- 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_350182Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 100WINE ADVOCATE 100 POINTS - "The 2005 Ausone is a perfect wine of the vintage. It displays crushed rock, spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel, stunning purity and richness, and perfect harmony among all of its component parts (acidity, tannin, wood, alcohol and extract). Still youthful, but oh, so promising, this wine should be set aside for another decade and drunk over the following 50-75 years. Drink 2025-2100."
- 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: 750MLORGANIC CERTIFIED
The 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_350937Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+James Suckling: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 98 PointsWINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "Deep purple-black, the 2016 Bellevue Mondotte has a dark, seductive, opulent nose of star anise, cumin seed, dried roses, incense and cedar chest over a core of plum preserves, baked blueberries, dates and Christmas cake plus hints of unsmoked cigars and tapenade. The full-bodied palate is a behemoth of fruit with a rock-solid frame to match, featuring firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long and very spicy."
JEB DUNNUCK 98+ POINTS - "One of the standouts from the Right Bank is the 2016 Bellevue Mondotte, a powerful, full-bodied, structured effort that offers incredible minerality in its blackcurrant, graphite, new leather and burning ember-like aromas and flavors. A blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, from tiny yields and brought up all in new oak, it has remarkable purity and freshness, and is locked and loaded on the palate. Give this monument in the making 4-5 years of bottle age and it will cruise for 2-3 decades in cold cellars."
- Item #: i_352254Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 92 PointsDECANTER 92 POINTS - "A very good Caillou Blanc with wonderfully intense finessing on the aroma and on the attack. An intense sunflower yellow in colour, with some definite oak influencing on the palate. I'm surprised, in fact, by quite how rich this is - undoubtedly a successful, powerful, layered Sauvignon character, but with a silky texture through the palate and good juicy lift on the finish. Drinking Window 2018 - 2025."
- Item #: i_333177Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Wonderfully ripe and decadent, with tobacco, meat and ripe berry aromas, with hints of currants. Full-bodied, and very velvety, with unctuous fruit flavors. Long and exotic aftertaste. Terrific wine. Best after 2010."
- Item #: i_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_346023Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 90-92James Suckling: 97Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsJAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS: "A dense and layered red with ripe plums and blueberries, as well as hints of wet earth and moss. Full-bodied, velvety and layered with fantastic fruit and creamy, velvety tannins. Plush and deep. Great wine."
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS: "Made from 100% Merlot and cooler limestone and clay soils, the 2016 Château Bellevue shows a beautiful minerality and freshness in its black raspberry, crushed rocks, graphite, and dried flower aromas and flavors. It's medium-bodied, focused, and precise on the palate, with fine yet certainly present tannins. Give this beauty 3-5 years and it will cruise for two decades."
- Item #: i_344263Bottle Size: 750MLWine Enthusiast: 91 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "Intense and rich, this is an opulent, concentrated wine from a 240-acre vineyard. Powerful, dense and packed with black fruits, this shows solid aging potential. The tannins are already integrating with the generous berry fruits and the acidity, to give an impressive wine."
- Item #: i_351420Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95Wine Enthusiast: 95 PointsWINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "As usual, the 2005 Branaire-Ducru is one of the more distinctive wines of St.-Julien. Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux has turned out another classic. While not as opulent or fleshy as the 2003, and it remains to be seen if it will eclipse the 2000, the 2005 is a big, structured, intensely rich effort with raspberry, blueberry, and spring flower garden characteristics, stunning purity, full-bodied power, and good underlying acidity as well as harmony. The hard tannins suggest 8-9 years of cellaring will be beneficial; it should last for three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+."
- Item #: i_346025Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 94"The 2015 Branaire Ducru is a gorgeous, totally sexy wine...Don't miss it" - Antonio Galloni
"This pumps lush fig, boysenberry and blackberry confiture" – Wine Spectator
We are thrilled to have a small amount of the terrific 2015 Chateau Branaire Ducru in stock. This classified growth is an historic estate performing at a high level with the 2015 showing enviable concentration, perfect ripeness and power. We frequently look to this Chateau to deliver outstanding quality at more than reasonable prices. The Wine Spectator awarded this wine 94 Points and named it to its Top 100 list after trying thousands of wines! Antonio Galloni did them one better, dropping a 95 Point score and stating, "The 2015 is a wine of pure and total sensual pleasure."
This historic family run estate was once part of the larger Beychevelle property until it was purchased in the late 17th Century. Today, the Chateau from Saint Julien is run by Francois Xavier Maroteaux who takes advantage of the gravelly soils to grow Cabernet Sauvignon which comprises 65% of the blend. The remainder of the classic Bordeaux assemblage includes Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
This is definitely one of the better values coming out of Bordeaux from the excellent 2015 vintage.
We have a very limited amount of this wine. Grab it while you can. When it's gone, it's gone!
#33 ON WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 WINES OF 2018
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This pumps lush fig, boysenberry and blackberry confiture notes along, pushed by a rather polished but ample structure. Lots of anise and violet details cascade in on the finish, giving this extra aromatic dimension. Best from 2020 through 2038."
VINOUSMEDIA 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Branaire Ducru is a gorgeous, totally sexy wine. Rose petal, lavender, mint, sweet red berry and gently spiced notes give the wine much of its gracious, lilting personality. Precise and nuanced to the core, the 2015 Branaire is all class. It's easy to overlook Brainaire in the context of Saint-Julien, where most of the other important wines are much more powerful. Branaire always speaks with a hushed, discreet voice. Readers who appreciate finesse will find much to admire here. The 2015 is a wine of pure and total sensual pleasure. In 2015, the blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, aged for 18 months in French oak, 60% new. Don't miss it." -- Antonio Galloni
- Item #: i_351550Bottle Size: 750mlBIODYNAMIC, ORGANIC
Bright and red color. The nose is deep with intense aromas of cherries that evolve toward floral notes. The palate is fresh and well-balanced. It is dominated by fruit notes of cherries. Long and aromatic finish.
- 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_346028Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92-94James Suckling: 97-98ROBERTPARKER.COM 92-94 POINTS: "The 2015 Cos d'Estournel is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 17 September and 5 October at 44 hl/ha. It is being matured in 65% new oak, less than in recent years due to the tannin (IPT is 71). Deeper in color than the 2015 Pagodes, it has a very pure bouquet with tightly knitted blackberry, blueberry and violet scents, perhaps just a little Margaux-like in style. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, well-judged acidity and harmonious in the mouth. What it does not quite deliver is the complexity of a top-tier Cos d'Estournel or the peacock's tail of flavors on the finish, which feels linear and conservative compared to its peers in more southerly appellations. You feel as if the vintage put a tight leash on this Saint Estèphe grandee. There is pedigree in this Grand Vin for sure and it is bound to give up to 20 years of pleasure."
VINOUSMEDIA 92-95 POINTS: A wine of cool sophistication and polish, the 2015 Cos d'Estournel is endowed with striking length and overall balance. Silky tannins support a core of graphite, smoke, licorice, incense, tar and dark spice. The 2015 is perhaps not as aromatically nuanced or expressive as in the very best years (although that may develop in time), but it offers terrific persistence through to the finish. Finesse and nuance are the key signatures in the 2015 Cos. Only 39% of the crop went into the Grand Vin, as opposed to the more typical 50% or so." -- Antonio Galloni
JAMES SUCKLING 97-98 POINTS: "This shows what great selection did in the northern Mêdoc. Big surprise. Really excellent. Full body, chewy and rich tannins and loads of ripe fruit. Black currants, blueberries. It has hot and ripe tannins yet cool fruit."
- Item #: i_352175Bottle Size: 750mlAn intense ruby color, the Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Supérieur is full and fleshy with a strong underlying structure. It displays intense red fruit aromas of cassis and black cherry with elegantly soft tannins. There is a great balance between the ripe fruit expression and the wine’s freshness.
- Item #: i_346034Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 97Vinous Media: 94-96James Suckling: 97-98
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is a winery in the Saint-Julien appellation of the Bordeaux region of France and also the name of the red wine produced by this property. The wine produced here was classified as one of fifteen Deuxiemes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. The estate was purchased by Francois Borie in 1941 and has remained in the family since then. The family also owns other estates, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Haut-Batailley.
Today the estate is managed by Bruno Borie; Wine Spectator touched on what an individual he is in this article from 2006 (note that Bruno has since married and is a proud papa!):
"Since taking control of Ducru-Beaucaillou, the famed second-growth chateau in Bordeaux's St.-Julien appellation, in January 2003, Bruno Borie has installed original Keith Haring pop art on the ground floor and constructed a vast kitchen around a restaurant-quality stove to indulge his passion for cooking. He spends contemplation time on a tatami mat in a glassed-in room cantilevered over the Gironde River.
Unmarried and childless, he has moved into the majestic chateau. Once his boyhood home, it now serves as a sort of giant bachelor pad. Tall, slender and often dressed in dark clothes, he looks more like a Parisian artist than a businessman, and like nobody else in Bordeaux."
Ducru-Beaucaillou produces two wines. The grand vin called Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, and a second wine produced since 1995, La Croix de Beaucaillou. The wines are aged for 18 months in 50% to 80% new oak barrels according to the richness of the vintage, fined with egg whites, lightly filtered, and then bottled. Wine writer Jay McInerney wrote "Ducru has always been a wine of finesse rather than sheer brute power, a kind of Burgundian Bordeaux."
ROBERTPARKER.COM 97 POINTS - "Composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Ducru-Beaucaillou is provocatively and profoundly scented of chocolate-covered cherries, fresh black currants, crushed blueberries and licorice with touches of cigar box, roses and violets plus hints of black pepper and tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, rich and sultry with tons of seductive layers and firm, wonderfully velvety tannins, it has a very long, multilayered finish."
VINOUSMEDIA 94-96 POINTS - "The 2015 Ducru-Beaucaillou offers notable depth, power and richness. There is plenty of tannin lurking beneath, but it is nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. Smoke, tobacco, charcoal, leather and dark stone fruits give the 2015 much of its brooding, tightly wound personality. A wine of pedigree and exceptional class, the 2015 Ducru is structured yet also spherical in texture, with terrific balance and tons of style. The 2015 is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot."
JAMES SUCKLING 97-98 POINTS - "Very focused and reserved with a mineral, blackberry, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and refined. Walking a tightrope between steely tannins and and dark fruit. This is highly intellectual and unique. Great finish. Remake of the extraordinary 2014? Stronger than the 2015, for sure."
- Item #: i_352182Bottle Size: 375mlWine Spectator: 97**Please note, this is a half sized bottleWINE SPECTATOR 97 POINTS: "This still has a youthful golden color, with accents of marzipan and buttered brioche hinting at some evolution, while the core offers a magnificent display of creamed yellow apple, mirabelle and mango flavors infused with chamomile, honeysuckle and jasmine. The long finish has both waxy and racy elements, with more marzipan as well as green tea and verbena echoing. Absolutely stunning. Drink now through 2050. 183 cases made."