2023 Château Figeac, St Emilion, Bordeaux

2023 Château Figeac, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 20231009769
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2023 Château Figeac, St Emilion, Bordeaux

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Blend: 41% Merlot; 32% Cabernet Franc; 27% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2023 vintage is the Manoncourt family’s 130th, and they have marked the occasion with a truly stunning wine. This was one of the longest harvests ever here, with the fruit picked in two distinct phases (Merlot from 6th-15th September; Cabernets from 27th September-5th October). The wine is immediately very open and wonderfully fragrant, with notes of macerated strawberries, blackcurrant and floral elements. The palate is beautifully textured, with masses of concentration. An underlying salinity gives balance. This is a sensational effort.

Drink 2032 - 2055

Our score: 18/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson98/100

130mm of rain lower than average over the growing season here, allowing a long slow harvest from September 6 to October 5, 45hl/h yield.

Fragrant floral aromatics straight off the bat, peony and violet, and a vibrant juiciness that travels through the palate. Savoury dark fruit character, with flint and textural interest, full of Figeac finesse. 130th vintage of the Manoncourt family at Figeac, and the first vintage where they knew they were Premier Grand Cru Classé A from the start of the season, as it was announced in September 2022.

Drink 2032 - 2050

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous96-98/100

The 2023 Figeac was cropped at 45hL/ha from September 6 until October 5, one of the longest harvest periods ever. It matured in 100% new oak, as usual. My samples included the 5% vin de presse.

This has a very perfumed bouquet: red fruit rather than black, iris flower rather than violet, light sous-bois and tobacco scents deriving from the Cabernets. The palate is medium-bodied, and the Cabernets really "sing" on the entry. Black fruit mixes with graphite and light tobacco notes, surging with fresh acidity and real brightness, or what the French call éclat. There’s gentle grip here—classic Figeac from start to finish, with a subtle marine influence toward the close. This will be a wonderful Saint-Émilion that ranks amongst the best wines of the vintage. Chapeau!

Drink 2030 - 2065

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous95-98/100

The 2023 Figeac is gorgeous. Seamless and vibrant, with captivating elegance, this is an absolute beauty. What I admire most is its exceptional balance. Everything is in the right place. Time in the glass brings out hints of gravel, dried herbs, licorice, tobacco and cedar that add dimension. Although it is early, Figeac is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage.

Drink 2033 - 2073

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW96-98/100

A blend of 41% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2023 Figeac has a pH of 3.68 and it is deep garnet-purple in colour. It prances out of the glass with out-going scents of black raspberries and fresh blackcurrants, opening out to reveal an undercurrent of pencil shavings, rose bud tea, iron ore, and wood smoke. The medium-bodied palate delivers a rock-solid structure of firm, grainy tannins and beautiful tension supporting the taut, muscular black fruits, finishing with a long-lingering mineral firework display.

Drink 2029 - 2050

Lisa Perroti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20

41% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cask sample.

A typical Figeac with sweetness and freshness combined. Cabernet-dominated on the nose, the expression pure and persistent. Palate sweet, round and full but structured. Finishes on a fresh, stony note.

Drink 2032 - 2048

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate96-98/100

It's a blend of 41% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon that attained 13.5% alcohol.

A brilliant classic in the making, the 2023 Figeac unwinds in the glass with aromas of cassis and mulberry mingled with notions of iris, cigar wrapper, pencil shavings, burning embers and spices. Medium to full-bodied, rich and layered, it's deep and concentrated, with an enveloping core of fruit that's framed by powdery tannins and lively acids, concluding with a broad, atypically mineral finish.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling97-98/100

41% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The density and finesse to this is terrific, offering blackberry, dark chocolate, walnut and hazelnut, as well as currant and sandalwood. Orange peel, too. Full-bodied and compact with a superb core of thick, velvet-textured tannins and a juicy finish. Extremely long.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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High-toned aromatics, purple fruit, blackcurrant, wet stones and minerality on the nose, really quite scented and alive, floral, purple flowers, and ripe black fruit with freshness too. Supple and succulent, a good plushness here, not chalky or chewy but ripe and cool at the same time. Hints of dark chocolate, liquorice, blueberry and wet stone also gives the mineral accents.

Silky but this wine has an amazing texture. Cool and classic, but there’s clear ripeness too. Almost thick, but refined. High acidity, great lift and zing - tannins are present and apparent, gently expanding around the mouth. It’s more serious than usual, a touch more firm with tension but equally it's structured with a long, mouthwatering finish. This will be lovely!

Drink 2030 - 2050

Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck94-97/100

The 2023 Château Figeac is Merlot-dominated but includes 32% Cabernet Franc and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the élevage all in new French oak.

Classic Figeac purple fruits, tobacco, leafy herbs, violets, and graphite all emerge on the nose, and it hits the palate with medium to full body, a remarkable sense of purity and precision, fine-grained tannins, and a gorgeous finish. Hitting 13.5% alcohol and a pH of 3.68, it's a beautiful wine in the vintage that shows the absolute class of this château today.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Château Figeac

Château Figeac

Château Figeac is one of the leading St. Emilion estates and its wine, with its high Cabernet content, has often been described as the most Médoc-like in St-Emilion. The estate is located in the north-west of the appellation with its vineyards adjoining those of Cheval Blanc. Its 54 hectares of vineyards lie on a deep, Médoc-like gravel topsoil over a flinty, iron-rich subsoil. Figeac was promoted in 2022 to the level of Premier Grand Cru Classé A, the top tier of the St Emilion classification.

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St Émilion

St Émilion

St Émilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Émilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Émilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Émilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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