Chateau Figeac St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Figeac Chateau Chateau Figeac St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Learn everything about Chateau Figeac St. Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classe B, Bordeaux with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn all the best vintages, a history of the property and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Figeac History, Overview

Chateau Figeac is not an old Bordeaux vineyard. Figeac is an ancient Bordeaux vineyard! In fact, the genesis of the estate can be dated as far back as the second century during the ancient Gallo-Roman period. At that time, the owner of the property, Figeacus gave his name to the villa he built on the same location. Even the ancient Romans knew Figeac had great terroir. Figeac is one of the few St. Emilion wine vineyards that has remained continually occupied for the past two thousand years.

If you’re visiting Chateau Figeac, you can easily see a water supply system that dates back to the days of the ancient Romans. There are also remains of building foundations, ruins from the Middle Ages and even defensive walls along with the remnants of the original Renaissance chateau at Figeac. The Renaissance styling’s are easily noted in the famous door and the tower. The genesis of the chateau was built in 1586 by Raymond de Cazes. The current chateau was constructed in 1780.

In 1661, though marriage, the estate passed to the Carles family was renamed Chateau Carle Figeac. By the late 18th century, Chateau Figeac had already been owned by descendants of the de Cazes family for almost five centuries! By that time the St. Emilion vineyards of Figeac had grown to a massive 200 hectares. Much of the growth came from a major expansion headed by Elie de Carle before the French Revolution. Elie de Carle also owned what we know of as Chateau Clos Fourtet as well. At 200 hectares, Figeac was one of the largest Bordeaux vineyards in the entire appellation. That is not the case today.

Over the years, numerous owners have bought and sold different parcels and plots. This is the explanation as to why so many different chateaux in the region have Figeac in their name. The vineyards of Figeac were sold over a long period of time during the early 17th century and beyond, which led to the creation of several other Saint Emilion estates. Portions of the land were also purchased by neighboring Pomerol produces like Chateau La Conseillante. One of the largest sections of Figeac was sold to the Ducasse family who used the land for Chateau Cheval Blanc.

By the time Figeac was purchased by the Chevremont family, the precursors to the Manoncourt family in 1892, the 200 hectare vineyard was now only 37 hectares of vines. Thierry Manoncourt took over managing the property starting in 1946. His first year at the estate was on a trial basis.

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Chateau Figeac The Modern Age

In 1947, he took control of the property and never looked back. Born in Paris, Thierry Manoncourt earned a degree in agronomy. He was one of the founders of the Bordeaux Grand Crus Union. He was president of the Jurade of St. Emilion from 1964 to 1987. Thierry Manoncourt was as traditional as he was innovative. When he completely renovated the cellars and wine making facilities.

Thierry Manoncourt made the then bold move of having Figeac be the first major estate in the Right Bank to use temperature controlled, stainless steel vats in the fermentation room. This took place in 1971. It was also the idea of Thierry Manoncourt to have Chateau Figeac the first important estate in the Right Bank to produce a second wine.

Thierry Manoncourt passed away Friday, August 27 at his beloved Chateau Figeac, located in St. Emilion. One of the last of the old guard, he was only a few days shy of his 93rd birthday. Funeral services were held in Saint. Emilion. Many people who have been able to taste the older vintages of Chateau Figeac made when Thierry Manoncourt was in charge of the estate feel that those wines were probably the finest wines to have ever been produced at Chateau Figeac.

Chateau Figeac is a traditional style of Bordeaux wine. The wine is between medium to full bodied, with an edge on aromatics over mouth feel. Chateau Figeac can be enjoyed at a reasonably young age. Older vintages, especially from 1964 and older can age for decades. The wine of Chateau Figeac went through a period of making wine not up to the quality of its terror over the past several decades. It can be argued that Figeac was not up to par since the great 1964. Following the reclassification of St. Emilion in 2013, when Figeac lobbied, but did not come close to receiving its much, sought after promotion to Grand Cru Classe A status, Figeac made steps to improve their wines, image and position on the marketplace.

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The first step in the right direction for the resurgence of Chateau Figeac was the hiring of the wine consultant, Michel Rolland and Jean Valmy Nicolas of Chateau La Conseillante. Bringing in Michel Rolland sparked controversy, as the wine of Chateau Figeac has a very traditional fan base.

Having tasted the 2012, and 2013 where Michel Rolland assisted in the blending, the wine is clearly better. And let me set the record straight, the 2015 FIgeac is mind blowing! The difference in the wines were especially noticeable in the mid palate, density and texture. The next decision was to retire the previous director, who managed Chateau Figeac since 1988, Eric d’Aramon. This was a difficult move as Eric d’Aramon was the son in law of Thierry Manoncourt. d’Aramon was replaced by Frederic Faye as the director at the behest of Madame Marie-France Manoncourt.

Once Frederic Faye was firmly in place, he made a few, other important changes. In the barrel cellars, he installed new temperature controlled units with ventilation. The following year the chateau modernized their cellars, removed their older pumps and started moving everything by gravity flow. His next efforts were in the vineyards, with additional planting of Cabernet Sauvignon vines that were hoped would be a better fit for the warm, gravel soils. In 2015, Chateau Figeac started a major renovation and modernization of the cellars that allowed for complete plot by plot vinification which was finished completed in 2018.

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The best vintages of Chateau Figeac are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 1998, 1990, 1982, 1964, 1961, 1959, 1955, 1950, 1949, 1947 and 1945. Figeac went through a difficult period from 1990 to 2009, when several vintages were made in a lighter style. Starting in 2009, things began to turn around with the 2012 and the 2015 Figeac was a contender for the best wine made in the history of the estate! Tat is until the mind blowing 2016 was produced! Considering all the great older vintages, that is really saying something.

Chateau Figeac Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 40 hectare vineyard of Chateau Figeac, which is in the northwest portion of St. Emilion is planted to 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot. Those plantings make Figeac one of the most unique vineyards in the Right Bank. It is the goal of Chateau Figeac to continue increasing the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the gravel parcels until they are close to 40% of the vineyard blend. The preponderance of both types of Cabernet in the vineyard and in the wine can often make Figeac a difficult wine to taste En Primeur. Figeac often needs a few extra months for the blend to really come together and show its potential.

The vineyards of Figeac are divided into several, separate parcels. The average vine density in the vineyards of Chateau Figeac are 6,000 vines per hectare in the newer plantings. Older vines are at 5,500 vines per hectare. They have old vines. In fact, the oldest vines belonging to Chateau Figeac are now close to 100 years of age! On average, they are 45 years of age. Interestingly, many of the estates vines were personally planted by Thierry Manoncourt with some help from Madame Marie France Manoncourt.

As we mentioned earlier, the vineyards of Chateau Figeac are planted to different proportions from what you can find in any other Saint Emilion vineyard, and in all of Bordeaux as well. In part, this has a lot to do with the unique fine, gravel based soils. This terroir is uncommon in the Right Bank with its gravel, quartz, iron, clay and sand soils. Figeac is located in the graves region of Saint Emilion, which takes its name as you might guess, from the gravel in the soil. There are 5 gravel hillsides in this area, and 3 of those hills are at Figeac.

The 3 gravel ridges that make up the vineyard also play a pivotal role in the terroir, and thus the wines character and style. The gravel affords natural drainage and offers the perfect home for their unique varietal makeup. At their peak, they reach 38 meters at the top of the slopes. The ridges run north to south, affording a southern exposure. As you travel east, you find more clay. If you head west, the soil is lighter, with more sand. More than 50% of the are farmed organically. In 2009, the estate started their own massalle selection program taken from the oldest vines from each of the three grape varieties in the vineyard.

It should be noted that along with Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau Figeac is one of the few great terroirs of Saint Emilion not situated on the limestone based soils of the cotes. Interestingly, until the 1950’s, the vineyard of Chateau Figeac maintained close to 5% Malbec. There was also a tiny portion of Petit Verdot planted in the vineyards until 1956.

All those vines were eventually removed. The vineyard, located close to Cheval Blanc and Pomerol, with its gravelly terroir explains in part, why Figeac is able to produce such an elegant wine. However, the entire estate is not reserved for vines. They have a massive garden replete with a myriad of flowers. There is a lake with swans, geese and ducks located behind the personal family home. This is truly a unique oasis in Saint Emilion.

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Chateau Figeac Winemaking

To produce the wine of Chateau Figeac, vinification takes place in a combination of 20 large, temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks and large, open top wood vats. The vats are divided as follows, 12 are stainless steel and 10 are large, open top, conical shaped oak tanks. This allows for parcel by parcel vinification. Since 2009, malolactic fermentation takes place in vat. Chateau Figeac is then aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for between 14 to 18 months before bottling.

The blend of Chateau Figeac most often relied on equal portions of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in the past. Today, that is no longer the case. The blend varies from vintage to vintage, depending on the character of the year, and how each separate grape variety performed.

The average annual production of Chateau Figeac is close to 10,000 cases per vintage. There is a second wine, La Grange Neuve de Figeac which made it’s debut with the 1945 vintage. Here’s a nice fact for you, Thierry Manoncourt was the first Right Bank producer to create a second wine. In 2013, the second wine was renamed Petit Figeac. In 2014, the estate became to first Saint Emilion property to inspect each cork, before bottling.

When to Drink Chateau Figeac, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Figeac is much better with at least 12-15 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Figeac offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 12-40 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Decanting Chateau Figeac with Wine and Food Pairings

Chateau Figeac is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Figeac is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Figeac is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

In addition to Figeac, the Manoncourt family owns 2 other small estates in Saint Emilion, Chateau La Fleur Pourret, which comes from 4.5 hectares of vine is located not far from the village of St. Emilion and Chateau de Millery, which is produced from a tiny 1 hectare parcel of vines in the eastern portion of the appellation in the commune of Saint Christophe des Bardes.

www.chateau-figeac.com

Château Figeac Wine Tasting Notes

20 Vintages 112531 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2016Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)99 pts

A great blend of density and supple, sensuous textures, velvety tannins and continuous waves of sweet, ripe, pure boysenberry, black cherry, licorice and chocolate. The fruit is very precise. The sweetness and purity is complimented by vibrant acidity and there is mouth-coating fruit that's fresh from start to finish. It’s often easy for me to choose a favorite vintage between 2015 and 2016 but not here. This is sublime! From a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.67 and will be aged in 100% new French oak for 18 months. The picking took place September 23 to October 20. The Grand Vin represents 60% of the harvest.

99 points - Tasted
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2015Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)98 pts

This was the best wine ever produced at Figeac, until they made the 2016. But that should not take anything away from this stunner. Lusciously textured, hedonistic, fragrant and complex, the wine has everything needed to hit the top, or surpass my initial score range..

97 points - Tasted
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I loved this wine! I really liked it during the April tastings, but in just a few short months, the wine has morphed into one of the top wines of the vintage! It has put on weight, the tannins are pure velvet and the finish sticks with you for close to 60 seconds. If you have been thinking about buying the wine, pick up a few bottles, it is really off the hook. Clearly this is the best wine produced at the estate since the great era of Figeac in the 40's & 50s! 97-99 Pts

98 points - Tasted
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This wine displays the darkest hue of any Figeac vintage I recall seeing. The nose, with its floral, gravel, tobacco, earth and spearmint profile, is a real treat. On the palate, the wine offers a fresh, vibrant blast of perfectly ripe, sweet, blackberry, boysenberry, plum and a dash of cocoa. The tannins are silky with good concentration, freshness and purity of fruit. Interestingly, the wine does not seem like it’s going to last on your palate, but it surprises you, as it just keeps going and going until morning, with a sweet climax of juicy plum, licorice and cigar wrapper notes. Clearly, the best Figeac in years. From a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 28% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.75. The wine will be aged in 100% new, French oak for 18 months. The picking took place September 21 to October 15 and the Grand Vin was produced from 65% of the harvest.

96 points - Tasted
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2014Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)93 pts

Medium bodied, finesse styled, elegant wine with tobacco, coffee and plums. Classic in style, with soft tannins, silky textures and bright, spicy, earthy red fruits are easily available in the finish.

93 points - Tasted
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Deep in color, the first thing you notice is the gravel scents that move to blackberry, tobacco and cigar box aromas. There is richness and concentration, refined but present tannin, mineral drive and a dark berry finish. From a blend of 40% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13% alcohol and will be aged in 100% new, French oak for 18 months. The yields were 33 hectoliters per hectare. 93-94 Pts

93 points - Tasted
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2013Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)90 pts

Medium bodied, finesse styled, elegant wine with a focus on fresh, sweet, red fruits, softness and floral accents. Give this a few years and it could be even better as it continues to fill out. Part of the reason for the success of the wine in this difficult year was the increased percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. In fact, with 50% of the blend devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon, this vintage holds the record for the most Cabernet ever used in the history of Figeac.

90 points - Tasted
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Ruby in color, with a nose of chocolate, coffee bean and raspberries, the wine is medium bodied, soft, bright and completed by sweet, fresh cherries. From a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, (The highest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon used in over 30 years!) 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The wine is aging in 100% new French oak. I am not sure why there is so much muss, fuss and fear over bringing in Michel Rolland. The team of Rolland and Frederic Faye are clearly helping the estate as this is a very successful wine for the vintage. Far too many writers and consumers should not live in the past. They should actually taste the wines before deciding on if they like a wine, or not. It will be interesting to see what happens at Figeac when the next great vintage arrives. 90-92 Pts

90 points - Tasted
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2012Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)93 pts

The first vintage blended with Michel Rolland shows licorice, stone, fresh dark berries, cigar box and a hint of oak, with a sweet, dark chocolate, round plum character.

93 points - Tasted
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From a blend of blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a different style for Figeac. Much of the credit goes to the bringing in Michel Rolland and Valmy Nicolas from Chateau La Conseillante in Pomerol. This is the first vintage where Michel Rolland was involved in the blending. Notes of truffle, earth, coffee bean, licorice and spicy berry notes opened to a silky, round, supple textured, elegant wine, filled with ripe, sweet, plums and black raspberries. 92-94 Pts

93 points - Tasted
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2011Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)88 pts

With equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the wine reached 13% alcohol. Aged in 100% new oak, forest floor, stone, red berry and leafy aromas open to a medium-bodied, tannic, red berry-dominated St. Emilion. There is some dryness in the kirsch finish. 88-90 Pts

88 points - Tasted
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2010Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)93 pts

Fresh herbs, dark ripe berries, licorice, cassis and green peppercorn aromas fill the perfume. Full bodied, tannic and slightly austere in character, with intensity, licorice and bright black cherry flavors, this is a successful vintage for the traditionally styled Figeac. 92-94 Pts

93 points - Tasted
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2009Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)93 pts

The last few years have been good to this wine. It's put on weight, added better, more opulent, rounder textures and gained additional nuances. Lush, silky, refined and character driven, with luck, this will continue moving in the right direction. Still, this is quite young. Another 5-8 more years will add even more to the wine.

93 points - Tasted
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Medium bodied, fresh, supple and soft in texture, the wine offers fresh black cherry, herbs, minerality and earthy scents. Generous for Figeac, the wine ends with soft, fresh, pure, black raspberry and cherry notes.

92 points - Tasted
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2009 Figeac opens with notes of blackberries, cassis, minerality, and licorice. The wine finishes with dark berries and spice. 90-93 Pts

92 points - Tasted
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2007Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)87 pts

With a nose of fresh herbs, spice, dried cherries and earth, this medium bodied St. Emilion wine ended with a red fruit dominated, short finish and some drying sensations.

87 points - Tasted
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2006Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)90 pts

A firm style of Figeac, with an almost austere leaning due to the preponderance of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Better on the nose, with its floral, fresh red berry and earthy leanings, than on the palate. Time could soften the wine, but like many 2006 Right bank wines, it's proobably always going to be a bit stern.

90 points - Tasted
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2005Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)89 pts

Tobacco, with thyme, forest floor, mint and cherries in the nose. The wine is medium bodied, open and delivers a short, finish with some rusticity in the tannins. This style of wine will definitely appeal to tasters seeking out more of a classic style of Bordeaux.

89 points - Tasted
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The traditional, light and austere style made it hard for me to enjoy. I found the wine offering "4 T's." Tight, tannic, tart and traditional. I would have scored the wine much higher if it had been at least a tad tawdry.

87 points - Tasted
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2001Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)91 pts

Medium bodied, with a focus on bright red , spice, earth, wet forest scents and a hint of mint. The soft finish is a bit light, but the red cherries are sweet and fresh.

91 points - Tasted
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2000Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)87 pts

Medium bodied and rapidly maturing, the wine is dominated by redd fruits, earth and spice. The bggest drawback is the short, clipped finish.

87 points - Tasted
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With a red and black fruit, herb and licorice nose was light in the palate. The wine did not taste fully ripe and the tannins were drying in the mouth.

84 points - Tasted
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1990Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)91 pts

Fully mature, medium bodied, fresh, with lean to the red fruit side of the style range, the nose is the best part of the wine, with its display of earth, cherries, tobacco, thyme, mint, herbs and spice. Elegant, but more concentrated than light, wiht a soft finish, there is no reason to wait for more development.

91 points - Tasted
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1989Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)90 pts

Medium bodied, elegant, light in color and perhaps a bit light in fruit, still the wine delivers on the earthy, tobacco, floral, plum and cherry nose. On the palate, the wine is elegant and refined, with the patina of age in the texture, and in the finish. Popped and poured was the right way to go with this one.

90 points - Tasted
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1986Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)90 pts

Clearly, it is the Cabernet Sauvignon from the gravels that made this wine possible. Medium bodied, not exactly strict, but it's not going to be called opulent either. Here, you find a straight ahead, classic character with tobacco, cedar, wet earth and red cherries. There is a firm character on the palate and in the finish that is also, refined, and genteel. Fully mature, this requires drinking over the next decade or so

90 points - Tasted
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1982Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)94 pts

The best bottle of this I've ever tasted, the ripe, almost, port like fruits, with its earth, tobacco and cherry accents, elegant, polished textured and long, sweet, fruit filled, silky finish hit all the right spots.

94 points - Tasted
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The perfume expresses notes of earth, leather, spice, wood and mint. In the mouth, this medium bodied wine ends with a short finish filled with red and black fruit.

91 points - Tasted
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1966Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)91 pts

Fully mature, the tobacco, cigar box and cedar notes really showed the ripe Cabernet fruits. Earthy, medium bodied, soft and silky, with a red berry core of spicy fruit, there is no reason to age this wine any longer.

91 points - Tasted
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1964Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)85 pts

Two bottles were opened from an identical, original wood case. The fills were quite good for a wine of this age. The end results were the same for both bottles. While I realize it is about the specific bottle, and not wine with older vintages, especially after 50 years of age, the results were troubling. The wines were the color of dark tea, with some red, brick accents. The nose showed little fruit and the palate was not much better, leaving you with a short, not exactly satisfying finish. Other bottles could be better. But I'd approach buying this with extreme caution as the hands of time have not been very graceful here.

85 points - Tasted
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1959Château Figeac  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)94 pts

Surprisingly youthful, served double blind, I thought it was 20 years younger. With the silky patina that can only come from age, the wine continues offering earthy red berries, tobacco, herbs and a hint of citrus. What a nice, unexpected treat!

94 points - Tasted
1803 Views