Following our visit to Château Cheval Blanc we drove through the Saint-Émilion region, past Petrus, to the historic Château Figeac estate.
“Château Figeac originates from an ancient estate that traces its roots back to the 2nd century, when a Gallo-Roman villa was built on the estate and named after a Figeacus. In the late 18th century, the property was close to 200 hectares (490 acres) in size, but was sold and subdivided several times in the 19th century until 1892, when Henri de Chevremont bought it… In January 1947, Thierry Manoncourt … took over the running of Château Figeac, and it was under his leadership that the estate rose to the front ranks of Saint-Émilion estates. He continued to run or be actively involved with the estate until his death in 2010, although his son-in-law Comte Eric d’Aramon took over the daily running of the estate in the 1980s.” – Wikipedia
Thiery Manoncourt’s wife, Marie-France Manoncourt, remains the proprietor and continues to live at the Château.
Monsieur Manoncourt noted, a number of years ago before his passing: “Look at this gravel…this is the uniqueness of Figeac’s great terroir. Three outcrops, a blend of quartz and flint, some ancient sands and a trace of blue clay. A layer of gravel up to seven meters deep – unique in Saint-Émilion! And the planting: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, and only 35% merlot. These 3 grapes, these soils, this climate, you will find this combination nowhere else in the world.”
Château Figeac “is the largest estate in Saint-Émilion, with 40 hectares (99 acres) of vineyards. Due to its soil, which is dominated by gravel, it is planted in grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Cabernet Franc (35%), and Merlot (30%). Most other Saint-Émilion wines are dominated by Merlot, and Figeac therefore bears a certain semblance to the wines of Medòc and Graves despite being situated on Bordeaux’s right bank. The wine, which is one of the most famous of Saint-Émilion, is aged in 100% new oak barrels. Château Figeac wine carries the rank of Premier Grand Cru Classé (Class B) in the official Classification of Saint-Émilion wine.” — Wikipedia
Following our tour of the vineyards and winery, we were met and hosted for the afternoon at the Château by Marie-France Manoncourt, proprietor, who also joined us for our outstanding luncheon paired with the estate’s wines.
Our small group at the table enjoyed learning the estate’s history from our hostess, Marie-France Manoncourt. She is a consummate host and really enjoys her role at the Château, as she noted: “Welcoming people to Château Figeac is such a joy. I love sharing the place that I hold so dear. The family house, the grounds, the vines, the nature that we protect. Arranging a reception for our special guests, I first of all choose the wines, then the good and then decoration. People tell me these are timeless moments full of happiness, refinement and simplicity. Those who come here thinking only of wine are very pleasantly surprised.”
Madame Manoncourt perfectly captured our mood and our response to her gracious and generous hospitality.
Eric Beaumard, winner of the Silver Medal in 1998 for the World’s Best Sommelier, and Director of “Le Cinq” restaurant at the George V Hotel in Paris, has noted about the estates wines: “The wine of Figeac is a true expression of its great terroir. It is inimitable. You will always recognize a Figeac. The wines are powerful but delicate with characteristic freshness and great fullness on the palate. Intense in flavor. The Cabernets and the skill of the winemaker give them a deep and sensual structure that is never heavy and always elegant. Recent vintages can be enjoyed young but with age, Château Figeac reveals an extraordinary range of flavours. Figeac and time go hand in hand…”