International consultant Michel Rolland has signed a contract to consult at Château Figeac – with the stated aim of promotion from premier grand cru classé “B” to the coveted “A” status.
‘Staying in B category is not my goal’: Rolland
Château Figeac spokeswoman Cécile Routurier confirmed that Rolland signed the contract ‘a few days ago’.
Although the château would not elaborate more on the nature of the contract, Rolland told Decanter.com that he was approached by owner Marie-France Manoncourt, the widow of former owner Thierry Manoncourt, to consult the estate.
Mme Manoncourt could not be reached, and co-owner Eric d’Aramon, her son-in-law, did not wish to make any comment about Rolland’s new role with the château.
Rolland says that he is ‘very excited’ about working with Château Figeac, and that it will be ‘far easier’ to consult on the Right Bank of Bordeaux than in South America or South Africa, ‘if less exotic, perhaps.’
His goal, he said, is to make the château a Grand Cru Classé A.
‘We will work together for a year and see how it goes,’ he said, without revealing any monetary details about the contract.
Much to the disappointment of the owners, Château Figeac was not promoted to premier grand cru classé A status, in the latest revision of the classification of Saint Emilion, which was carried out last year and led to A-level promotions of Château Angélus and Pavie, at both of which Rolland consults.
Rolland said that ‘in the next few weeks’ he will ‘complete an inventory of things to do,’ but he specified that ‘we will pick ripe grapes and do the best vinification possible’.
He said he is looking forward to working with the château’s technical director Frédéric Faye, ‘a young man I know well.’
Rolland also said that he does not like to talk ‘in terms of making the wine better’ but rather ‘moving forward’ when asked about any specific stylistic changes he would undertake.
On social media, wine aficionadoes around the world have been expressing surprise and even dismay that Figeac, known for its traditional style, should employ Rolland, whose reputation is for crafting wines in a more modern style.
Rolland said, ‘If being traditional means staying in the B category, then that’s not my goal.’
Written by Panos Kakaviatos