- Item #: i_345941Bottle Size: 750mlFrom the highly regarded winemaker from Hartwell, Realm, Kata and Fait Main (Teeter Totter) comes an absurd value. The inaugural release of the Arbalest is a project involving winemaker Benoit Touquette and importer/distributor Kimberly Jones. Our French and California wine buyers sampled this wine together last week and absolutely loved it. After tasting it, we knew we had to bring it into the store and quickly snapped up every single bottle that was available. This lush and juicy full-bodied wine boasts an abundance of dark fruit flavors and incredible texture with silky smooth tannins.
The idea of Arbalest was born when Benoit and Kimberly were traveling in France. They tasted a lot of wine in Bordeaux and both felt they could improve the quality of reasonably priced wine from the region. Benoit drew on his relationships in Bordeaux and found a source for high quality grapes. Benoit then did what he does best. He made this wine in his style consistent with his other wines, but kept the price amazingly low.
Benoit was born in Bordeaux where he was surrounded by family and friends in the wine business. He was amazed at the passion people had for wine and soon felt it himself. He graduated from Bordeaux University with a Master’s Degree in Oenology and learned from one of Bordeaux's greatest, Michel Rolland. After some time, Benoit decided it was time for a new challenge and decided to go to Napa. There he worked with another legendary winemaker, Andy Erickson, whose resume includes such iconic estates as Dalla Valle, Screaming Eagle and Spottswoode.
The mentorship of Michel Rolland and Andy Erickson was transformative for Benoit. He has learned well and clearly knows how to make delicious wines. In the spirit of full disclosure, we have to admit this wine possesses the character of Touquette’s full-bodied Napa reds. The quality of the perfectly ripened fruit flavors and creamy texture in this Bordeaux blend made us feel like we were enjoying a much higher priced wine. It does have a touch of minerality you might encounter in Bordeaux, but this is a dead ringer for a high quality Napa wine.
Enjoy the inaugural release of this limited production wine while you can.
Arbalest displays aromas of blue florals, blackberry, boysenberry and plum. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied with well- integrated tannins and flavors mirroring the nose. Fresh dark fruit including blueberry and creme de cassis are followed by beautiful hints of umami on the mid palate. The finish is seamless and persistent. Drink now through 2022.
- Item #: i_399905Bottle Size: 750MLeROBERT PARKER 90 POINTS: "The 2013 Beauséjour (Duffau Lagarrosse) offers impressive intensity given the growing season with crisp and pure dark cherries, raspberry coulis and subtle earthy bordering upon loamy scents. The oak here is nicely enmeshed and attests some clever winemaking in this challenging season. The palate is well balanced with a little chewiness on the entry. There is admirable weight here, even if I discerned more finesse and precision on the 2013 Pavie-Macquin. Still, this constitutes a sterling effort and it should give 10 to 15 years of pleasure, possibly longer."
- Item #: i_333594Bottle Size: 750MLThe good-natured proprietor of the Château de Bellevue, André Chatenoud, seems more at home in his cellars than anywhere else. Though he and his family have owned the property since 1971, the history of the château dates back to at least the 18th Century. One needs only to explore the incredible limestone caves and see the rich range of old graffiti engravings to be impressed: from harvest workers of the 1700s to American G.I.’s of the 1940s. The terroir of Château de Bellevue is characterized by exceptional quality – only surprising because the great, low prices here at Bellevue stand to shift the perceptions of what good Bordeaux should cost.
When I have some in my glass, I can't help thinking of Bellevu'’s subterranean, chalk-walled cellar. I taste it in the wine a chalky tannin and sort of a dusty coating on the wild berry fruit. Think about it gorgeous tannin with fruit and flesh to match. Kermit Lynch
- Item #: i_351025Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 100ROBERT PARKER 100 POINTS - "Made up of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the opaque bluish/purple 2005 from Bellevue-Mondotte offers amazing chocolate espresso notes along with blueberry and blackberry liqueur, some incense and a hint of flowers. Full-bodied and staggeringly concentrated, this blockbuster wine (in a blockbuster vintage) is unreal. Talk about a wine that is beyond belief -- this is a great achievement from Chantal and Gérard Perse. Drink it over the next 25-30 years. Sadly, there were only 340 or so cases produced."
- Item #: i_399906Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91Wine Spectator: 91James Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Great aromas of crushed blackberries and blueberries, follow through to a full body, with super silky tannins and a long, long finish. An absolute joy to taste. Best ever from here?"
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This cuts a broad, creamy path, with lush blueberry fig and plum fruit all rolled together, backed by warm cocoa and anise notes. Toasty grip supports the finish, but there's enough exotic fruit here to soak that up, so this should give the hedonist crowd something to enjoy with moderate cellaring."
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The wine displays oodles of strawberry jam intermixed with kirsch, dusty, loamy soil notes, garrigue, spice box and vanillin. It is full-bodied, opulent, very flamboyant and showy, with a hint of chalky minerality to add complexity and precision. It should drink well for up to 15 or more years."
- Item #: i_399920Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 95#55 ON WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 WINES OF 2018
WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "This brims with ripe, juicy plum, blackberry and açaí berry flavors, studded with licorice and fruitcake notes and backed by a nicely integrated apple wood detail through the finish. Pumps a lot of fruit out but does so energetically. Best from 2020 through 2035."
- Item #: 333506Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91Wine Spectator: 93eROBERT PARKER 91 POINTS: "Probably the flagship estate of visionary Stephan von Neipperg, the 2011 Canon La Gaffeliere is less exotic and open-knit than usual, but it exhibits beautiful notes of black currants, licorice, camphor and forest floor. A burgeoning complexity as well as medium to full body and well-integrated wood are found in this pure beauty. Drink it over the next 10-12 years."
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS: "Offers a deliciously mouthwatering range of red currant, damson plum, blackberry and loganberry fruit, spiced with hints of black tea and cinnamon and backed by a long, briary, fine-grained finish. A sleek, refined wine that should age well. Best from 2016 through 2028."
- Item #: i_334137Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - One the finest Clerc Milons I have ever tasted, and showing better from bottle than from barrel, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and the rest a tiny bit of Carmenere and Petit Verdot has a complex nose of cedar wood, red and black fruits, white chocolate and creme de cassis. A very powerful wine at 14.5% natural alcohol (quite high for a Medoc), this wine has impressive purity and texture, a full-bodied mouthfeel, relatively sweet tannin, but an already endearing complexity, length and richness that are hard to ignore. This is a superb effort and one of the wines that is usually reasonably priced among the classified growths. Robert M. Parker, Jr.
- Item #: 311394Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 98+ROBERT PARKER 98+ POINTS - "A masterpiece in the making, proprietor Alain Vauthier's 2009 Ausone boasts a dense purple color along with notes of powdered chalk, crushed rocks and wild blue, red and black fruits. Extravagantly rich with great minerality, precision and freshness as well as a voluptuous texture (unusual for a baby Ausone), this is an extraordinary wine. Sadly, there are fewer than 1,200 cases ... for the world. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2060+"
- Item #: i_351255Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91-93Wine Spectator: 91WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS: "This is alluring, with a well-melded mix of plum sauce, melted licorice and raspberry coulis flavors, carried by polished tannins and flowing through a graphite-edged finish. Very solid, with latent grip. Should cellar well. Best from 2017 through 2023."
- Item #: 350359Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93James Suckling: 93WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "This fully mature, gorgeous 2003 Branaire Ducru possesses silky tannins, lots of cedary, spice box, floral, black cherry, forest floor and velvety leather-like notes, full body, and an opulent, complex yet elegant style. A beauty of complexity, richness and finesse, it should continue to drink well for another 5-6 years.'
- Item #: i_350728Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 95WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "This cuts a wide swath, with mouthwatering tobacco and warm ganache notes leading the way, followed by a wave of fig, blackberry and black currant preserves. Shows remarkable definition already, even though the structure is strident. Tempting now, but just put this in the back of the cellar. Best from 2020 through 2035."
- Item #: i_350056Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST 95 POINTS - "This wine has a wonderful citrus character of fresh lemons and limes that meld with the mineral texture. It is crisp while also structured, bright with acidity and zesty in lemon and orange flavors. The aftertaste is herbal, crisp and bright."
- Item #: i_350590Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98ROBERT PARKER 98 POINTS: "Dense ruby/purple, with notes of crushed rock, blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with some licorice and chocolate, this full-bodied, massive wine from proprietor Philippe Cuvelier coincides with the resurrection of this premier grand cru classé in St.-Emilion. As the wine sits in the glass, notes of espresso roast and chocolate emerge. This full-bodied classic should continue to drink well for another 25 years. This is a killer effort."
- Item #: i_334210Bottle Size: 750MLDeep purple color with aromas of black cherries, dark berries, figs, and hints of black tea, tobacco and pepper. Bright and youthful, medium bodied but fruit forward and friendly without being over-extracted. Excellent tannin intergration and very food friendly.