Domaine Saint André de FiguièrePortrait of a winemaker

Discover the history of Domaine Saint André de Figuière, its wines, passions & tradition. Anna Caidan meets, François Combard, owner and chief winemaker
2020-05-01
Wine Story

What could you tell me about Domaine Saint André de Figuière?

‘Figuière Is a family estate which has a history in Chablis; this is where I grew up with my three sisters. My father has been working in Chablis with Michel Laroche for 22 years, and in 1992 he sold the part of Domaine Laroche to buy a little domain

, Figuière, a domain of 16 hectares between Toulouse and Saint Tropez on the sea front with very nice soils of schist. When he left Chablis all his friends said that he was stupid, and crazy, and that there's no wine! They didn't understand his choice, but after 30 years his old friends said “oh it was a good idea!” because at the beginning he decided to make a rosé with an objective of quality, which wasn't really the case of most of the production in the 90s, so he had a good start because he used his Burgundy experience. He also used his business relationships to sell wines from Provence and quickly I came to work with him in 1997. We bought some vineyards and in 2004, two of my three sisters arrived. He died four years ago but today we are 3 siblings: Magali who is in charge of the business, Delphine, after administration and myself and today we have 85 organic hectares’.

What is the secret to making your wines?

‘The secret I think is the patience of the ground of the terroir and of the life in the vineyard, because wine is living. I think that's the secret…… from the vineyard to the cellar you have to keep everything lively and inline.’

What is your favourite step in the wine making process?

‘Probably to plant the vines.’

What is your best memory since working at Figuière?

‘It’s a harvest memory with the team of harvesters. One morning we were approximately 30 people and one guy was late. We saw him arriving too fast in a car. Then there was lots of smoke and we're looking at the state of his car, and just after we saw him walking out of the car towards us. He was very young and it was his mother’s car. He was very afraid because the car was on its roof. I took all the team with me and we took his car and turned it the right way. The car was not damaged and the good thing is to see what you can do with a team, you can be very strong.’

…And your most challenging moment?

‘Probably when there is an accident; it doesn't happen often, but it’s a reminder to always be careful.'

How would you define your wines in three words?

‘Frank, true to the terroir, good for the spirit.’

How do your wines differ from others in the region?

‘They are sincere, there is no “making over” with them, and it's team work! Whether it's between family or with other people who work with us, I think there's a sincerity and honesty, a desire to not makeover the wines, for example if they're dry, not to add sugar. We are entitled to have up to 4g/L of residual sugar in the appellation, but we don't add anything, for us it's a bit artificial.’

How are your wines best served?

‘As an aperitif, at the table after a good day at work, always during a moment of relaxation and happiness!’

Between Toulon and Saint-Tropez, near the Lavandou and Bormes-les-Mimosas, Domaine Saint André de Figuière is ideally located at the foot of the Massif des Maures on the Côtes de Provence appellation. The 85-hectare vineyard has been cultivated organically for 26 years.

Special mention for this gourmet Rosé, ‘Figuière, Confidentielle 2017’, mysterious and complex, with impressive minerality, ample and vinous. The finish is long delicately spicy.’ Anna Caidan

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