Wine Words & Video Tape

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Bordeaux 2014: Château Figeac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_6803Château Figeac is bold and aromatic in 2014. The vintage has undoubtedly played to the strengths of the Cabernet dominant blend here [60% Cabernets] and while there is the usual finesse and poise at Figeac, there is fascinating texture too in 2014. It is undoubtedly the finest wine the property has produced since the terrific 2009 and 2010 combo. The vintage marks the second year here for consultant Michel Rolland. There has been some tinkering in the cellar but you don’t sense any undue influence from Bordeaux’s most famous and controversial figure, perhaps other than to further pronounce what is already there.

After an early budbreak and successful flowering period, the grey summer slowed grape maturation at Figeac [especially on the Merlot]. This necessitated much vineyard work and the decision was taken to remove the second bunches to increase the opportunity of the existing fruit [first bunches] to reach maturity. The dry and hot weather in September not only allowed for the proper final ripening, but the heat, wind and resultant evaporation led to a ten percent reduction in volume, concentrating the grapes.

Harvest began at the end of September and the property reports that the fruit was healthy and of even maturity. Merlot came in between September 29 – 3 October, Cabernet Franc between 7-11 October and Cabernet Sauvignon between 3-12 October. Given the aromatic potential and ripeness of the fruit, the pre-fermentation cold soak was extended to six days in 2014. Perhaps here we see the role of consultant Michel Rolland, and the results of this appear in the bold colour and attractive aromatic profile of the nascent wine, giving the characteristics of the vintage a little more volume and expression.

2014 is undoubtedly a very successful vintage for Figeac which sits on gravel mounds neighbouring Château Cheval Blanc, close to the border with Pomerol. The soil type explains the vineyard mix of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, usually in roughly equal proportions in the blend [though 2014 is slightly different at 40% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc and 32% Merlot]. There is plenty of freshness to the wine here in 2014, the harmony and balance are excellent, the fruit is creamy and the tannins are extremely fine. As I said at the top, this is the most exciting Figeac since 09/10.

The wines were tasted at the property on Wednesday, 1 April, 2015.

Petit-Figeac, St Emilion

Deep colour; vibrant edge; purple; cool blackcurrant fruit; pretty; very attractive now; fruit and spices; some black cherry and raspberry tones; extract on the palate; nicely poised; good acidity; freshness; mineral tones and positive finish. Proportional too. [50% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 35% new oak, 12-14 months max]. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90

Château Figeac, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Lovely fresh looking colour; bold; very pure; lovely blackcurrant aromatics; beautiful perfume; layered; quite exceptional; cool entry; nicely proportional; plenty of extract and matter but nicely polished; will flesh out further; intriguing wine; excellent balance; supple tannins on the finish. Excellent Figeac. Very impressive. [40% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% new oak pH 3.7, 13% alc, yield 33hl/ha]. Drink 2020-2035. 93-95

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