The genius of Château-Figeac
Château-Figeac owes its distinctive character to the unique combination of Gunzian gravel outcrops and clay subsoil, several microclimates and the mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot planted in the vineyard. This unusual blend, with its majority two-thirds Cabernet, gives the wine both structure and refinement, freshness and smoothness. Since the early years of the present century the wine has become more approachable in its youth, offering a more caressing mouthfeel, without losing its incomparable uprightness over the years.
Its ability to age for decades is quite exceptional, revealing an inimitable and complex bouquet as the years go by.
rubs shoulders with eternity
Petit-Figeac : the second wine
Since the 1945 vintage Château-Figeac has produced a second wine, created by Thierry Manoncourt, who was one of the first Bordeaux winegrowers to impose strict selection based on quality. Renamed Petit-Figeac from the 2012 vintage, it has always been made solely from grapes grown on the Château-Figeac estate.
of making wine
“The Château-Figeac terroir still has more riches to disclose… With its exceptional qualities and distinctive character, it is that terroir which we bottle in its purest form. We seek to give nature a hand while allowing it to express itself in all its complexity, without artifice and constantly calling ourselves into question. Not only must each plot be able to express itself when we come to choose the blend, but so must each of our 260,000 vinestocks, which we look upon as individuals.” (Frédéric Faye, Managing Director)
At Figeac, we aim to empower everyone around that goal. Every member of the technical team tastes the primeur wines… And the blend is presented to the Manoncourt family in order to ensure that the Figeac spirit abides.
“Château-Figeac is a living entity. It is up to us, the owners, to do what we must to ensure good conditions, from all points of view, including social and environmental.”Blandine de Brier Manoncourt
“Deciding the blend is one of the most exciting events of the year. It is the moment of truth, when we encounter what the estate’s parcels, in their infinite variety, have yielded. It takes several weeks.” (Jean Albino, cellar master)
“Each year, our mission is to take what Nature has given us and create the year’s wine, like a composer with a musical score or a painter with a canvas. We work as a team, without preconceptions about any particular parcel, drawing on our detailed knowledge of the terroir and the history of previous vintages, guided by our immense respect for the Figeac style. And it is the family who ultimately approve our choices.” (Romain Jean-Pierre, technical director).
A facility dedicated to excellence
Château-Figeac acquired a new winery in 2021, a vast facility that enables the team to gain in precision while also remaining true to the appeal of the place.
The new building breasts the hill like a ship, half-visible and half-concealed, huge below ground but deliberately discreet on the surface, dominated by the château made of golden-hued quarried stone. Covering more than 5,000 m², with two levels underground, it was designed to be consistent with the efforts already made by the Manoncourt family to provide the best possible working conditions and a warm welcome to visitors, giving preference to local and regional contractors for the construction work and meeting prevailing energy and environmental requirements.
Gravity-feed processes are used for vinification and maturing, showing infinite respect for the wine. The harvest is brought in on the ground floor, where the vat-house is located; the wines are then gradually moved under the hill to mature in barrels.
Eight custom-made FSC-certified French oak vats placed in a circle form the beating heart of the semi underground vat house, complemented by 40 truncated cone, stainless steel vats designed for plot and intra plot vinifications. In keeping with the scientific mindset that guides the estate, a specific vat room is set aside for research and development.
The two large underground barrel halls are a haven of serenity in which to mature our wines. Offering peace and quiet, space, thermal inertia and the absence of vibration, the earth which has nourished the vines also protects the wine.
The nearby cellar which houses older vintages is a tribute to Thierry Manoncourt and to Château-Figeac’s exceptional terroir.
In the two light and airy tasting rooms looking out on the vat-house and vineyard, in the great Music Room and the Fireplace Room, Château-Figeac receives its guests with the warmth that means so much to the family. Authenticity and elegance are the keynotes, together with noble yet unostentatious materials, attention to detail – and the sharing of emotions.
and innovation are part of
Since the Manoncourt family has been at Figeac, several agronomists and engineers have headed the estate, putting scientific questioning at the heart of their action.Observing and understanding in order to evolve and adapt to the living world, transposing techniques, experimenting, calling things into question, always in pursuit of a wine true to itself. Collaborations with researchers and academics have flourished and the estate currently funds several theses and research projects. At Château-Figeac, the research and development department is also responsible for environmental matters.
Over the last ten years, techniques used in archaeology have been applied to the study of soil resistivity. An infrared camera has been used to measure the vigour of the vines and a very revealing study of the terroir was carried out with Dijon University. Massal selection is used to preserve the wine’s distinctive character and a genetic heritage that would otherwise be lost. Vineyard pests have been monitored in collaboration with the network of Chambers of Agriculture.
The spirit of innovation sometimes encourages a return to age-old practices. One such is the use of withes, natural wicker strips to tie up vine shoots, which has led vineyard workers to rediscover and master an ancestral technique. Another is horse-drawn ploughing, which is more respectful of the soil and the vines.
The new technical facilities have enabled our work to become more precise. Science, technology and tradition have all found their place there.
“It is not an obsession to innovate which motivates usFrédéric Faye, directeur général.
so much as the need to understand in order to do better.”