Learn everything about Chateau Prieure Lichine Margaux Fourth Growth, Bordeaux producer with wine tasting notes, and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property, information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Prieure Lichine History, Overview
What we know of as Chateau Prieure Lichine today started out as a priory for Benedictine monks. The monks produced Bordeaux wine for dinner and various religious ceremonies. Like many estates during the French Revolution, Prieure Lichine was seized, split up and sold at auction. In 1789 parts of Prieure Lichine were bought by numerous surrounding Chateaux in the Margaux appellation. Since that time, the vineyard has sold wine under several different names including La Prieure and Prieure-Cantenac.
By the time the noted author and wine merchant Alexis Lichine arrived in the Medoc to buy Chateau Prieure, due to neglect and a lack of finances, the vineyard was down to only 11 planted hectares. Because everything about the estate was in bad condition, Chateau Prieure-Lichine was sold for a song. Rumors are, the estate was bought for the ridiculous sum of only 8,000 British Pounds!
In 1951, Alexis Lichine put together a group to purchase the chateau along with several other chateaux in Margaux at the time, including Chateau Lascombes. After the estate was purchased, it was renamed Chateau Prieure Lichine, to honor the previous name and history of the property they retained the first part of the name, Prieure, and next they added the last name of the new owner. Thus Chateau Prieure Lichine was born.
Alexis Lichine was in many ways a visionary for Bordeaux. At the time he purchased the estate, tourists were rare in Bordeaux. When Alexis Lichine placed a large, showy sign on the D2, the main highway also known as the Route de Medoc,( because the long road traverses from north to south through Bordeaux) letting people know they were open for tastings, visits and to sell wine, other estates were not happy, as they considered it not in the traditions of Bordeaux to advertise. He was clearly ahead of his time.
In 1953, thanks to the aid of Count Lur Saluces from Chateau d’Yquem, Chateau Prieure Lichine was able to get back on track. By the 1970’s, Prieure Lichine was expanded to 58 hectares of vines in their Margaux vineyards. Because the additional vines were purchased here and there, the vineyards are spread throughout the Margaux appellation in a myriad of different terroirs and soil types. After Alexis Lichine’s death in 1989, Prieure Lichine was managed by his son Sacha for several years. Michel Rolland acted as the consultant until the estate was sold in 1999 to Groupe Ballande for close to 20,000,000 British pounds. Under Alexis Lichine, he expanded the vineyards with purchases of vines from several chateaux in the appellation.
The Ballande groupe is a successful negociant in Bordeaux. After the new owners purchased the estate, starting in 1999, they began a serious program of replanting large sections of the vineyards. Chateau Prieure Lichine brought in the team of Stephane Derenoncourt as their consulting oenologist who advises them on their winemaking and vineyard management.
In October 2013, Prieure Lichine increased the size of their vineyards by 7.5 hectares with the purchase of the little known estate of Pontet Chappaz. In late 2013, Chateau Prieure Lichine finished a complete renovation and modernization of their cellars and wine making facilities, giving them the ability to vinify their wine on a true parcel by parcel basis.
Chateau Prieure Lichine Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 77.5 hectare, Left Bank vineyard of Chateau Prieure Lichine has 70 hectares under vine in Cantenac. The vineyard is planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. This shows a decrease in the Cabernet Sauvignon, an increase in the Merlot, and all of their Cabernet Franc has been removed since the mid 1990’s. The terroir varies, as the vines are well dispersed in several communes in the appellation. The terroir is gravel, sand and clay based soils. They have hillside elevations that range from 15 meteres up to 20 meters at their peak. Their best parcel of vines are situated close to the chateau. On average, the vines are kept at about 30 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 8,500 vines per hectare. They practice sustainable farming techniques in their vineyard management program at Prieure Lichine.
Chateau Prieure Lichine Winemaking
To produce the wine of Chateau Prieure Lichine, their new cellars now allow for parcel by parcel vinification. Whole berry, fermentation takes place in 34 tulip shaped, concrete tanks that range in size from 80 hectoliters up to 120 hectoliters. Each of the vats are double skinned. This allows for parcel by parcel vinification. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel. The wine of Chateau Prieure Lichine is aged for up to 16 months in 55% to 65% new, French oak barrels before bottling.
There is a second wine, previously known as de Clairefont, which made its debut in 1972. Today, the second wine of Prieure Lichine is sold under two names, Confidences de Prieure and Le Cloitre du Chateau Prieure Lichine. On average, close to 25,000 cases of Chateau Prieure Lichine are produced each year.
The best vintages of Chateau Prieure Lichine are: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2000. I do not have much experience with older vintages, but from I have been told, you should approach buying those with extreme caution.
When to Drink Chateau Prieure Lichine, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Prieure Lichine can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting, but the wine is much better wine, these days. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 1-3 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Prieure Lichine is usually better with at least 7-10 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Prieure Lichine offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 10-25 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Prieure Lichine, with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Prieure Lichine is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Prieure Lichine is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Prieure Lichine is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheese.
Like a few other estates in the Medoc, Chateau Prieure Lichine also makes a small amount of dry, white Bordeaux wine that is sold under the name of Le Blanc de Prieure Lichine. The wine made its debut in 1990. The wine is produced from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The grapes come from a 1.5 hectare parcel of vines in the commune of Arsac. The white wine of Prieure Lichine is sold as a generic Bordeaux Blanc. The estate also owns vines in the Haut-Medoc appellation where they produce Le Clocher du Prieure.
Château Prieuré-Lichine Wine Tasting Notes
16 Vintages 76602 Views Sort Vintage Rating
This deeply colored wine with its polished, silky tannins and fleshy, dark red fruit, presents you with opulence and charm.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 2484 Views
A great effort here, the nose, with its cocoa, coffee bean and black cherry essence is a treat. On the palate, the wine is fresh and silky. The best wine yet produced from Prieure-Lichine.
Jul 12, 2017points - Tasted 1529 Views
With depth of color, this wine pops with espresso, cocoa, black cherry liqueur, silky, lush tannins and an opulent finish. The best wine yet produced from Prieure-Lichine. 92 - 94 Pts
Apr 21, 2016points - Tasted 1687 Views
Boysenberry, espresso, black cherry and licorice scents kick off the nose. Medium bodied, with a touch of too much oak at the moment, this needs time to develop, and integrate. While this is already better in barrel than in bottle, in time, this should be an even better wine, as it continues to come together.
Feb 4, 2017points - Tasted 3061 Views
Medium-bodied with a nose of floral, black raspberry, licorice and smoke, this wine is approachable, fresh and plush with a round, chocolate covered cherry finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 22, 2015points - Tasted 3273 Views
Light fresh cherries, licorice, flowers and oak create the nose. Soft, forward and already approachable, drink this on the young side.
Feb 11, 2016points - Tasted 1916 Views
Soft and polished, this medium-bodied charmer shows a core of sweet cherry, oak, licorice and earth, while its red berry personality renders it ready to drink on the early side of life. 89-90 Pts
Apr 20, 2014points - Tasted 1654 Views
Medium bodied, forward, correct, soft textured wine, without faults, but once past the floral, earthy, smoky black cherry nose, the wine is slightly less exiting and concentrated than it should be.
Mar 11, 2015points - Tasted 2694 Views
Showing polished tannins with ample plum, vanilla and black cherry notes that ends with an elegant, fresh finish. 90-92 Pts
Apr 25, 2013points - Tasted 2185 Views
Earthy and spicy, with licorice, black cherries and espresso in the nose, this forward, open, medium bodied wine ends with soft textures and dark red berries.
Feb 17, 2014points - Tasted 1889 Views
Blending 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the wine is deep ruby in color; smoke, coffee, flint and blackberry notes are easy to find. Aged in 50% new oak, this Stephane Derenoncout-consulted wine is rich, round and supple, finishing with ripe, sweet black cherry jam and espresso bean. 89-91 Pts
Apr 19, 2012points - Tasted 3041 Views
Soft, round, ripe and filled with black and dark red berries, licorice and earth, the wine ends with fresh, plums, spice and blackberry. The final blend turned out to be 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.
Feb 13, 2013points - Tasted 3662 Views
Prieure-Lichine From a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the perfume offers aromas of cassis, earth, flowers and spice. Full bodied with soft tannins, the rich cassis, feminine wine ends with an elegant finish. 91-94 Pts
Apr 20, 2011points - Tasted 2760 Views
On the nose, the licorice, jam, espresso and ripe fruit pops with no effort. Opulent in texture, the wine is silky and packed with ripe, sweet fruits coupled with notes of extremely ripe, or borderline over ripe fruits that give the wine an exotic character. Still young and primary, this should be a much better wine with anther 5 or more years of bottle age.
Jan 30, 2016points - Tasted 4583 Views
Black licorice, truffle, fresh brewed espresso, floral, blackberry and plum scents open up the wine. With silky tannins and soft round textures, the wine ends with a rich, long, fresh, pure wave of ripe, dark fruits.
Feb 1, 2012points - Tasted 6480 Views
2009 Prieure Lichine offers floral, licorice, cassis, and plum aromas. Rich, ripe, and full bodied, the wine ends with cassis, plum, and dark berry flavors. 90-92 Pts
Aug 26, 2010points - Tasted 6749 Views
The supple texture is the best part of this licorice, black raspberry, cherry, coffee and floral scented wine. Medium bodied and forward, this will drink well on the young side.
Dec 9, 2011points - Tasted 4076 Views
Medium bodied, refined, soft and perhaps best described as elegant, there is a nice, floral, earthy, cigar box and cherry character here, that you find from start to finish.
Sep 2, 2017points - Tasted 859 Views
Medium bodied, silky, soft and avoiding much of the harder, firm tannins that are found in several wines from the vintage, the wine shows a floral, black raspberry, tobacco, earthy character. Starting to come around, another 3-5 years will bring out more of its softer, silky side, along with additional complexities.
Nov 10, 2016points - Tasted 2802 Views
It's always nice to be surprised to taste a wine and discover it's showing better than you remember it. With a nose filled with fennel, spice, cassis, blackberries, flowers, earth and hints of tobacco, this ripe, plush style of Margaux wine needs another 3-5 years before it truly begins showing its ample charms.
Aug 9, 2011points - Tasted 7917 Views
Already showing most, if not all its charms, with a tobacco, earth, plum, black raspberry, vanilla and black cherry jammy nose, the wine is medium bodied with soft, round, textures. This is not for long term aging. While there is no hurry to drink it, I'd finish any bottles by the time it hits between 18 and 20.
Jan 28, 2013points - Tasted 3633 Views
Fully mature, the wine is soft, elegant and floral, Medium bodied, refined and starting to take on the patina of age, with its secondary, earthy, tobacco and herbal notes coupled with its red berry notes, this is ready to drink. The wine was made from a blend of 49% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc.
Jul 7, 2017points - Tasted 1498 Views
This is ready, willing and able to serve up a nice dose of black cherries, tobacco, cigar box and earthy notes. The texture is soft, smooth and round, the finish could be longer, but this elegant wine is in the perfect, sweet spot for drinking.
Jan 14, 2014points - Tasted 3450 Views
Fully mature, with a tertiary nose of cherry pipe tobacco, wet earth, cedar wood, cherries and cigar box aromatics. Soft, polished, medium bodied and elegant, the wine is easy to drink and like. There is no reason to hold this wine any longer. The bottle was popped and poured.
Feb 3, 2016points - Tasted 2720 Views