St. Emilion Is The Shining Star of 2015

2015 Vintage Is All About

Saint Emilion Grand Cru

As I continue to taste and review 2015 Bordeauxs as they trickle in, I am certain that will be a benchmark vintage for all of Bordeaux but I believe that the Right Bank Merlot based wines especially from St. Emilion will be the shining star of this spectacular vintage. The great thing is if you buy correctly , they are very very affordable and very approachable now or to hold on to for 20 years or more.

Meet Olivier Sulzer

Bonnelle Sulzer


Olivier Sulzer operates two properties: Château La Bonnelle, a family estate and the Château Féret-Lambert, where he is an operator with his partner Mr. Henri Féret the landowner. Olivier Sulzer has resumed family ownership since 1990 and more officially in 1996. Located just east of the village of St Emilion is Chateau La Bonnelle and the 2015 vintage just arrived at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits last week and the subject of my review

2015 Chateau La Bonnelle

Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Bonnelle Front

Bonnelle Rear

A total of about 13 hectares of land or 26 acres. The vineyard is comprised of mostly sandy, clay soils with lots of gravel but good supply of water. The vineyard is using organic fertilization methods of plots that they rotate about every 5 years. The Sulzer family is owner of the Chateau for 4 generations. It’s all about being a farmer first and a winemaker as a hobby. So much different than the New World winemakers thought process. The wine is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc and one of the most famous of the Grand Crus of Saint Emilion. The wine is aged for 16-18 months in YAY 50% New Oak and 50% Neutral Oak (I personally don’t like 100% New Oak) Many barrels come from thier logging and the oak forests in the Dordogne area. This vintage being a ripe one comes in at 14.5% Alcohol.

My Review

Bonelle Glass side

The wine is a glistening dark purple with almost black areas in the center and a very slight variation on the edge as it is still a baby. Medium plus on the viscosity. After an hour of aeration the nose was very powerful filled with the dark black plums, black cherry aromas and the inside of  green bell pepper coming from the Cabernet Franc. On the palate a nice rich mouthfeel and very properly ripened fruits, black currant and plums, black licorice, and a juiciness across the mid palate with strong flavors of figs integrating with ripe but firm tannins and a hint of toast and spice. A long lasting finish. Very complex yet simple at the same time with layers of flavor and the weather conditions in 2015 really come through for the quality of the juice in this bottle. I would score this wine 92 out of 100. I have had this Grand Cru on previous vintages but this 2015 beats them all by far. 

The Summary

This Grand Cru is ringing up at $24.99. It is handcrafted and you can almost taste the family passion and tradition in every sip. So far, almost every 2015 Right Bank Bordeaux I have reviewed has been a winner but St Emilion in particular to me, is the one to buy and stock up on. I predict as more hit the market, that consumers will be sorry if they don’t grab em up now. Wines like this provide value and quality and will be the legacy or shining star of this soon to be benchmark vintage of 2015 in Bordeaux.

Not a Bad Looking Crib??

Bonelle Chateau

Grapefully yours, Larry


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