Tag Archives: Premier Grand Cru Classe’

Saint Emilion Chronicles #7, Part II: A Wine Tasting of Chateau Figeac 1988

Chateau Figeac, 1988

 

Here comes our second post about Chateau Figeac: a wine tasting and full review of a bottle of Chateau Figeac, vintage… 1988!

Check it out to see how it was! ūüôā

Flora's Table

Chateau Figeac 1988

Following our previous post about the history, estate, terroir and winemaking process at Chateau Figeac in Bordeaux’s Saint Emilion region, let’s now focus on my review of a bottle of their Grand Vin that I had an opportunity to taste: Chateau Figeac, Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC, 1988 ($200).

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Chateau Figeac 1988 that I had was an outstanding, elegant wine: after 26 years of aging, it still performed flawlessly, offering a broad aromatic palette that unsurprisingly underscored tertiary aromas, but still presented fruity, secondary aromas to complement them. It still had enough acidity to keep it alive (although I would not wait much longer to drink it) and noticeable but gentle tannins, along with great smoothness ‚Äď attaining a nice balance. It had pleasant and vivid mouth flavors of fruit and spices and a long finish. Outstanding!

Rating: Outstanding

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Saint Emilion Chronicles #7, Part I: A Visit to Chateau Figeac

Check out a new chapter in our Saint Emilion Chronicles saga, featuring a visit to famed Chateau Figeac and a detailed overview of their winemaking process.
Enjoy! ūüôā

Flora's Table

FRANCE, Saint Emilion‚Ä® ‚Äď Chateau Figeac (Premier Grand Cru Class√© B)

For those of you who remember our Saint Emilion series, this is its next installment: after our post on Chateau de Ferrand, today we will talk about another Chateau that¬†we visited¬†‚Äď Chateau Figeac.

On a previous post, I have provided a general overview of the Saint Emilion wine region and its wine classification system: if necessary, take a look at it for a refresher.

History

Chateau Figeac’s origins date back to the II century AD, when it comprised a Gallo-Roman villa and a large estate which were owned by the Figeacus family after whom it has been named.

By the XV century, Figeac became one of five noble houses in Saint Emilion and there is evidence that in the XVI century (when Chateau Figeac was rebuilt in a Renaissance architectural style) grapevines were grown and wine was made…

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Wine Spectator‚Äôs Top 100 Wines of 2013

A few days ago, Wine Spectator magazine has published the entire list of their Top 100 Wines of 2013… according to them, of course! :-)

Like last year, these are in a nutshell a few comments about their 2013 top 10 wines:

  • CVNE‚Äės¬†Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 2004¬†is Wine Spectator‚Äôs Wine of the Year 2013¬†(rated 95 points) as well as the first Spanish wine to date to earn top ranking in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list: congratulations!
  • Five¬†U.S. wines made it to the Top 10 (3 from California, 1 from Oregon and 1 from Washington State), up from¬†three last year
  • Only one Italian wine made it to the Top 10 scoring¬†sixth place and 95 points (Giuseppe Mascarello‚Äės Barolo “Monprivato” 2008 DOCG), same number as last year but better placement, up three spots
  • France put¬†three of their wines in the Top 10,¬†down from¬†four last year
  • A wine from Bordeaux’s Right Bank was awarded second place (and 96 points)¬†in the Top 10: Chateau Canon-La Gaffeliere 2010, a Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Class√© B (for more information and a photograph of the Chateau, check out our previous post on the Saint Emilion appellations and wine classification)
  • For the presumable happiness of The Drunken Cyclist¬†ūüėČ a Pinot Noir from Oregon¬†scored third place in the Top 10:¬†Domaine Serene‘s Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Evenstad Reserve, 2010 (rated 95 points)
  • Just like in 2011 and 2012, 9 of the top 10 wines are red and only one is white, Kongsgaard‘s Chardonnay Napa Valley 2010 (fifth place, rated 95 points)
  • Four out of the top five wines are below the $100 price mark, with the Wine of the Year 2013 being the least expensive at $63 and confirming how much good value for money can be found in a Rioja, even a top of the line one like CVNE’s; on the other hand, all wines in sixth to tenth place are above $100¬†(thank you, Anatoli, for suggesting this additional bullet!)

For more detailed information and access to the full Top 100 list, please refer to Wine Spectator’s Website.

Saint Emilion Chronicles #5: Saint Emilion and its Wine Appellations

Saint Emilion: 
Clos La Madeleine and its vineyards

First off, you may be wondering: what about chapters 3 and 4 in the Saint Emilion series??? Well, those have only been published on Flora’s Table¬†as they were not wine related nor were they specifically about photography, so if you have not seen them and you are interested in finding out about Saint Emilion sweet treats (macarons and cannel√©s) and the place we stayed at during our Saint Emilion visit, just head over there and see for yourself! ūüėČ

Saint Emilion: Les Grandes Murailles (the Big Wall) and the vineyards of Chateau Les Grandes Murailles

Now, on previous posts we have talked about the town of Saint Emilion and one of its churches – it is about time that we start talking about wine. This post will provide a general overview of the area from a wine standpoint, while future posts will focus on a few chateaux.

Saint Emilion: old grape press and vineyards of Chateau Canon

As we said in the introductory post of this series, Saint Emilion is a town that is¬†located in the Libournais area, on the right bank of the Dordogne River, not far from Bordeaux. From a wine standpoint, the area surrounding the town of Saint Emilion is divided into several different appellations (known as “AOC” – in French, “Appelation d’Origine Control√©√®“).

One slightly confusing thing to bear in mind is that Saint Emilion AOC and Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC are two different appellations that for the most part comprise the same territory. However, the regulations of the latter are stricter than the former as they require lower production yields and a 12-month minimum aging period. So, a bottle that is labeled “Saint Emilion Grand Cru” only indicates that it has been produced under the rules of that AOC, but not necessarily that it is one of the Grands Crus that are part of the Saint Emilion wine classification (more on this later), which instead are identified as Grands Crus Class√©s or Premiers Grands Crus¬†Class√©s, depending on their ranking.

Saint Emilion: Chateau La Gaffeliere and its vineyards

The two largely overlapping appellations of Saint Emilion AOC and Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC encompass a territory of, respectively, 5,600 and over 4,000 HA where the dominating grape variety is Merlot, beside Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The average annual production is in the ballpark of 235,000 HL for Saint Emilion AOC and 150,000 HL for Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC.

Saint Emilion‚Ä®: Chateau Lassegue and its vineyards

As we alluded to above, in 1954 the¬†¬†Winemaking Syndicate of Saint Emilion decided to compile a classification of the best estates (or Chateaux) in the Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC¬†based on criteria such as quality, sales and renown: this classification was published in 1955 (which is why it is often referred to as the “1955 Classification“) and is supposed to be revised and updated every 10 years, although in fact the updates have been more frequent (since inception, it has been updated in 1959, 1969, 1986, 1996 and 2012).

Saint Emilion: 
Chateau Cheval Blanc and its vineyards

The 1955 Classification divided the estates that made the cut into the following three tiers (in parentheses you can find the number of chateaux in each tier, based on the 2012 revision of the 1955 Classification):

  1. Premier Grand Cru Classé A (4)
  2. Premier Grand Cru Classé B (14)
  3. Grand Cru Classé (64)

Originally, there were only two Chateaux in the first tier of the 1955 Classification: Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc, while two more estates have been promoted to the Olympus of the Saint Emilion wines in the context of the 2012 revision of the 1955 Classification: Chateau Angelus and Chateau Pavie.

Saint Emilion: Chateau Pavie and its vineyards

If you are interested in finding out more about the 1955 Classification, on this Website you can find the complete list of the estates comprised in each of the three tiers of the classification.

For completeness, bear in mind that in the Saint Emilion area there are also four satellite appellations, as follows: Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion AOC, Montagne-Saint-Emilion AOC, Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion AOC and Lussac-Saint-Emilion AOC.

Saint Emilion: church emerging from the vineyards in Pomerol

Another famous appellation in the greater Saint Emilion area is the adjacent Pomerol AOC, a small 770 HA Merlot-centric appellation which is home (among other premium estates) of the world-famous, super-exclusive, very rare and √ľber-pricey Petrus. The estates in the Pomerol AOC were not considered for the purposes of the 1955 Classification (which, as we said, was limited to those in the Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC): this explains why Petrus is not part of it.

Chateau de Ferrand (Grand Cru Classé)

“Tasting Chateau Margaux 16 Ways”: An Excellent Post on Dr Vino’s Blog

StefanoJust a very quick note to give heads up to¬†our wine enthusiast readers as to an in my view¬†excellent post¬†that got published yesterday in Tyler Colman’s wonderful wine blog,¬†Dr Vino.

In the post, Tyler gives a full account of a one-of-a-kind wine tasting experience he had the good fortune to attend where¬†Paul Pontallier (the man who has been the managing director and winemaker at Chateau Margaux for the last 30 years) led selected few to taste the base wines of the various grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) that will create¬†Chateau Margaux’s 2012 Grand Vin,¬†pre-blending,¬†as well as samples from the Chateau’s organic, biodynamic, and conventional test vineyards and more samples illustrating the Chateau’s experimentation with, and position on, wine fining, filtration and closure (with a very interesting perspective about the debate among cork, screwcaps and synthetic closures, especially from a¬†Premier Cru¬†maker’s standpoint).

As you may know, Chateau Margaux is one of the five Premiers Grands Crus Classés wines that rank at the top of the 1855 classification of the best Bordeaux wines from the West Bank that was ordered by Emperor Napoleon III of France in view of the then forthcoming Second Universal Exhibition in Paris, which still stands almost unmodified as of today (the only change in the top ranking being the addition of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in 1973 as the fifth Premier Cru).

By the way, if you are interested and want to learn more about the fascinating history behind the 1855 classification of the Grands Crus Class√©s of the West Bank region of Bordeaux, I suggest you check out the excellent Official Web site of the Grands Crus Class√©s in 1855 and download their “History of the Classification” PDF file: it is definitely worth reading!

I found the post extremely interesting, educational and enriching, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out the¬†full account¬†on¬†Dr Vino’s blog.

Enjoy the read!