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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.

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  56 wines 

Bordeaux 2020 Vintage - Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2020- lots of aromatic blackcurrants and black cherries on the nose, powerful on the palate with a strong backbone, big concentration, multilayered and with great length. Long, long finish. Impressive effort. 96-97p.

2m 28d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  42 wines 

2020 Château Figeac/ Ruby. Scented, minerals, floral, bright nose, detailed, lifted, layered, refined and nuanced nose, almost like a silky scarf caressing your chins while smelling it. Violets like you would not believe it! Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, juicy, silky, velvet, juicy, detailed, bright, transparent deep, incredible balance (13,9% alcohol), it just gives and gives, in small pockets of different flavours. The most intriguing Figeac to date. So effortless and yet so deep. A symphony of harmonies. And the finish lasts into the sunset. 98-100

3m 19d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  16 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage Part 3

4m 1d ago

 Camille Meyrou / Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Few different tasting blind and regular wine tasting

4m 13d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  100 wines 

I'll repeat myself with the phrase, "Pomerol is one of the strongest districts in 2018"! The truth is that it's s an accurate and valid statement. Despite not tasting Petrus and Lafleur, to name some of the big hitters, I can assure, that there is enough exceptional goof for every taste from Pomerol. As everywhere in Bordeaux, there also are very few wines under the usual standard in Pomerol.


 

6m 15d ago

 Camille Meyrou / Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  27 wines 

A couple of Blind an half blind tastings with friends recently

7m 10d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  47 wines 

Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
Incredible intensity and depth in this Montrachet in 2017. Focused, complex with layers of toasted nuts, white flowers and lots of minerals. Wonderful example of this grand cru vineyard. The wine stands out as clearly the most complex and intense from Sauzet. From 50-60 year old vines; only 4 barrels made.


99 points

10m 13d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  33 wines 

2013 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling GG
Pale lemon yellow. Tight, apples, citrus, minerals, ever so slightly scented nose. Fresh acidity, mouthwatering, fresh and lively, detailed, crisp, lovely playfulness, slight apple bitterness in finish, long. 92

10m 15d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  50 wines 

BORDEAUX 2019 / Ch. Margaux 2019 - only 37% of the whole production into Grand Vin. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon + 7% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.9% alcohol. Ch. Margaux' technical director, Philippe Bascaules, told me, that Merlot needed to be vinified gently due to its voluptuousness and high alcohol. He made a comparison between 2018 and 2019 Grand Vin - "when I taste 2018 Ch. Margaux, I taste 2018 vintage first, then Ch. Margaux. When I taste 2019 Ch. Margaux, it's Ch.  Margaux first, then 2019 vintage!"
It's a showcase of Cabernet Sauvignon with wonderful aromas of cigar box and tobacco leaves. Extremely elegant and multi-faceted, sophisticated and very stylish for the property. Exceptional complexity and purity. Liquid silk. True perfection here! 99-100p. 

1y 2m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  9 wines 

The "en primeur" tastings are coming slowly to an end as the sales campaign has started. This week finishes with an excellent tasting of very fine wines from Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. A perfect start for the week-end.

1y 3m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  20 wines 

I participated in very interesting tasting in Copenhagen, February 2020, of mainly wines from 1970 vintage, but also some flights “face to face” in vintages 1975 and 1983. Wines were tasted semi-blind, meaning that we had the list with names, but didn’t know two “ringers” which were included in the tasting. We didn’t know either the order of wines served in each flight. Some great bottles showed up confirming indeed their splendid provenance. I simply don’t understand how several well-established wine-critics rate Pichon Comtesse, Mouton Rothschild and Montrose from 1970 that low? We absolutely didn’t complain about wines served that cold Friday evening in February 2020. It was awesome experience!

1y 5m ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château de Figeac . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1961 Palmer is a wine that tends to deliver upon its gargantuan reputation and we were rewarded with an exemplary bottle here. It has a clear colour with modest bricking on the rim. The bouquet is difficult to encapsulate into words – utterly ethereal. Heavenly definition, almost Burgundy-like in purity with traces of pencil box and pressed violets. It grows in stature with each swirl of the glass and leaves you transfixed. The palate is bestowed beguiling balanced, almost symmetrical, framed by filigree tannin and pitch perfect acidity. Like the aromatics it coheres with aeration, the fruit undiminished by time even if it is no blockbuster. Quite the opposite – this 1961 Palmer is the apotheosis of finesse with just a hint of balsamic on the aftertaste. This Margaux can bring you to tears of joy. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong.

1y 6m ago

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