Big ambitions

Big ambitions
Figeac’s current run of form must rank alongside any period in its exceptionally long history. The past four vintages have been staggeringly good, each leaving the entire Justerinis team grasping for superlatives. When we were there in January we saw the enormous hole in the ground that will someday rise into a magnificent, state of the art winery. Frederic Faye and his team have big ambitions, and they almost certainly have an eye on the forthcoming St Emilion classification (2022). Figeac along with Canon must be in pole position for an upgrade to Premier Grand Cru Classe ‘A’ – their inclusion in the ‘A’ club alongside Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angelus and Pavie would be entirely justified. Returning to January, we re-tasted the outstanding 2016. It was a joy: complex, ethereal, gently powerful. Fast forward to April and we were back with the 2018 in our glasses. If anything this is even more impressive. It is one of the stand out wines of the Right Bank, a wine of extraordinary purity, stupendous complexity and beautiful detail. Figeac is a unique style produced from a unique right bank terroir; a most distinctive wine that on current form is one of the most exciting and energising wines being made in Bordeaux. On this evidence, it is more than deserving of promotion.

“The 2018 Figeac is composed of 37% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc, harvested September 17 to October 12 with a 3.7 pH and 14% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it charges out of the gate with vivacious black and red cherries, cassis, warm plums and wild blueberries scents plus fragrant hints of violets, star anise, tilled soil and forest floor with wafts of Ceylon tea and chocolate box. Full-bodied and jam-packed with energetic, crunchy black and blue fruits, it has a rock-solid, firm, grainy frame and loads of bright, refreshing sparks lifting the dense layers on the very long, savory finish. Wow—the Cabernet really makes itself known this vintage, and it is good. The signature of this wine is so clear, so defined, that this is a Bordeaux wine without peers. In my view, this is the finest Figeac ever produced. 97-99/100”. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“The 2018 Figeac is simply magnificent. A regal, soaring wine with tremendous vertical lift and nuance, the 2018 is marvelously complete from the very first taste. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Medium in body and refined, the 2018 is vibrant, with fine tannins and, frankly, quite a bit more freshness than I expected to see given the very dry, sunny summer. Rose petal, mint, lavender and spice add nuance to a core of red/purplish fruit. Harvest started on September 17 and finished on October 12. Yields were 39 hectoliters per hectare, just shy of the historical average of 42/32. While mildew pressure was an issue, it was the dry October winds and their dehydrating effect on the last Cabernets that impacted yields most. Like so many of his colleagues, Technical Director Frederic Faye and his team opted for gentler vinifications with no SO2 at crush, lower temperatures in fermentation and smaller pumpovers. The 2018 Figeac is brilliant. That's all there is to it. The blend is 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times. 96-99/100”. - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com

Over the road and into Pomerol we have the sumptuous and rather luxurious Chateau La Conseillante. Marielle Cazeaux has honed the style here, creating wines with an haute couture feel. The 2018 is plush and ripe with beautiful, velour textured tannins.

“The 2018 La Conseillante is a blend of 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc, with a 3.65 pH and 14% alcohol. Yields were 32 hectoliters per hectare; Merlot was harvested September 19 to October 1, and Cabernet Franc was harvested on October 4. Very deep purple-black colored, it comes charging out of the gate with energetic notes of wild blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries and warm black plums plus hints of lilacs, damp soil, cardamom and cloves with gentle wafts of cast iron pan and fragrant earth. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with elegant black fruit and earthy layers, framed by soft, velvety tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and mineral laced. 96-98+/100”. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“The 2018 La Conseillante is magnificent. A wine of real vertical lift and explosiveness, the 2018 is distinguished by its spine of energy, freshness and purity of fruit. Inky blue/purplish berry fruit, mocha, lavender spice and mint develop in the glass, but it is the wine's overall sense of harmony that truly stands out. The 2018 showed tremendous vibrancy and vitality, with superb mid-palate richness and phenomenal balance all three times I tasted it. It is without question one of the wines of the vintage. The blend is 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc. This is the first vintage that includes a touch of wine aged in amphora, just 3%. Don't miss it! 95-98/100”. - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com