a little riper and more polished than before but are still fine, pure and classic. Unusually for the right bank, there is only 30% Merlot in the vineyard with 35% Cabernet Franc and - rare on the right bank - 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. A sizeable part of production is relegated to the second label - Petit Figeac. Stunning wines in recent vintages make Figeac one of the hottest properties in Bordeaux.
The 2020 Figeac is the finest wine that has been bottled to date at this estate since its renaissance began a decade ago. Wafting from the glass with aromas of blackberries and raspberries mingled with cigar wrapper, pencil shavings, licorice and black truffles, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a suave, harmonious profile, vibrant acids, and beautifully refined structuring tannins. This sapid, complex wine represents the essence of this great terroir. Two years after extensive soil studies of the estate were carried out, and the first growing season to see cover crops used in the vineyards year-round, the 2020 benefited from more coherently demarcated parcels and more precise élevage, which taken together help to account for its edge over the excellent 2019. 2030 - 2065
A mesmerizing nose here with flowers such as violets and red roses, then shows cherries and currants with some mineral and black truffles. Full-bodied yet so refined and harmonized with ultra-fine tannins that run the length of the wine. Flavors of perfectly ripened fruit (al dente) with a hazelnut character that comes from the seeds. Incredibly transparent young red. Breathtaking. 37% merlot, 32% cabernet franc and 31% cabernet sauvignon. Drink after 2028 and onwards. Magnificent.
A blend of 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2020 Figeac has a deep garnet-purple color. It is completely shut-down and silent to begin, requiring a vigorous shake to release nuances of boysenberries, Morello cherries, fresh, crunchy plums, and sassafras, followed by an emerging waft of plum preserves, licorice, chargrill, and violets. The medium-bodied palate is so, so tightly knit, delivering a millefeuille of black and red berries, minerals, earth, and floral notes, with electric tension and very fine-grained, exquisitely ripe tannins, finishing long, long, long. Atomic!
The 2020 Figeac was bottled in mid-July. It has an exquisite bouquet that unfolds effortlessly in the glass with blackberry, crushed stone, graphite and fresh fig scents. It blossoms with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly edgy tannins on the entry that frame the pure black fruit. It's very harmonious and silky smooth in texture that almost disguises what Frédéric Faye terms the "verticality" of the wine. Fresh and saline on the finish with just a light black pepper touch on the aftertaste. An absolute treat. Drink 2030-2065.
Tasted blind at the Southwold Group tasting. Deep colour. Seductive and sweet spice on the nose, bolstered by black fruit with a distinctly Cabernet-edge. Pure and focused with youthful but not exuberant fruit on the palate. This has a chalky and precise structure. This clearly needs time, it is beautifully delineated but unwinding only very slowly in the glass. Very long, expanding with air. A wine with great promise.
The first vintage that can have the new Premier Grand Cru Classé A on the label, and it's a confident showing straight out of the gate. Barely puts a foot wrong as the concentrated nature of this wine En Primeur begin to melt into a creamier expression of raspberry, blackberry and cassis fruits, studded with turmeric, cardamon, white pepper, peony, tobacco leaf, pomegranate, liqourice and smoked earth. 75% of the production in the 1st wine, harvest a long and leisurely five weeks from September 4 to October 1. 37hl/ha. An upscore.
Deep ruby-purple colour. Intense blue and black fruit with a smoky, rich spices underneath. The palate is muscular and driven, with real vertical power and intense, vibrant blue fruit at the core. There is a lithe juiciness about the fruit, with mineral, savoury depth. Dried herbs, toasted spices and an exotic spices add richness and further power through the mid palate before a long, complex and harmonious finish. This is a wonderfully proportioned, ageworthy Figeac.
37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon. 77% of production. Cask sample.
Gentle, juicy and pure with nothing overdone. Merlot provides the broad-brush sweetness on attack, the Cabernet the fresh, minerally notes on the finish. Fine grain of tannin and aromatic complexity on the nose and palate; the finesse is there. (JL)
Drink 2028 – 2045
(37% M, 32% CF, 31% CS; 77% harvest; 13.9% ABV; 100% new)
Dense, richly blackcurrant-ripe and mineral-saturated, rich, ripe, and fresh to smell; concentrated, vigorous, firmly but finely tannic, a superb balance; a dense, compact, vivid wine, sweet, vital, racy, and mineral, beautifully sustained and carried across a very long palate, and with an aroma and fruit finish that mirrors all that has gone before. Figeac’s roughly one-third-each blend here is a clear Right Bank bonus in the current climate, so here there is Cabernet Franc floral subtlety, Cabernet Sauvignon tension and complexity, and, of course, that core Merlot flesh. This is the third great wine in a magnificent trio, brimming with class, scope, finesse. Great, glorious, beautiful Figeac. Should already be lovely within the decade, and then for three more and beyond. 2030–60+.
The 2020 Figeac was picked from September 4 to October 1 and underwent vinification free of SO2. Deep purple in color, it is initially backward and sultry on the nose, necessitating 60 minutes before it really opens. It then reveals intense scents of cranberry, raspberry and touches of cassis intermingling with white pepper. Given that the Cabernets comprise 63% of the blend, this has a typical Left Bank personality but with Right Bank precocity. The palate conveys a sense of vibrancy and vigor on the entry, a dash of black pepper and allspice mingling with the mélange of red and black fruit. The tannins are satin-like in texture, and there’s dark berry fruit and hints of pencil lead and black truffle shavings toward the Pomerol-like finish. This is a magnificent Figeac from head winemaker Frédéric Faye and his team. This sample really came into its own 2–3 hours after opening. 2030 - 2065
This is a really sophisticated young wine with tobacco, crushed stone, currants and dark chocolate on the nose, following through to a medium to full body with intense yet linear tannins and a spicy, fresh finish. Some cloves and black pepper. Graphite at the end. Very long. 37% merlot, 32% cabernet franc and 31% cabernet sauvignon.
The 2020 Figeac is a blend of 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, weighing in with an alcohol of 13.9% and a pH of 3.7. Opaque purple-black colored, it bursts from the glass with a beautifully vibrant initial wave of pure, pristine black fruits: fresh black cherries, juicy black plums and ripe blackcurrants. With swirling, a whole array of floral and spice notes is unleashed: lavender, ground cloves, cumin seed, cardamom and rose oil. The medium-bodied palate is surprisingly graceful for the intensity of aromas, featuring ethereal, perfumed black berry notes, framed by a seamless line of freshness and ripe, grainy tannins, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note. Far more cerebral and quietly introspective than it is hedonic, this could only be Figeac. 2027 - 2057
This delivers concentration and intensity, a ton of black fruits, definitely Cabernet dominant in terms of fruit, and its slightly serious character, with a whoosh of juice on the finish. An extremely elegant and controlled wine, with savoury bilberry and loganberry, then peony and tobacco leaf as it opens. Tannins are finely layered but there are a lot of them. Not an exuberant Figeac, but this is rarely a wine that rushes out to seduce, it takes its time and has ageing potential in spades. The gravel soils in the drought of the summer meant the grapes slowed their ripening process, although only the youngest vines suffered blockages, and that combined with the high Cabernet content of Figeac means lower alcohols than the past few years, giving a classic balance and a feeling of effortless success. 75% of the production went into the first wine. Harvest September 4 to October 1, a full five weeks. Their final yield here was around 37hl/ha, (higher than in 2019 at Figeac, which was 34hl/ha). As with on the Left Bank, the Cabernet Sauvignons were the lowest yield (30hl/ha), with tiny berries so had to be careful with the extraction. First vintage in the new cellars.
Drinking Window 2029 - 2046