Chateau Soleil Le Rival St. Emilion Bordeaux, Complete Guide

Learn everything about Chateau Soleil Puisseguin St. Emilion with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairings, 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 Soleil History, Overview

Chateau Soleil was created in 2005 when the vineyard was purchased by Stephan von Neipperg and Didier Miqueu. Chateau Soleil is located in what is known as the Saint Emilion Satellite Appellations. Starting with the 2016 vintage, Stephan von Neipperg was no longer involved with winemaking or vineyard management.

In 2018, GST Investissements purchased Chateau Soleil. GST Investissements was already familiar with the Bordeaux wine trade as they are the major shareholders of Vintex, a well-known negociant company headed by Philippe Larche.

Chateau Soleil Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 20-hectare vineyard of Chateau Soleil is planted to 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. On average, the vines are on average, 30 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 5,700 vines per hectare.

The terroir of Soleil is thin clay and gravel over limestone soil. The situation has their vines well placed on the peak of the plateau of Puisseguin. The vineyards are trellised using the traditional Guyot double system. Vineyard management techniques include cover-cropping, mechanical tilling of the soils, debudding, deleafing, and crop-thinning.

All these efforts help control the yields at Chateau Soleil. Stephan von Neipperg is a huge proponent of self-sustainable vineyard management, Chateau Soleil is no exception. They never use any types of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or herbicides.

To produce the wine of Chateau Soleil, the grapes are whole berry fermented. Vinification takes place in either 50 hectoliter or 100 hectoliters, epoxy lined, cement vats. There, the whole berry grapes are kept at the low temperature of 10 degrees Celsius in a pre-fermentation, cold soak, to increase the color, depth, and extraction of the wine.

Microbullage is used both under the cap during fermentation and during the process of barrel aging. Malolactic fermentation is conducted in barrels. The wine is aged on its lees, which are regularly stirred.

The wine is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for between 18 and 22 months. There are two second wines, Promesse Soleil and Croix du Rival. Close to 7,000 cases of Chateau Soleil are produced each vintage.

Soleil Le Rival

The Right Bank property also produces a special, high-end Cuvee, Chateau Soleil Le Rival which comes from a special 4-hectare block with old vines planted in 1952 and 1962. The vineyards are located in Lussac Saint Emilion.

This 4-hectare parcel is the oldest vines from the 20-hectare vineyard of Soleil. The terroir is similar to some of the best soil in Saint Emilion with its blend of clay, gravel, and limestone.

The winemaking is similar to what takes place at Soleil, but the yields are much lower for Le Rival. They can be under 20 hectoliters per hectare. Also, because the wine is much richer, the wine of Soleil Le Rival is aged in 100% new, French oak for between 18 and 24 months. On average, the production is close to 800 cases per year.

The production of both wines is ably managed by Stephan von Neipperg.

The best vintages of Chateau Soleil are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2005.

When to Drink Chateau Soleil, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Soleil is much better with at least 2-3 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 1 hour, allowing the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Soleil offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 3-10 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Soleil with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Soleil is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for up to 1 hour. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.

Chateau Soleil is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, and grilled dishes. Chateau Soleil is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms, and pasta.

Château Soleil Wine Tasting Notes

16 Vintages 40,118 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2019 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 90

Round, lush and juicy, with loads of dark cocoa, licorice, black cherry and espresso, the finish is fresh, fruit-filled and already delicious to taste. You can savor this on release, or enjoy it over the following decade. 89-91 Pts

2,150 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 90

A big gulp of ripe, juicy plums, blackberry, espresso and licorice on the nose and palate. Full, rich and concentrated, the wine is lush, round and forward, with a long fruity tail in the finish. 89-91 Pts

2,606 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 89

Medium bodied, earthy and already displaying some truffle and earthy characteristics with all the ripe, red fruits, the wine is ripe, juicy, forward, round, polished and approachable. 89 Points

1,232 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 92

Deep, dark in color, the wine shows off its mint, licorice, flint, black cherry and smoke aromatics easily. On the palate, the Merlot dominated wine is rich, ripe, round, forward and approachable, leaving with you juicy black cherries, licorice and dusty cocoa in the finish. This should be at its best over the next 5 years or so. 92 Points

1,621 Views   Tasted

Dominated by 95% Merlot, with a strong licorice and black cherry nose. The wine is silky, lush and opulent, with a lively, spice filled, plum and fennel personality. 91 Points

1,526 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 87

Medium-bodied, ready to drink, soft, round, forward, smoky, black cherry and licorice filled wine that's perfect for easy-going pleasure. 87 Points

1,701 Views   Tasted

Medium bodied with a floral, plummy character, soft textures, sweet, black raspberries, licorice and a round finish that should be great on release. 89 Points

1,765 Views   Tasted
2014 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 87

Easy drinking, forward, soft textured, cherry centered wine, with an espresso, licorice and red berry finish. 87 Points

1,678 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 88

Dominated by 95% Merlot, with an earth, plum and fennel personality, this round, open wine is ready for easy going, prime time drinking on release. 87-88 Pts

1,273 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 85

Medium bodied with a nice, plummy character, this will be drinkable on release. 84-86 Pts

1,470 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 89

Dominated by Merlot, the wine opens with coffee, black cherry, licorice and cocoa. Sweet, round and forward, this will be fun to drink young. 88-90 Pts

1,795 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 87

Licorice, coffee, black cherry and medium body opens into a light, cherry finish. 85-87 Pts

2,247 Views   Tasted
2011 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 90

From 45 year-old vines planted on a 5-hectare bed of limestone terroir, this 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc blend reached 13.5% alcohol. This wine is produced with the efforts of Stephan Von Neipperg. With deep color, floral, earth and kirsch aromas, luscious texture and a fresh, chocolate- and cherry-filled finish. 89-91 Pts

1,308 Views   Tasted
2011 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 88

Blending 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged in 30% new oak. From limestone and clay terroir, the wine offers black raspberry jam and cocoa, soft tannins and a medium-bodied plummy finish. This will drink well on release. 87-89 Pts

1,695 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 91

2010 Soleil Le Rival From 45 year old vines planted on a bed of limestone terroir, this 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc blend offers a complex perfume of truffle, earth, blackberry and stone aromas. Concentrated with intense dark cherries and chocolate, the wine ends with a long, fresh, mineral, cassis and cherry finish. This wine is produced with the efforts of Stephan Von Neipperg. 90-92 Pts

2,101 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 88

Licorice tinged cherries and earth, forward, fresh, spicy, black cherry and herb notes with sweet cassis finish. 88 Points

2,726 Views   Tasted

Soleil 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon was used to create a wine with licorice, jammy black fruit and cassis with a milk chocolate covered, cassis finish. This wine is produced with the efforts of Stephan Von Neipperg. 86-88 Pts

2,483 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Soleil Le Rival  (Lussac-St. Émilion) 90

Forward styled and already showing well, this plush, low acid, round, chocolate, boysenberry, truffle and black cherry filled wine is a lot of fun to drink. 90 Points

2,805 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Soleil  (Puisseguin-St. Émilion) 89

Coffee, coconut, black cherry and licorice scents open to a round, forward style of medium/full bodied wine that ends with a chocolate, fennel and black raspberry finish. 89 Points

3,076 Views   Tasted

2009 Soleil opens with licorice and dark berries. This soft textured, easy drinking wine finishes with dark jammy berries. 5,000 cases were produced. 87-90 Pts

2,860 Views   Tasted