- 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_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_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_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_333562Bottle Size: 750ML40 % Sauvignon Blanc 15 % Sauvignon Gris 25 % Sémillon 20 % Muscadelle
Light gold color. Nose with an interesting and immediate pureness, with aromas of citrus fruit and withe peaches. The entry is sharp and ample at the same time. The palate is nicely well balanced. It has a pleasant richness in the mouth and the finale is lightly peppery, with a nice lingering finish. This wine will perfectly accompany seafood and grilled fish, and is also amazing with goat cheese. To be drunk within three years to keep its freshness. But it can also be kept, getting rounder and more balanced in the bottle.
- 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: 97-98Chateau 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_351681Bottle Size: 750mlChateau Goubau is a new project in the Cotes de Castillon for the maverick wine-maker, Jacques Thienpont. Jacques has a knack of spotting exceptional terroir and then applying his alchemist’s touch. Le Pin and L’If are two of the most sought after wines in Bordeaux and we expect Goubau to be an estate to follow closely too. These are Merlot based wines, sometimes with Cabernet Franc, that betray a fleshiness and sturdiness that can be drunk 1-5 years after the vintage.
- Item #: i_346037Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92-94Wine Spectator: 89-92James Suckling: 90-91ROBERTPARKER.COM 92-94 POINTS: "The 2015 Grand Mayne has a ripe small, dark cherry and mulberry scented bouquet, very perfumed with cassis scents emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very elegant and poised, part of a new style of Grand Mayne that is much more refined than the vintages of the 1990s and 2000s. In a word, what Jean-Antoine Nony and his team have made here is a "stylish" Saint Emilion."
VINOUSMEDIA 91-94 POINTS: "Rich, ample and concentrated, the 2015 Grand Mayne is a terrific example of Saint-Émilion done in a modern, sumptuous style. Ripe, silky tannins wrap around a core of dark red cherry, raspberry, mocha, espresso and menthol. The 2015 is dense, powerful and voluptuous to the core, with terrific harmony. This is an impressive showing. Michel Rolland and Louis Mitjaville consult. Tasted three times." -- Antonio Galloni
WINE SPECTATOR 89-92 POINTS: "Nicely packed together, with juicy raspberry and plum paste flavors buttressed by licorice and ganache. Shows some energy through the finish, but this is more about heft than grace. Score range: 89-92" –JM
JAMES SUCKLING 90-91 POINTS: "A juicy and rich red with roasted coffee, chocolate and ripe fruit. Full body, velvety tannins. A little over extracted now but could come around with proper barrel aging."
- Item #: i_333028Bottle Size: 750MLMerlot based wine from the Cotes de Blaye Bordeaux. Medium bodied with black fruit aromas and an easy drinking finish. Easy drinking with a ton of flavor.
- Item #: i_311371Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 100Wine Spectator: 98ROBERT PARKER 100 POINTS - "What a blockbuster effort! Atypically powerful, one day, the 2009 Haut-Brion may be considered to be the 21st century version of the 1959. It is an extraordinarily complex, concentrated effort made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc with the highest alcohol ever achieved at this estate, 14.3%. Even richer than the perfect 1989, with similar technical numbers although slightly higher extract and alcohol, it offers up a sensational perfume of subtle burning embers, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal, black raspberries, wet gravel, plums, figs and blueberries. There is so much going on in the aromatics that one almost hesitates to stop smelling it. However, when it hits the palate, it is hardly a letdown. This unctuously textured, full-bodied 2009 possesses low acidity along with stunning extract and remarkable clarity for a wine with a pH close to 4.0. The good news is that there are 10,500 cases of the 2009, one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made. It requires a decade of cellaring and should last a half century or more. Readers who have loved the complexity of Haut-Brion should be prepared for a bigger, richer, more massive wine, but one that does not lose any of its prodigious aromatic attractions. "
WINE SPECTATOR 98 POINTS: "This enormous young wine is among the most backward of the vintage at this early stage, with iron-clad grip holding the broad, deep core of blackberry, cassis and roasted fig notes in check for now. The finish is a torrent of dense, almost compressed layers of tobacco leaf, hot paving stone, singed bay leaf and tar that will take at least a decade to massage together fully. This one is for the kids born in 2009. Best from 2020 through 2040. 10,500 cases made." –JM