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Today’s offer is what those of us in the wine biz call a “no-brainer.” Château Prieuré-Lichine’s 2010 Margaux is a wine that just has it all. It comes from a storied classified-growth estate, with a choice location in one of the most famous appellations in the world. It hails from a vintage that’s nothing short of legendary. And, at almost 13 years of age, it’s drinking downright perfectly right now, but has gas in the tank to easily go another two decades. And on top of it all, it costs the same as many current releases from less-impressive châteaux. There isn’t a box this bottle doesn’t check. Whether you’re a longtime Bordeaux collector looking to load up on a serious cellar keystone, or a more casual drinker curious about the heights true fine wine can reach, this is an opportunity not to be missed!
The Margaux appellation needs little introduction for most wine drinkers. This is some of the most famous viticultural real estate on earth, home to the greatest concentration of classified growths on Bordeaux’s famed “Left Bank.” Here, a very high proportion of gravel in the soil means vines have to plunge their roots especially deep to search for nutrients, while less clay, relative to other esteemed Left Bank villages, makes for more perfumed and filigreed wines. Margaux’s major variety is Cabernet Sauvignon, just as it is in Saint-Estèphe or Pauillac, but this appellation excels at the “iron fist in a velvet glove” styling of the variety; floral finesse and elegant structure lead the way, backed by sneaky power and longevity.
Prieuré-Lichine was originally a Benedictine monastery, seized and sold off during the French Revolution. Once in private hands, it achieved Fourth Growth status in the 1855 classifications, although it admittedly languished for about a century. In 1951, though, famed wine writer and importer Alexis Lichine purchased the property and undertook to create an estate that performed well beyond its classification. He replanted some vineyards, and traded others with neighboring wineries for more prized locations. He actually reduced the size of the estate for a while to ensure he had the best vineyards available.
The past 75 years at Château Prieuré-Lichine have essentially been a who’s-who of famous Bordeaux personalities. Emile Peynaud, legendary Bordeaux enologist and professor, served as the first winemaker. No less than Count Lur-Saluces of Chateau d’Yquem consulted on the vineyard acquisitions. When Peynaud stopped making the wine, famed consultant Michel Rolland—responsible for producing the most famous and coveted post-war Bordeaux bottlings—stepped in. And now winemaking is headed by no less than Stéphane Derenoncourt, the region’s current superstar vigneron. All of this is to say, it’s almost impossible to think of another Bordeaux wine that has as much pedigree as Prieuré-Lichine without crossing the triple-digit threshold.
In 2010, the Prieuré-Lichine consisted of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The varieties were destemmed in concrete tanks before aging in 50% new oak. For the best experience, we suggest decanting for a half-hour or so before dipping in. Then serve it in Bordeaux glasses just above cellar temp and buckle up. It pours a deep ruby with purple highlights and very slight bricking just starting at the rim. The nose opens with a riot of fresh fruits and spice: blackberries, blackcurrants, crushed raspberry, black cherry skin, black pepper, tomato leaf, and pencil lead. Tertiary aromatics of sandalwood, cigar box, dried leaves, and mushroom are just starting to poke their heads out. On the palate, it’s medium-full in body, the once-formidable tannins now beginning to soften into a fine coating across your gums. It finishes mineral and savory, reinforcing classic Left Bank flavors of gravel and cedar. It’s a seriously special bottle of Bordeaux, a peek into the world of truly best-in-class winemaking, and one of the best values we’ll offer all year. This won’t be around for long. Act fast!
Gravel, Silt, Clay
Certified Organic, Practicing Biodynamic
Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 30%, Petit Verdot 5%
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