We posited in 2014 that Figeac was a wine to start stocking up on now for several reasons. Firstly, the changing of the guard from the monopoly of Robert Parker to a more disseminated critic pool in Bordeaux. Robert Parker notoriously under-marked Figeac, rarely awarding it above 90 points, while it was afforded leading accolades by other leading critics. Rumours abounded that he had fallen out with the Director Eric d’Aramon. This culminated in him not reporting on a vintage of Figeac since 2008. The second was that in 2012, Figeac had missed out on being reclassified along with Pavie and Angelus to St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe A. Figeac has always been one of the finest St. Emilion wines and the owners are now intent on it achieving Grand Cru Classe A status. They took measures to achieve this by installing Frederic Faye as the Managing Director, who brought in Michel Rolland as a consultant thus entering into a new great era. These dual drivers saw Figeac begin a compelling upward trajectory. Figeac has always had a strong following amongst global collectors, with its incredible complexity and nuance deriving from the special blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Cabernet Franc (35%) and Merlot (30%).
Since 2014, Chateau Figeac has achieved remarkable tributes and prices have risen steeply, no doubt with the objective of achieving Grand Cru Classe A as soon as possible. Their 2016 was broadly seen as one of the wines of the vintage, the 2018 shares this mantel. It has been awarded 97-99 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown who boldly states ‘the signature of this wine is so clear, so defined, that this is a Bordeaux wine without peers. In my view, this is the finest Figeac ever produced’. James Suckling awards it 98-99 points declaring ‘the real new style here of Figeac that harkens back to the great wines of the 1950s and 1940s’. Antonio Galloni awards it 96-99, ‘the 2018 Figeac is simply magnificent. A regal, soaring wine with tremendous vertical lift and nuance, the 2018 is marvelously complete from the very first taste.’ Finally, Jeb Dunnuck awards it 97-99 ‘hats off to director Frédéric Faye for another viscerally thrilling wine that’s up with the crème de la crème of the vintage.’ Figeac 2018 is a stunning wine, priced today on release at £2,172 per case of 12, or £1,086 per case of six. This price makes it the most expensive modern vintage of Figeac, and the estate are pushing every qualitative and quantitative boundary to achieve the Grand Cru Classe A status. As such Figeac offers a large discount to the trading prices of Angelus and Pavie, the last estates to achieve promotion, which trade above £3,000 a case – the end-game is clear.
Chateau Figeac is also one of the oldest properties in Bordeaux, dating back to the 2nd Century under the Gallo-Roman Empire when a man named Figeacus built his villa on the site. It is unknown whether he planted a vineyard, but given that Figeacus was Roman and that the ruins of an ancient water supply system still remain visible point to the fact that the great terroir of Figeac was recognised nearly two thousand years ago. It is therefore one of the principle great St. Emilion Estates and feels that it should have been promoted along with Pavie and Angelus. It is once again competing with them in terms of critic scores and while the average case price has increased, it looks like this is the beginning of a trend which should be taken advantage by drinkers and investors alike. We have been strongly advising clients to buy Figeac in the last couple of years. It is time to stock up on this truly great Chateau.
Also released this morning is Chateau La Conseillante. In 2018 they have produced one of their leading vintages with 96-98+ from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, 97-98 points from James Suckling, 97-100 points from Jeb Dunnuck and 95-98 points from Antonio Galloni. This makes it simultaneously one of their best wines and at £2,016 per case of 12 their most expensive release. Indeed, the only rational could be the 2005 which trades at £2,100. However, today’s release leaves no incentive to buy en primeur, unless Conseillante is one of your perennials buys, the quality is certainly there, and they produce only 4,000 cases a year and release much less. However, despite this it is very unlikely this will trade any higher from bottle, indeed, we expect it to cost less in two years.
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