- 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_334003Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 100ROBERT PARKER 100 POINTS - "Proprietor Alain Vauthier has produced a prodigious wine that captures the essence of Ausone's terroir. A saturated black/purple color is followed by sensational aromas of ink, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and that wet stones/liquid minerality characteristic. The wine has phenomenal presence on the palate as well as astonishing richness and purity. Despite its extract, power, and richness, it is remarkably light, with a surreal delicacy. It is a tour de force in winemaking and a compelling expression of this magical terroir. It should prove to be legendary, but sadly, anyone over the age of 50 will probably not live to see it come close to maturity. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2075."
- 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_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_352576Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Despite the extreme heat of June, July and August, this beautiful wine’s terroir shows through. A dense plum/purple color is accompanied by sweet cassis and black currant aromas, broad, round, juicy fruit flavors, medium body, and hints of figs, spice box and cedar. This complete, juicy, fully mature, impressive wine can be consumed over the next 7-8 years."
- Item #: i_350991Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Tasted at the Brane-Cantenac vertical at the château, the 2009 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 40% Merlot, 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc, has an extremely pure and sensual bouquet with ripe red cherries, blackberry, minerals and incense that is totally irresistible. The palate is silky smooth with very fine tannin, a great core of tensile red berry fruit with compelling mineralité towards the structured, Pauillac-like finish. This is a top-quality Brane-Cantenac, one of the best under Henri Lurton. One of the most prosaically "delicious" Brane-Cantenac releases in recent years. Tasted April 2015."
- Item #: i_350194Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Tasted at the château, the 1996 Calon Segur is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. This was always a feted wine in its youth by Robert Parker and myself. Now at 20 years of age there is fine delineation on the nose with more detail than the 1986 tasted alongside. The oak is a little more present here (50% in this vintage) married with plenty of redcurrant, cedar, loam and undergrowth aromas. These aromatics can develop further. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannin on the entry, perhaps one of the most youthful and backward of the 1996s that I tasted during my visits. It feels firm in the mouth, masculine, very Saint Estèphe. To critique this wine, the oak is not quite knitted to the fruit as much as it should after two decades (something that has been addressed now). It is an enjoyable Calon-Segur if not quite matching up to my admittedly high expectations. Tasted July 2016."
- Item #: i_334002Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2009 Calon-Ségur is deep garnet in color and opens with a beautiful fragrance of redcurrant preserves, cassis, black cherry compote and red roses plus nuances of cigar box and cinnamon stick. Medium-bodied and wonderfully elegant in the mouth, it has a compelling line of very ripe, fine-grained tannins and oodles of freshness supporting the fragrant layers, finishing long and perfumed."
- Item #: i_351922Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91Wine Spectator: 91Wine Enthusiast: 92 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 92 POINTS - "Very structured wine, with black currant fruit and dense acidity. The tannins are dark, firm, solid. This is a fine wine from Cantemerle, reveling in the richness of the vintage."
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS
- 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 #: 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_352607Bottle Size: 750mlClassic nose, with intense cassis fruit, and a good deal of new oak that is stylishly integrated. Plump, rounded and generous, broad-shouldered, and distinctly tannic, this has considerable spice and complexity as well as abundant fruit. Has the opulence of the vintage without being too obvious and one-dimensional. Good length.
- 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_346026Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93-95Wine Spectator: 96James Suckling: 96-97#2 ON WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 WINES OF 2018
WINE SPECTATOR 96 POINTS - "Still youthfully tight and backward, with a well-roasted frame of alder and juniper holding sway for now, but the core of cassis, blackberry and plum fruit waits in reserve, showing prodigious depth. When the toast and fruit melds, the backdrop of tobacco, singed iron and chalky minerality will get a turn to show. There's a lot here. Built for the cellar. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2025 through 2040."
ROBERTPARKER 93-95 POINTS - "The 2015 Canon la Gaffeliere is a blend of 55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 19 September and 6 October at 37 hl/ha and matured in 55% new oak barrels. It has another "cool" bouquet, a common thread among Comte Stephan Von Neipperg's 2015s - very restrained at first, nicely focused and gradually revealing undergrowth and even a subtle charcoal scent (probably from the Cabernet Sauvignon). The palate is medium-bodied with black fruit laced with graphite and cedar, the Cabernet brothers really defining the character of this Saint Emilion and edging it towards say, more Figeac in style. This is a fascinating 2015, more cerebral than previous vintages that I have tasted over the years."
VINOUSMEDIA 95-97 POINTS - "The 2015 Canon La Gaffelière is seriously impressive. Like all of Stephan von Neipperg's wines in this vintage, the Canon La Gaffelière is endowed with considerable richness and a sense of vertical structure. The significant presence of Cabernet Franc gives the wine striking aromatic lift, which it very much needs. Mocha, red cherry jam and sweet floral notes give the 2015 its soaring perfume. This exceptionally beautiful Saint-Émilion is going to need time to fully come together, but it is super-impressive, even in the early going. The 2015 has been nothing short of magnificent on the two occasions I have tasted it so far. The presence of Cabernet Franc is felt in the wine's strong aromatic signature." -- Antonio Galloni
JAMES SUCKLING 96-97 POINTS - "Very tight yet shows wonderful cream and lemon rind texture. Full and powerful with walnut and spice character. Linear and focused. 55% merlot, 37% cabernet franc and 8% cabernet sauvignon."
- Item #: i_352274Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 95James Suckling: 96Wine Enthusiast: 95 PointsJeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsJAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "The aromas are very complex with sweet tobacco, black truffles, blueberries and blackberries. Subtle. Menthol, too. Full-bodied yet so elegant. Structure with finesse and purity. The tannins are melted in the wine. Fabulous young wine. Try tasting it from 2023."
- Item #: i_352577Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "After several less than stellar performances, the 2000 has turned out well. Aromas of sweet kirsch liqueur intermixed with blackberries, underbrush, and plums jump from the glass of this opaque ruby/purple-colored 2000. Full-bodied, moderately tannic, dense, and structured, with a certain kinky/exotic earthiness, this is the finest Certan de May produced over recent years. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2018.
- 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_350588Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95Wine Spectator: 96#3 WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100
WINE SPECTATOR 96 POINTS - "This shows the vivid, racy side of Barsac, with streaming flavors of pineapple, yellow apple, green plum and white ginger, displaying lovely energy from start to finish. Ends with enough honeysuckle and orange blossom notes to balance the richness. Best from 2020 through 2035."
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "This Coutet '14 has a complex bouquet with razor-sharp, minerally, citrus fruit mixed with wild honey and a touch of Riesling-like petrol. The palate is totally convincing. There is a great thrust of rich botrytized fruit sliced through with Coutet’s trademark acidity, despite the spoonfuls of sugar, that lends this such vibrancy and tension. It possesses and almost clinical precision with long persistence on the finish. This is a divine Coutet that may warrant a higher score subject to how it evolves in barrel. Range:93-95+"
- Item #: i_375470Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93ROBERT PARKER 93 POINTS - "A strong effort from proprietor Emmanuel Cruse, d’Issan’s 2009 was fashioned from minuscule yields of 18 hectoliters per hectare, and its 13.7% natural alcohol set a record at this estate. Composed of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot, it exhibits a classic Margaux fragrance of acacia flowers/violets, blueberries, cassis, licorice and camphor. Opulent and full-bodied with silky tannins as well as a rich, dense style, it will be interesting to compare the 2009 with the brilliant 2000 and 2005 over the next two to three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035+."