Château-Figeac at
Saint-Émilion,
a flagship Bordeaux estate

Located in the heart of the Saint-Émilion area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Château-Figeac is the flagship estate of a family that has always been committed to promoting and advancing the region’s prestige and reputation. Spanning 54 hectares (133 acres) in a single sweep, the entire estate has First Growth status, though nearly a quarter is left unplanted with vines in order to preserve a high-quality living environment and an overall natural balance. Here, biodiversity is both self-evident and a long-standing commitment. With its château, its exceptional vinegrowing terroir and its remarkable natural areas, the estate is regarded as the green oasis of Saint-Émilion. Château-Figeac’s vinegrowing terroir is a geological exception for its appellation, with three quartz and flint gravel outcrops, several metres deep, and blue clay subsoil, forming an infinite patchwork of plots planted with the three grape varieties which give the wine its core identity.
From time immemorial, the land and the people of Château-Figeac have played an active part in the life of the City of Saint-Émilion and of the Bordeaux region, whether at the time of Élie de Carle, [“knight of the vines”], in the 18th century or, more recently, of Thierry Manoncourt and his descendants. President of the Jurade de Saint-Émilion brotherhood for 23 years, he travelled all over the world, accompanied by other winegrowers from both Right and Left banks and paved the way for future generations.
Hospitality is a key value at Figeac, along with encouraging winegrowers to share their experience with one another and with academic researchers, and helping to promote the region’s international reputation.

“We do not dissociate people and their dignity from vinegrowing, the environment and our living and built heritage. They are all part of the same thing. There is no other estate like this one, where so much history is bound up with notable figures, an exceptional terroir, a great wine, a culture in its own right and an art of living in which hospitality is ingrained, while at the same time being a well-run business. Nothing is clinical, everything is authentic”

Managing Director Frédéric Faye.

“It is Figeac that guides us, not the other way round. That requires humility.”

Blandine de Brier Manoncourt

A whole new world

Château-Figeac’s
exceptional
vinegrowing terroir

The wine of Château-Figeac gets its character and highly distinctive style from the unique combination of exceptional and complex soils (three Gunzian gravel outcrops, blue clay at depth, a patchwork of plots), several microclimates and an unusual mix of grape varieties dominated by Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Thierry Manoncourt was the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in significant proportions on the Right Bank.

Although the oldest vines date back to 1921, the average age of the vines in the nearly 41 hectare (100 acre) vineyard is 35 years. In recent years, 35% of the vineyard has been replanted while conserving its specific character, following a detailed study of the soil, climate and vegetation.

Practising massal selection on old vines, the team aim to preserve Château Figeac’s genetic heritage and identity. Our 0.65 hectare (1.5 acre) legacy plot contains a selection of clones of our most remarkable vinestocks of all three grape varieties.
Gravelly soil and Cabernet grapes mean that freshness is inherent in Figeac’s DNA. As a result, Figeac seems well-prepared to withstand the effects of climate change.

The vineyard has also been defined by Château-Figeac’s unique know-how, in symbiosis with its ecosystem.
Rooted in simplicity and nourished by ambition, the prevailing mindset is guided by constant questioning and a desire to innovate in order to ensure the quality and uniqueness of our wines.
Gravelly soil and Cabernet grapes mean that freshness is inherent in Figeac’s DNA. Its wines seem well-prepared to withstand the effects of climate change.

“The most important thing has already happened when the vines give us their grapes at harvest-time. The vinegrowers’ work is crucial, in the way they precisely monitor each plot and work the soil, considering each of the 275,000 vinestocks as an individual, focusing on protecting them, helping them to grow, restraining their exuberance when necessary…”

Hortense Idoine Manoncourt

Ecosystem
and biodiversity

Unsurprisingly, Château-Figeac is committed to preserving biodiversity, keeping nearly 12 hectares (30 acres) of the estate’s 54 hectares (133 acres) as natural areas with meadows, a lake, an arboretum, a bamboo plantation, a heath planted with common, holm and cork oak, a three-kilometre hedge and Mrs Manoncourt’s 1001 China rose bushes which punctuate the rows of vines. As well as creating an exceptional environment, these natural areas encourage extremely rich biodiversity, and the vineyard manager is always on the lookout for ways of improving things. An orchard created as part of Figeac’s greenway will increase the population of pollinating insects. Château-Figeac is the only estate among Saint-Émilion’s First Growths to have kept such extensive natural areas, due to the Manoncourt family’s determination to protect them. They are an integral part of Château-Figeac’s personality.

A long-standing commitment to the environment backed up by certification

Certification is a logical extension of the mindset of the Manoncourt family and those who work for them, acutely aware of the environmental value of the estate as an ecosystem to be protected. Thierry Manoncourt loved being able to “observe these signs of life, large and small, that we protect but do not control”.

In 2013, the 54 hectares (133 acres) were listed as a “natural wildlife reserve”. Château-Figeac committed to ISO 14001 certification in 2015 under the first Environmental Management System for the Bordeaux vineyard. The company has Level 3 HVE High Environmental Value certification.

Château-Figeac also carries out a host of initiatives to study and protect biodiversity, especially bats, bees and pollinating insects, and has set up partnerships with organisations like the French League for the Protection of Birds, the national agricultural research institute INRA and the Chambers of Agriculture network.