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En Primeur Releases: 25 June 2021

Giles Cooper

25 June 2021

Figeac 2020

25 June EP Chateau Figeac

The most exciting producer on the Right Bank right now must surely be Figeac. Its reinvigoration over the past decade has been truly astonishing and the latest in the panoply of successful vintages has arrived: the 2020 is available at GBP 1872.

With the 2019 at GBP 2500 and 2018 at GBP 2050, this looks like one of the smartest releases of the campaign. A real high note to finish on!

We tasted the 2020 Figeac on Zoom with Frederic Faye and we were mesmerised by its subtle power, rich but elegant fruit and sheer mineral drive and freshness. The critics too have admired the beauty, grace and vibrancy of this release:

Far more cerebral and quietly introspective than it is hedonic, this could only be Figeac.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown

This is the third great wine in a magnificent trio, brimming with class, scope, finesse. Great, glorious, beautiful Figeac.” Michael Schuster

This is a magnificent Figeac from head winemaker Frédéric Faye and his team.” Neal Martin

“I loved the 2020 Château Figeac, and this beauty offers everything you could want from this site” Antonio Galloni

Figeac is a property that we truly love, for so many reasons. The family has consistently welcomed us with open arms and General Manager Frederic Faye continues to impress (and amuse) us with his skill, good humour and above all, his capacity to get the very best out of this unique piece of St Emilion terroir. As is well known, Figeac is quite unlike any other estate in the area with its (loose) proportions of a third each of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. These latter vines are perfectly suited to the patches of gravel soils which are spread across the property and since the estate moved to micro-vinification, allowing true plot-by-plot picking and production, the complexity of the terroir has been exhibited more clearly than ever before. Figeac can rarely have been so… Figeac. Surely the upgrade to Grand Cru Classe ‘A’ is waiting in the wings?

Figeac 2020

25 June EP Chateau Figeac bottle


97-99pts Jeff Leve “Roses, tobacco leaf, oak, black raspberries, spice, black currants and plum aromas are all over the place. Incredibly silky on the palate, the wine is fresh and focused on its purity and precision. Elegant, gentle and refined, the sweet, ripe cherries come in waves, building in length and intensity from the mid-palate through the finish, which lasts almost 50 seconds. The wine is effortless to drink. This should age and evolve for decades. The wine blends 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9% ABV, 3.7 pH. Picking took place September 4, October1, making it one of the longest harvests in the history of the estate.”

96-98+pts LPB, robertparker.com “The 2020 Figeac is a blend of 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, weighing in with an alcohol of 13.9% and a pH of 3.7. Opaque purple-black colored, it bursts from the glass with a beautifully vibrant initial wave of pure, pristine black fruits: fresh black cherries, juicy black plums and ripe blackcurrants. With swirling, a whole array of floral and spice notes is unleashed: lavender, ground cloves, cumin seed, cardamom and rose oil. The medium-bodied palate is surprisingly graceful for the intensity of aromas, featuring ethereal, perfumed black berry notes, framed by a seamless line of freshness and ripe, grainy tannins, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note. Far more cerebral and quietly introspective than it is hedonic, this could only be Figeac.”

97-98pts Michael Schuster, WOFW “Dense, richly blackcurrant-ripe and mineral-saturated, rich, ripe, and fresh to smell; concentrated, vigorous, firmly but finely tannic, a superb balance; a dense, compact, vivid wine, sweet, vital, racy, and mineral, beautifully sustained and carried across a very long palate, and with an aroma and fruit finish that mirrors all that has gone before. Figeac’s roughly one-third-each blend here is a clear Right Bank bonus in the current climate, so here there is Cabernet Franc floral subtlety, Cabernet Sauvignon tension and complexity, and, of course, that core Merlot flesh. This is the third great wine in a magnificent trio, brimming with class, scope, finesse. Great, glorious, beautiful Figeac. Should already be lovely within the decade, and then for three more and beyond. 2030–60+.”

97-98pts James Suckling “This is a really sophisticated young wine with tobacco, crushed stone, currants and dark chocolate on the nose, following through to a medium to full body with intense yet linear tannins and a spicy, fresh finish. Some cloves and black pepper. Graphite at the end. Very long. 37% merlot, 32% cabernet franc and 31% cabernet sauvignon.”

96-98pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 Figeac was picked from September 4 to October 1 and underwent vinification free of SO2. Deep purple in color, it is initially backward and sultry on the nose, necessitating 60 minutes before it really opens. It then reveals intense scents of cranberry, raspberry and touches of cassis intermingling with white pepper. Given that the Cabernets comprise 63% of the blend, this has a typical Left Bank personality but with Right Bank precocity. The palate conveys a sense of vibrancy and vigor on the entry, a dash of black pepper and allspice mingling with the mélange of red and black fruit. The tannins are satin-like in texture, and there’s dark berry fruit and hints of pencil lead and black truffle shavings toward the Pomerol-like finish. This is a magnificent Figeac from head winemaker Frédéric Faye and his team. This sample really came into its own 2–3 hours after opening.”

96-98pts Jeb Dunnuck “I loved the 2020 Château Figeac, and this beauty offers everything you could want from this site, revealing a dense purple/ruby color to go with gorgeous notes of cassis, tobacco, sappy herbs, and spring flowers as well as an almost Pauillac lead pencil note that develops with time in the glass. A blend of 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, it's full-bodied and has perfect balance, ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish. It brings ample power yet has a weightless elegance and riveting precision reminiscent of the 2016. Don't miss it.”

95-97pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “A super-classic wine, the 2020 Figeac sizzles with vertical energy. The château has made a number of tremendous wines in recent vintages, but I don't remember a Figeac with this much saline-drenched intensity and mineral drive. The 2020 is superb, but it won't be ready to drink anytime soon. The mixture of soil types and varieties, with the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, that is such a signature here, was a huge help in maintaining balance and energy in the wine. Technical Director Frédéric Faye certainly seems to have gotten the most out of the vintage.”

96pts Jane Anson, Decanter “This delivers concentration and intensity, a ton of black fruits, definitely Cabernet dominant in terms of fruit, and its slightly serious character, with a whoosh of juice on the finish. An extremely elegant and controlled wine, with savoury bilberry and loganberry, then peony and tobacco leaf as it opens. Tannins are finely layered but there are a lot of them. Not an exuberant Figeac, but this is rarely a wine that rushes out to seduce, it takes its time and has ageing potential in spades. The gravel soils in the drought of the summer meant the grapes slowed their ripening process, although only the youngest vines suffered blockages, and that combined with the high Cabernet content of Figeac means lower alcohols than the past few years, giving a classic balance and a feeling of effortless success. 75% of the production went into the first wine. Harvest September 4 to October 1, a full five weeks. Their final yield here was around 37hl/ha, (higher than in 2019 at Figeac, which was 34hl/ha). As with on the Left Bank, the Cabernet Sauvignons were the lowest yield (30hl/ha), with tiny berries so had to be careful with the extraction. First vintage in the new cellars.”

GBP 1872 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 1892 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 1882 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 2072 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 1367 each IB

PLACE AN ORDER

Petit Figeac 2020

25 June EP Chateau Petit Figeac bottle


One of the very best – and best value – second wines of the vintage, Petit Figeac, has now been released and is available to buy at GBP 432/12. With the Grand Vin released at GBP 1872, this looks a very good buy indeed. The critics have not tasted the 2020 as the estate did not make samples available; but having tasted many vintages we have every confidence in the wine.

Hot on the heels of the Chateau Figeac Grand Vin (96-98+pts LPB, 96-98pts NM), possibly our best-selling wine of the campaign (it has sold out within an hour of the release), comes their superb second wine made predominantly from the younger vines on the estate. Due to the intensive replanting which has gone on at the property in recent decades, there are a number of young vines which already produce exceptional Figeac fruit, thanks to the use of ‘massal selection’. This is where cuttings of the existing vines are taken from specific terroirs across the estate, and then matched with the plots of land that are being replanted; this guarantees that, put simply, the best possible vine clones are planted in the right places.

Figeac is a property that we truly love, for so many reasons. The family has consistently welcomed us with open arms and General Manager Frederic Faye continues to impress (and amuse) us with his skill, good humour and above all, his capacity to get the very best out of this unique piece of St Emilion terroir. As is well known, Figeac is quite unlike any other estate in the area with its (loose) proportions of a third each of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. These latter vines are perfectly suited to the patches of gravel soils which are spread across the property and since the estate moved to micro-vinification, allowing true plot-by-plot picking and production, the complexity of the terroir has been exhibited more clearly than ever before. Figeac can rarely have been so… Figeac. Surely the upgrade to Grand Cru Classe ‘A’ is waiting in the wings?

GBP 432 per case/12

Other formats available:

Halves – GBP 452 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 442 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 522 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 333 each IB

PLACE AN ORDER

La Conseillante 2020

25 June EP Chateau Conseillante


One of our favourite wines not just of this vintage but of the past few years has been La Conseillante. Their 2020 has been released this morning at GBP 1872 and this is most certainly not a wine to miss in 2020.

A discreet crescendo leads to a pixelated finish of awe-inspiring persistency. The old "iron fist in a velvet glove" cliché rings true here. A deeply impressive and quite profound La Conseillante” Neal Martin

“seamless freshness, finishing with epic length and the most breathtaking perfume. Simply mind-blowing.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown

The Nicolas family have owned and managed the property since 1871 and the 5th generation are now at the helm – giving remarkable continuity and long-term vision. Bordering no less than Petrus to the north, L’Evangile to the east and, just over the border south into St Emilion, Cheval Blanc, La Conseillante holds a prime location on the Pomerol plateau. As one might expect from this their soils are a mixture of red and blue clay types, which are mainly home to the Merlots, and significant portions of gravel – especially to the southern border with Cheval Blanc – on which the Cabernet Franc is mainly planted.

“Showing the vintage's rich, concentrated, yet also pure and straight style, this beauty is full-bodied, has flawless balance, and terrific tannins. It’s another gorgeous wine from Marielle Cazaux” Jeb Dunnuck

“The wine is showy, ostentatious, opulent and frankly decadent. In other words, this is everything you want in a great Pomerol.” Jeff Leve

Not easy to find further down the track, this is one wine we always recommend picking up on release – and with global demand on a dramatic upward curve it has rarely been more important to secure your share at EP stage.

La Conseillante 2020

25 June EP Conseillante bottle#


98-100pts Jeff Leve “Dark garnet in hue, the wine explodes from the glass with its showy display of lilacs, violets, spice, chocolate, truffle, espresso and black plum liqueur. On the palate the wine is incredibly sexy with its silk and velvet textured fruits. The wine is showy, ostentatious, opulent and frankly decadent. In other words, this is everything you want in a great Pomerol. Full-bodied, rich and with length, purity and energy, the wine deftly balances density with lift, remaining with you for over 60 seconds in its seamless finish. Different in style, this could be at the same level of quality found in the perfect 2016! The harvest took place September 9-September 30, making this one of the longer harvests in the history of the estate. The wine blends 87% Merlot with 13% Cabernet Franc, 14% ABV, 3.67 pH.”

98-99pts James Suckling “The balance and energy to this is very impressive with blackberry, black-olive, tar and walnut character. It’s full, but very compact with superb tannin quality that is intense, yet so fine-grained, building layers on the palate. A subtle and structured young wine. It really goes on and on.”

97-99pts LPB, robertparker.com “The 2020 La Conseillante is a blend of 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc. Seventy percent of the wine is being aged in new French oak barriques, 27% in second-fill barrels and 3% in amphorae. The alcohol came in at 14% and the pH is 3.64. Deep purple-black colored, it sails gracefully out of the glass with vivacious notes of black raspberries, kirsch and redcurrant jelly, leading to suggestions of ripe, juicy blackberries, violets, star anise and iron ore with a faint waft of dried mint. The medium to full-bodied palate is an exercise in elegance, delivering a quiet intensity of pure, energetic red and black berry layers with gorgeous floral and mineral sparks, framed by perfectly ripe, finely pixilated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length and the most breathtaking perfume. Simply mind-blowing.”

96-98pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 La Conseillante was picked September 14–17 for the Merlot and September 21–30 for the Cabernet Franc (eight picking days), the yields coming in at 37hl/ha, and matured in 70% new oak. Of the 13 parcels, four underwent vinification intégrale this year. Iridescent purple in color. The nose makes an immediate impression, delivering pure and quite precocious black currants and crushed iris flowers; subtle touches of morello cherries develop with aeration. It is beautifully defined and the oak seamlessly integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, ripe tannins that disguise the backbone of this exquisitely balanced Pomerol. A discreet crescendo leads to a pixelated finish of awe-inspiring persistency. The old "iron fist in a velvet glove" cliché rings true here. A deeply impressive and quite profound La Conseillante courtesy of Marielle Cazaux and her team.”

96-98pts Jeb Dunnuck “The 2020 Château La Conseillante is a blend of 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc that saw the Merlot brought in between September 4 and 17 and the Cabernet Franc from the 21st to the 30th of September. Still resting in 70% new barrels, it's a juicy, vibrant Pomerol in every sense and has a vivid purple color to go with a great nose of blueberries, cassis, spring flowers, and violets. Showing the vintage's rich, concentrated, yet also pure and straight style, this beauty is full-bodied, has flawless balance, and terrific tannins. It’s another gorgeous wine from Marielle Cazaux that will require a solid decade of bottle age, but it will see its 30th birthday in fine form.”

GBP 1872 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 1892 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 1882 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 2072 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 1367 each IB

PLACE AN ORDER

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