Wine Tasting Notes, 2008: Realm Cellars

I had a fantastic tasting at Realm Cellars today, which included an impressive flight of the winery’s three current releases. Realm, which produces its wines on the Chateau Boswell property along the northern end of the Silverado Trail, has only been a label since 2002, but the winery has quickly built a reputation for crafting quality wines from some of Napa’s most renowned vineyards.

My favorite wine of the day was the 2005 Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which displayed a seemingly effortless intensity. Realm’s portion of the Dr. Crane Vineyard is an austere patch of land with a soil composition that resembles a cobblestone street. Located along the western edge of St. Helena, the Dr. Crane Vineyard is the source of many renowned Cabernets, including one by Paul Hobbs. For Realm, the wine definitely shows its pedigree, with a nice complexity and a lasting finish.

I also tasted Realm’s 2005 Farella Vineyard Cabernet, which originates in a vineyard far removed from St. Helena, in Coombsville. Noted for its red volcanic soils (a hallmark of the entire Coombsville appellation), the Farella Vineyard is located at the foot of Mt. George. As with the Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, the Farella had a marked intensity and a sustained finish. Realm’s 2005 The Tempest — a proprietary blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot — featured smooth tannins, and was perhaps the most versatile of the three in terms of food pairing.

Among barrel samples, I tasted the Realm 2007 Beckstoffer To Kalon, which was impossibly delicious at such an early stage, and was very emblematic of Napa’s most famous vineyard. Likewise, the Realm 2007 Beckstoffer Dr. Crane was also showing quite well at this point. Both wines have been in the barrel for just under one year, and Realm typically ages its wines about a year and a half, using 100% new French oak. Either of these wines will be worth seeking out in the future.

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