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Ric visits Chateau Figeac

September 21, 2016

Right immediately after lunch at Cheval Blanc on 16 September 2016, we moved on to Chateau Figeac which actually abuts the former, showing just how close in proximity the various properties are in relation to one another in the Right Bank. We were met by its director M. Frederic Faye, a most affable gentleman.  dsc_8637dsc_8608Ch Figeac shares a common distinction with Ch Ausone and Ch Cheval Blanc in that they are probably the only properties in Saint Emilion where merlot does not dominate in its blend. In fact, Figeac is planted with 35% cabernet sauvignon (itself already unusual for the Left Bank) and 35% cabernet franc with merlot only taking up 30%. dsc_8659Again, nobody is quite sure how this blend came about for Figeac, but Frederic claims that part of the reason is because there are three outcrops of quartz, flint and blue clay within its 44 ha of vines, with another contributory reason being its gravel soil that goes as deep as 7 metres, making it well suited for cabernet sauvignon, which gives the wine a certain firmness and structure in the great Old World style that has won Figeac legions of followers, compared with many other estates in Saint Emilion which have opted for a more modern style of wine with higher alcohol, ripeness and extraction. It is also precisely because of the higher proportion of cabernet sauvignon that Figeac does not come across so well in its youth, needing considerably longer periods of maturation in bottle before the wine softens and mellows into a classic claret. As at other estates at this time, the grapes are ripening well and, in fact, taste sweet but the skins are still chewy and the pips have yet to become sweet, which would signify that it’s time to pick. Chateau Figeac vinifies its wine in large wooden vats, adding a small amount of pressed wine to the final blend before ageing in new oak.  dsc_86312009 Ch Figeac. Amazing deep and complex bouquet that suggests earth, lime and tangerines with quite a full palate of floral characters and redcurrants. Open, transparent and fresh with crisp acidity and fine supple tannins, displaying great linearity and finishing. Still not quite resolved but this will be a long-lived wine. Excellent. dsc_86122011 Ch Figeac. Attractive aromas of sweet dark currants, blueberries and violets, well replicated on the palate with traces of green elements, earth and green pepper. Medium-full  and rounded with good focus and transparency, well-integrated and more approachable than usual for Figeac at this early stage. dsc_86532012 Petit-Figeac. Nice bouquet of violets, blueberries and dark berries, rounded and approachable now, appreciably with less fat and less complexity than its grand vin but still imbued with fine acidity, tangerines, red and dark fruits with overtones of green pepper that lend a touch of spiciness at the side, just a tad short. Perfect for earlier drinking while its grand vin rests in bottle.dsc_8620

dsc_8667I must thank M. Frederic Faye for his time and generosity and FICOFI as well for organising this visit.dsc_8611

 

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