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Bordeaux 2019: Château Figeac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Frédéric Faye thinks he has made the best Château Figeac yet in 2019. This is partly because a significant parcel of newly replanted vineyards have just come on stream, now making it into the blend, wine from a plot on enviable terroir that borders neighbour Cheval Blanc. Together with other developments in the vineyard, and also in the cellar, for example increasingly plot by plot vinifications [even intra plot ferments], these collectively have added even greater precision to the wine. This, allied to the 2019 growing season – very dry and sunny but with just the right amount of moisture at the right time – had led to what Faye describes as “200% Figeac.” It is certainly a super impressive 2019. It is polished and pure with super precision, fine extract and the most Rolls-Royce of tannins.

The 2019 vintage at Château Figeac was not without its worries. A warm winter, was followed by cold spells in mid-April and early May, which had the vineyard crew out in the vineyard maintaining vigilance against possible frost. Flowering was OK but pollination was only partial on some Merlot leading to a slightly smaller crop than usual. By this point the growing season had, literally, blown a bit hot and cold. Then, as elsewhere, from mid-June until mid-September saw wonderfully dry and sunny conditions, interspersed with vital periods of rain, perhaps most usefully in late July which kick-started veraison, and then again in September which helped with the final ripening of the tannins, especially for the Cabernets [so significant to this property]. The harvest took place over a month, with the Merlot first picked from 13 September, and then from the 19th September with the Cabs. The harvest finished on 7 October. The result is remarkable. Figeac, always something of a personal favourite, has surely made one of the very top wines of St Emilion.

The following notes were taken from a full bottle sample sent to the UK. It was tasted in good conditions soon after arrival.

Château Figeac, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Opaque at centre; colour tight to the edge; legs; earthy purple at edge; reveals a focused seam of creamy blackcurrant fruit; super polished and suave; classic feel to the wine; initially a little tight on the palate with lovely purity; expect this to open out; has real balance and sap; tannins refined and polished; not at all dry on the end. Later the cool Cab fruit tones opened up with aeration – real intensity but the fruit is really ripe. Graphite, blackcurrants; cassis; lovely stuff; lovely balance and melted tannins; lovely purity and precision but very drinkable too. [36% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, 30% Merlot, pH 3.7, 14.1% alc, 100% new oak]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2050. 96-100+

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