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News

STUNNING RESULT FOR THE MANONCOURT FAMILY / Christie’s wine department are proud to announce a stunning result for the Manoncourt family of Château-Figeac who offered a selection of special bottles from their reserves in London on March the 16th. In a section of the auction which saw 100% of the lots selling and a tremendous hammer total of £102,880.00, bids came in from across the globe. 

Madame de Brier Manoncourt commented, “From the first lot, a magnum of Château-Figeac 1947, which sold for two and a half times it’s low estimate, I felt excited that this would go well. We saw telephone and internet bids coming in from the USA and Asia, alongside Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg and of course the UK and France. I find it very touching that so many people have been so interested in these old bottles which have lain untouched in the Figeac reserves. This encourages us greatly for the future. This shows we must stay dynamic in our determination to continue to make great wines which will age beautifully.”

 

 

CHÂTEAU FIGEAC PRESENTS: A UNIQUE WINE AUCTION

Château-Figeac presents: a unique wine auction at Christie's London

Christie’s wine department are proud to offer a superb selection of vintages direct from the cellars of Château-Figeac at our Fine and Rare wine Auction on the 16th of March in London. The vintages date back many decades and include a range of extremely rare large formats. Highlights from the sale include a jeroboam of 1949 estimate £3,000-5,000, three bottles of 1961 estimate £900-1,200 and an imperial of 1982 estimate £2,000-3,000. The sale offers the opportunity for buyers to purchase rare vintages direct from the Château with perfect provenance.

 

Madame Marie-France Manoncourt commented, “As owners of Château-Figeac, it is an honour for us to present with Christie’s this exceptional collection of very rare treasures from our cellars. It is a tribute to our family’s 125 years devoted to Figeac, as well as to my husband Thierry Manoncourt’s lifetime commitment and passion to keep achieving excellence and highlighting the nature of its unique and fabulous terroir. To make this auction an unforgettable event for connoisseurs, we have chosen, personally, each bottle of this exceptional selection. A variety of formats and vintages, from 1934 to 2010. These precious bottles have never left Château-Figeac before, where they have been kept in ideal conditions.” 

 

Awards at Chateau-Figeac - Tuesday December 16th

On December the 16th in CHATEAU-FIGEAC, Bernard Lauret, Mayor of St-Emilion, handed the Medal of Labour Vermeil to Madame Josiane Albino, the accountant of CHATEAU-FIGEAC and to Jean Albino, the cellar master, for their 30 years of unwavering loyalty and commitment to Figeac. It was a great opportunity to emphasize the importance of more 30 years vintages and the outstanding work delivered over this period. A great celebration for the Manoncourt family and the overall team of Chateau-Figeac.

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History

In the 2nd century AD, a family by the name of FIGEACUS owned a Gallo-Roman villa on the site of the present château and a large estate, to which they gave their name. According to historians, this is the same family that was at the origin of the town of Figeac in the Lot department of France. The vestiges of an ancient pigeon loft remind us that in the Middle Ages this large farming estate was a noble house. The château has conserved a number of doors and low, narrow windows which can be dated to around the year 1000.

 

In the 15th century, FIGEAC was one of five noble houses in Saint-Emilion and passed from the Lescours family, who at that time also owned Ausone, into the hands of the Cazes (or Decazes) family, who transmitted it through marriage to the Carles in the 17th century. Several characters in this long line left their mark on the history of Figeac as well as that of the region. Raymond de Cazes, a lord of FIGEAC, a Jurat of Libourne, and an influential character, rebuilt the château in 1586 in a classical Renaissance architectural style, after it had been burnt down during the Wars of Religion. The second year ageing cellar dates from that time, as do a number of visible architectural features, such as the pillars of the great courtyard, the tower of the château’s left wing and elements on window mullions.

 

Through the marriage of Marie de Cazes in 1654, the noble land of FIGEAC passed into the hands of the Carles. The Carles were very influential and dynamic in the region and owned numerous properties. They took an active part in the beginnings of a modern type of viticulture in the Libourne area. Their keen commercial sense enabled them to develop a clientele in Paris and in the north of Europe. The improvements effected by this brilliant family are what today’s visitors admire most: the elegant 18th century façade; the pillars of the Court of Honour linked by a wooden grille and surmounted by a flame; and a pediment whose sail billows evoke the shipment of FIGEAC’s wines overseas.

When an economic crisis struck as a result of the Continental Blockade, the Countess de Carles-Trajet sold some of FIGEAC’s land. Parts of this land included Cheval Blanc, which was ceded in 1832. FIGEAC and its 130 hectares (321 acres) were then sold in 1838. FIGEAC went through a period of 50 years having 7 different owners.

 

It was in 1892 that the MANONCOURT family’s ancestors acquired the core of the property (the three famous gravel mounds which make up its outstanding terroir), and established definitively FIGEAC’s vocation as a wine estate. Henri de Chèvremont, Thierry Manoncourt’s great grandfather, acquired FIGEAC and entrusted the management of the estate to the eminent agricultural engineer Albert Macquin, who structured the vineyard, equipped the cellars with oak vats (sourced from the estate’s woods), and experimented with plantations of new species of vegetation around the château. It was he who brought a scientific approach to the vineyard and wine-making and a new, unique aspect to FIGEAC’s landscape.

In 1907, the famous CHATEAU-FIGEAC label was created, carrying the coat of arms of Henri de Chèvremont. It evolved thereafter but kept its unique, easy to recognise design.

 

After the Manoncourt family acquired the property in 1892, FIGEAC was mainly managed by agricultural engineers. However, in 1943, the year in which Thierry Manoncourt made his first vintage, a period of resurgence began for Figeac. Thierry Manoncourt realised in that year the huge potential of FIGEAC’s terroir and urged his mother, a Parisian, to hold on to the estate. Then, in 1947, once he had graduated as an agricultural engineer, he came and settled at FIGEAC. He continually wandered through the vines seeking to understand every detail of FIGEAC’s unique terroir. Keeping only those traditions he considered good ones, he improved wine-growing techniques. His scientific approach won him the reputation of a respected innovator.

In 1955 CHATEAU-FIGEAC became a First Great Classified Growth. Thierry Manoncourt made a number of decisive choices. It was thanks to him that FIGEAC gained its unique grape composition of 30% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. The “FIGEAC style” was born from his determination.

Working alongside him, his wife, Marie-France Manoncourt, joined the FIGEAC cause. Together they developed and improved the property, while carefully preserving the land’s biodiversity. The FIGEAC we know today was shaped by their vision. They warmly welcomed visitors from every corner of the world and travelled widely. By the 1960s, FIGEAC was already known in the USA; and by the 1970s it had gained renown in Asia (Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore).

 

In 1971, after building a new vat room and barrel cellar, Thierry Manoncourt was dubbed by the press the “Pharaoh of Saint-Emilion”. He was the First Jurat of Saint-Emilion in the years from 1964 to 1988. He also devoted time and energy to promoting Bordeaux wines in general around the world. FIGEAC had now become one of Bordeaux’s leading properties.

By the 1980s, the wines of CHATEAU-FIGEAC were recognised around the world. Laure and Eric d’Aramon (Thierry and Marie-France Manoncourt’s daughter and son-in-law) settled at FIGEAC to lend their support. Gradually, Count Eric d’Aramon took over the operational management of the estate. Part of his mission was to introduce a more modern and more structured type of management whilst ensuring the long-term continuity of the business. He was General Manager until 2012. This was the period of long promotional trips (as member of the Union des Grands Crus) and the opening up of new markets.

 

It was also during this period, in 2002, that Frédéric Faye arrived at FIGEAC. His recruitment illustrated the family’s determination to continue and develop the scientific, qualitative approach to wine growing that had first driven FIGEAC’s success. A graduate in agricultural engineering, Frédéric Faye, alongside Thierry Manoncourt, got to know every nook and cranny of the vineyard and immediately entered into the spirit of the FIGEAC cause. He was soon at the head of a highly motivated crew, bringing fresh energy and introducing new skills, while launching wide-ranging projects.

Well before passing away in August 2010, Thierry Manoncourt had been careful to transmit the skills and values he had introduced and developed at the property.

 

Today, Madame Manoncourt and her daughters are ably supported by highly skilled wine-growing teams and are as eager as ever to guarantee the long-term continuity of FIGEAC. They are careful to preserve its spirit and the values of knowledge-sharing, innovation, excellence and a warmth of welcome that have always been central to the way in which this unique property has been run every day.

The future is in safe hands…

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Vineyards

The soils which produce the wines of FIGEAC are mostly composed of sandy-gravel alluvium originating from France’s Massif Central mountains and deposited by rivers (the Isle in particular) at the beginning of the Quaternary era. In the Bordeaux area these soils are essentially found in a few vineyards in Saint-Emilion (FIGEAC/ Cheval Blanc), Pomerol, and on the left bank of the river at classified growths in the appellations of Pessac-Léognan and the Médoc, especially Margaux.

 

The gravelly topsoil, distributed in the form of “outcrops” (which are very pronounced at Figeac), favours the accumulation and reflection of heat, creating a very favourable microclimate for the ripening of the grapes and for obtaining complexity and finesse in the wines. The slopes of the outcrops provide good extra natural drainage for rainwater.
The subsoil contributes diversity to the terroir with very deep gravel layers (about 7m) and others in which clay is found at depth (about 1m), which favours good vine growth and the full ripening of the grapes.

 

These soils have outstanding vine-growing potential. They warm up quickly in spring, favouring early vine shooting and of course the early ripening of the grapes. This explains and justifies FIGEAC’s original grape composition with its balance of the three main grape varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon – which is unique in the Bordeaux area. The late-ripening Cabernets mature perfectly in FIGEAC’s soils. Gravel soils are naturally not very fertile and bring about only moderate vine vigour and consequently low yields, which favour natural concentration and high quality grapes.

 

The blocking of grape ripening caused by water deficit stress, due to excessively hot and dry summer weather (frequently observed in other gravelly vineyards), hardly ever occurs at FIGEAC. The strong sandy-gravel soil texture and the relatively deep clay soils bring about moderate and regular water supply to the vines. Ideal conditions are therefore found at FIGEAC for perfect grape ripening.

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Winemaking

In order to make a great wine, it is clear that grapes need to be picked at optimal ripeness. However, optimal ripeness is not a universally-held notion, and at FIGEAC the combination of determining factors is complex due to the nature of the soils, the three grape varieties and the co-existence of young vines with others which are almost a century old. A very strict system has been necessary to be able to fix harvesting dates with great precision and stagger picking. The decision-making process is supported by laboratory analyses and thorough surveys which have enabled intra-plot separations of zones, as well as berry tastings in the vines to assess the aromatic profile of the grapes.

 

The FIGEAC vineyard contains some very old vines that are perfectly adapted to their terroir, and which provide one of the essential components in the typicity of the wine. The best of these vines are selected for grafts to be taken and used for new plantations. In this way, the quality and uniqueness of the FIGEAC vineyard are preserved.

 

This work has been based on the results of surveys, using the latest techniques, to gain more detailed knowledge of the FIGEAC terroir (geo-resistivity – infrared aerial photography – soil pit analyses). The aim was to redefine particular zones within vineyard plots and to draw up a specific approach for each spot according to its characteristics, in order to:

Improve the match between soil/rootstock/grape variety

Optimise the density of plantation

Improve the direction in which the vine rows are planted

Adapt vineyard management methods

 

A new environmentally-friendly agricultural building was built in 2011. Special training was provided to help the teams acquire faster reactivity and greater precision in the managing of the vineyard. Work carried out in the vines today not only guarantees high quality and typicity in the wine, it also ensures FIGEAC’s sustainability, achieved within an environmentally-friendly approach.

 

The cellarmaster oversees the wine-making process with precision and passion, exercising perfect control over the FIGEAC style. Together with his team he adopts an individualised approach which takes into account each grape variety and vineyard plot and succeeds in bringing out the complexity of the terroir and the best of each vintage.

A consultant œnologist has for many years made a contribution to this quest for excellence. In 2012, the Manoncourt family appointed Michel Rolland. He has added his special expertise in order to bring out even better the qualities of this outstanding and complex terroir. The wine-making process combines traditional methods with the techniques brought by modern equipment, ensuring that the quality of the grapes, the musts, the wines and their traceability are carefully respected.

 

Following the terroir analyses carried out using infrared aerial imagery and the geo-resistivity survey, the harvesting of the grapes at FIGEAC is staggered according to individual, specific intra-plot zones. The vat cellar was adapted to be able to vinify separate batches coming from these intra-plot zones, thanks to small-sized fermentation vats. The oak vat cellar, which was renovated in the 2000s, contains ten open-topped conical oak vats, especially adapted for the gentle extraction of phenolic compounds using the famous “immersed cap” method. The stainless steel vat cellar is made up of 12 vats of 160 to 15-hectolitre capacity.

The harvesting of perfectly ripe grapes has enabled the wine of CHATEAU FIGEAC to be aged 100% in new oak barrels since the end of the 1960s. These barrels are sourced from 8 different coopers and are specially designed for FIGEAC according to a specific brief. They are toasted with a medium char and are solely made up of French oak.

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Inside information

A large estate covering some 54 hectares (133 acres), FIGEAC is home to remarkable biodiversity features that form a wonderful natural setting.

The Manoncourt family lives at the property, which is surrounded by great open spaces that give a majestic feel to the place. Five hectares (12 acres) of grounds, meadows, a pond, an arboretum, a bamboo garden, a warren planted with English, Holm, and Cork oak trees, as well as hundreds of China rose bushes that border the vine rows, together with all the appreciative fauna, make this estate unique.

Madame Manoncourt takes particular care in watching over the beauty of the whole of the estate.

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Nathan Long, Wine Dealer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  13 wines 

1982 was without question one of the great vintages and from a financial viewpoint the most important year in the 20th century for Bordeaux: the vintage brought wines of superb class in not small quantities. The growing season progressed ideally. An early flowering was followed by a hot and dry summer. The resulting wines are meaty and possess powerful tannin structure.

1m 26d ago

 Château de Figeac  has news

STUNNING RESULT FOR THE MANONCOURT FAMILY / Christie’s wine department are proud to annou  more ...

2m 6d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  126 wines 

Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.


 The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.


 The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

2m 9d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  75 wines 

In 2016 Pauillac has made some excellent wines and on the top, Mouton has made something very special and might be wine of the vintage competing with Petrus. Lots of estate has made excellent wines from Pauillac this year. Saint-Estephe has also made stunning wines and Cos d'Estournel has made one of the greatest wines I have ever tasted from them. Northern Médoc is far better in 2016 than in 2015, but for me, 2016 on a whole delivers more. 2015 for me eas a bit hyped even if the wines were very good indeed. 2016 probably has the edge over 2011 as well that is seriously undervalued in the market, but will give many some surprises for the future.

2m 10d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  30 wines 

My TOP 30 wines of the Bordeaux 2016 vintage.

2m 12d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

2m 15d ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  16 wines 

I had the great pleasure to attend one of the greatest wine dinners of my life. The topic was 1961 Bordeaux- for me the most complete vintage ever. To the 25 best wines of that vintage were 5 other wines served blind - all from the sixties. The dinner was finished with the most impressive Port I ever had - the brilliant 1963 Quinta do Noval Nacional.



I rarely award 100 points to a wine but here I did it for Ausone, Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion, Margaux, Trotanoy, Lafleur, La Mission Haut Brion, 1968 Martha's Vineyard, 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle and 1963 Quinta do Noval Nacional. Thank you Robert for an unbelievable evening with the nicest of guests, a fantastic dinner at the marvelous Hotel Königshof in Munich. The wine service was, as always, impeccable led by the star sommelier Stephane Thuriot.

6m 16d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  29 wines 

The tasting of the year - Vintage 1961 - 11 wines got full 100 points!

6m 27d ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  50 wines 

The Annual Union des Grands Crus Tasting in London - Bordeaux Vintage 2014 - My TOP 50.

7m 17d ago

 Li Yong Liú, Wine Dealer (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Château Ausone 2007 / Dark ripe nose with leather, plum, mint, strawberry jam. Beautifully textured on palate with juicy sweet fruit, velvety tannins, a certain note of drier fruit like prunes and some woody notes. Classical and aristocratic texture with great complexity and length. Warm, ripe and big, but very finely balanced and precise. 

8m 11d ago

 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  14 wines 

“A few brief words. In 1982 , for these properties, a mere 200 meters apart, Christian Moeueix and Jean-Claude Berrouet made both Petrus and Lafleur 1982, the Robin sisters were quite advanced in age, and only in 1985 did Sylvie and Jacques Guinaudeau take over the helm at Lafleur.
Petrus is virtually all Merlot, and Lafleur is roughly evenly split between Cabernet Franc and Merlot, usually making it somewhat more structured, and in 1982, in some bottlings (like ours on this evening), more introspective.

11m 22d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“The Vine Club's 1961 tasting: The two rarest and most expensive wines from '61 both come from Pomerol. Pétrus and Latour-á-Pomerol. Both are tremendously impressive - Latour-á-Pomerol with great sweetness, richness and concentration. Pétrus with similar richness but with even more power and structure. I have had the pleasure of drinking these two giants next to one another already few times, - I expect Pétrus to have the longer life expectancy. Vieux Château Certan is a wonderful mature wine as is Lafleur. A wine I also have found very good over the years is Château Gazin. It did then include grapes from a parcel of the best part of Pomerol, now belonging to Château Pétrus. Also the L'Evangile have a great reputation, and for good reason.”

1y 5d ago

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