Benoit Touquette’s Napa Cabernets from Fait-Main, Teeter-Totter, Realm, Kata, and Hartwell are nothing short of world-class. If you’ve tasted them, or are simply a fan of impeccable discovery reds, you’re going to love this 2015 Arbalest—a modern-styled value red Bordeaux blend. It is distinctly Touquette: bursting with freshness and marrying rich, fruit-driven opulence with classic Bordeaux minerality.
Touquette has arrived at an almost unimaginable pinnacle as a Napa winemaker—he’s the author of eight 100-point wines for Realm in the last three vintages. Touquette first worked alongside Andy Erickson, sharing responsibilities in the famed cellars of Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Arietta, and Ovid. But when he set out to make a value red from Bordeaux he sought a partner of equal tenacity, with the best growers in Europe on her speed dial: importer impresario Kimberly Jones.
Together, they have brought Arbalest to life. Touquette brings the precision of a perfectionist winemaker and Jones has red carpet access to unprecedented fruit sources of superior quality. In Europe, there are no contracts for fruit. Everything is a handshake deal. And in the knockout 2015 vintage, they struck paydirt.
Earlier this year, we chatted with Touquette by phone from Bordeaux. He was adamant about one thing: quality. “I travel around Europe and France a lot,” he told us, “and I’m always disappointed with the quality of the red table wines I encounter. So, I made it my personal goal to make Arbalest—a wine at the same price as French table wine, but of exceptional quality that appeals to a global wine drinker.”
With this 2015 Arbalest—he’s done it.