Château Figeac, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2018

  Château Figeac

Frederic Faye was in an ebullient mood when we met in the makeshift tasting room at Figeac. He described the 2018 as a 'symphonie fantastique'. This could be said of any of the last few vintages of Figeac - this is a chateau back on top form. Figeac is quite unique in terms of its topography, terroir and cépage. The blend this year is 37% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is in part this diversity that gives the full orchestra effect. Frederic coined it a 'vintage of decision', it wasn't a year for procrastinators. Big decisions needed to be taken at key moments. Although conditions were perfect during harvest, pick dates were critical. In the winery they chose gentle macerations with no delestage or pigeage. No sulphates were used during the vinifications. And at blending, it required seven sessions to nail down the final assemblage. The result is spectacular. Initially one is hit by glorious aromas of flowers, crème de menthe, pure cassis, graphite and fine thyme. The texture is so fine and laced with delicate nuances; silky, juicy and pure. Waves of fruit flow over the palate - there is something sumptuous and kaleidoscopic about the fruit, yet there is a real authority and precision. The symphony all reaches a crescendo as the tannins gently grip the palate, staining the taste buds with pure crème de cassis and salty minerals. Encore!

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Figeac

Situated just to the west of Cheval Blanc close to the Pomerol boarder, Figeac has a Medoc-like gravelly terroir that is best suited to the Cabernet varietals. The wines are unique and can be excellent, however, recent release prices have been expensive. Back vintages (pre 2009) are worth looking out for.

Appellation: St Emilion

St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.

Grape Blend: Merlot | Cab. Sauvignon | Cab. Franc

Three of the classic Bordeaux varieties. A relatively rare blend for the right bank, where Cabernet Sauvignon plays a greater role than Cabernet Franc (Figeac being one of the few examples), while on the left bank this is most likely to crop up in the communes with cooler, damper soils such as St Estèphe.