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According to Cellartrackers, 2004 Le Cloître du Chateau Prieuré Lichine is over the hill, waning, past its prime. This wine is the second wine of the Chateau. I’m not sure what we paid for it several years ago, but it goes now for the “bargain price” of about $15. We found a neglected bottle sitting in our cellar and decided to give it a whirl with some spaghetti.


My first impression of the aroma was dark currant jam. In the mouth it was dry and slightly astringent. The wine took a while to open up, but as it did, the bouquet became surprisingly sweet, like the spicy-sweet scent of cigars in a humidor. It was almost floral. The taste never caught up to the nose, though it was pleasing, with mellow jam and berry notes. The finish was indeed brief, so I would agree that if this wine initially had a lot more mojo (which is not necessarily the case), it has faded. But I didn’t feel disappointed. I’ve tasted less pleasing reds that cost a great deal more.

So where does this leave me in relation to the supercilious scoffers on Cellartracker? For one thing, I’m glad I didn’t read their reviews until after I enjoyed this bottle, because it might have spoiled my pleasure. For another thing, people respond differently to aging wines (just as they do to aging people). Some can see the beauty in wines that others consider “over the hill.”