1949 Château Figeac


My admiration for recent vintages of Château Figeac is clear for everyone to read. Winemaker Frédéric Faye has done a fantastic job in recent years. I always knew that this property could reach the highest level based on my experience with older vintages, not least the postwar era, a golden age under proprietor Thierry Manoncourt. In that period, the property released a succession of dazzling wines that have stood the test of time. I was wavering between two vintages to focus on, the 1947 and 1949, but chose the latter, since according to his family, it was Thierry’s favorite. I can understand why.

I have tasted the 1949 Figeac three or four times, and this particular example was served from a large format at a farewell dinner held in their barrel cellar prior to its demolition to make way for construction of the new winery. The 1949 now shows noticeable bricking on the rim, although less than you would expect given its age. It is blessed with a profoundly complex bouquet of vivacious red fruit infused with cigar humidor, blood orange and vervain tea. Previous bottles have demonstrated subtle honeyed scents, though they were less evident in this one. The Cabernet Sauvignon component can occasionally render Figeac quite Left Bank in style, but the palate here is overtly Right Bank, demonstrating poise and precision. As with so many Figeac wines of this era, you are beguiled by its sheer effortlessness. Whereas the 1947 Figeac is all about dimension and power, the 1949 is more about grace and crystalline beauty, as if it had been designed by a renowned architect. It is a brilliant, ageless Saint-Émilion that, with sound provenance, could give another two decades of drinking pleasure. 98/Drink 2020-2040.