Realm Cellars a small boutique winery seems to purposely be under the radar as a cult wine in Napa Valley. The have a small vineyard but generally gather their grapes from some of the more prestigious vineyards in the valley. Those include Beckstoffer To Kalon, Blair, Houyi, Larkmead, Farella and others. The two owners are Scott Becker and Benoit Touquette. Benoit is the winemaker with an excellent pedigree making about 4,000 cases a year. Some of his wines have scores of 100 points like the 2013 The Bard and most are between 96 and 100 points! The 2013 currently shows a price of $484. Currently it takes 1-2 years just to get on their mailing list.
They have two series with the first being blends called The Bard, The Tempest, The Falstaff and the Absurd. Obviously, all with a respective nod to William Shakespeare, highlighting the phrase on The Bard referencing their desire to make excellent wines from the Napa Valley. From King Richard the line is “this blessed plot, this earth, this realm”. Their second series is the single vineyard labels designated by vineyard plot names.
The Wine, 2012 Realm, The Bard
Pulled this from the cellar for a dinner party at a very good friend’s home, I had yet to taste the wine. Knowing that it received 99 points from Parker and 100 points from Dunnuck obviously intrigued my interest. It had been resting comfortably in the cellar for many years without having been tasted before purchase, but on a good friend’s recommendation. The wine is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot and the grapes came from To Kalon, Dr. Crane, Fortuna and Weitz vineyards.
On the eyes a lush deep crimson/purple hue with heavy viscosity. On the nose lavender and violets are predominant. Where the wine shines is on the palate with a complexity of flavors chocolate, licorice, expresso, plums and blackberry. On the finish a light cedar and oak mixed with sweet vanilla pipe tobacco provides an exquisite and lasting finish. Today, the average price for this wine runs about $295, but with some keen sleuthing, a lower price may be found.
The Food and Wine Pairing
Paired with a prime rib cooked medium, potato, broccoli and a fresh garden salad the meal and wine were simply heavenly. I can’t wait until summer to experience at least one more bottle with a BBQ ribeye steak or tri-tip.
Perhaps the line that should be quoted from Richard is “the ripest fruit first falls” (Act 2, Scene 1) and in this case, it fell into the harvest bins of Realm Cellars.