2020 Bordeaux En Primeur Report – Episode 20 – Figeac

2020 Bordeaux En Primeur Report

Episode 20 – Figeac

2020 Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Émilion

37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon

100% new oak

13.9% alc

40 hL/ha


Harvested between 4th September – 1st October

2020 Figeac is a tour de force.  Every possible variable is considered at this historic estate and the results of the painstaking work, coupled with the innate skill and experience of the team, is evident in this wine.  They employed horses to plough during the heavy rains at the beginning of the year rather than tractors, which would have struggled while also compacting the soil unnecessarily.  Conversely in the summer, they ploughed their cover crops in extremely gently, so as not to kick up dust.  They used judicious green harvesting on younger plots while keeping an extremely close eye on each of their three varieties because they are all essential to make Figeac its own unique proposition.  While this is essentially a gravelly estate, with 4-5m depth in most areas, the blue clay beneath this layer of gravel ensured that there was no undue stress on the vines during the hot summer.  A touch of rain at the beginning of September completed the picture and they harvested at a leisurely pace over four weeks.  Freshness in early picks of Merlot was balanced when the older vines came in and bolstered these notes with extra levels of texture and tannins.  Cabernet Franc was on stunning form in 2020 making up spiciness and glorious aromatic notes of violets and exotic tea leaves.  The Cabernet Sauvignon berries were tiny in 2020 and so extra gentle handling was needed to extract the luxurious fruit notes but no astringency to upset the hard work that the viti-team put in over this testing year.  Figeac works very closely with their coopers to build bespoke woodwork for this estate and Frédéric Faye told me that they have a 35-page instruction document for their barrel-makers so that they are guaranteed the very finest and most suitable barrels imaginable.  The sample I tasted was a ‘finished wine’ with 7% press wine already added and so it was possible for me to see deep into its soul allowing me to fully appreciate the incredible tri-varietal balance achieved here.  This is a highly sophisticated Right Bank wine with hints of Left Bank grandeur and discipline and it is, most definitely, a style of its own.  The Cabernets seem to sandwich the Merlot with Franc providing the aroma, Merlot the heart, and Cabernet Sauvignon the impeccable finish.  This is an astoundingly serious wine with so much detail coupled to so much delicacy and restraint it is incredible.  I find the tannins unique at Figeac, and in 2020, they have never been fitter, nor more resplendent and they will power this wine for decades to come.  While I have not as much experience of this Château as I would like, I can definitely say that this is the finest Figeac I have tasted and it has a spectacular future ahead of it.  19+/20

Scores – I have attached my scores out of 20 for each wine.  If a score has no ‘+’, this indicates a wine that is in balance and can be drunk relatively young thanks to its precocity and charm. One ‘+’ indicates a wine that will benefit from medium-term ageing (in accordance with the style of the wine), while two ‘++’ indicates a wine that should manage to make the long haul, softening and evolving as it goes.