February 19, 2008

2004 Realm Cellars "The Tempest" Red Wine

This blessed plot. This earth. This realm. This.... Wine? When Shakespeare wrote this, I wonder if he ever thought the passage would appear on the side of a bottle of wine from Napa Valley? Probably not, but I’m sure if he was able to drink wine of this quality back in those times instead of Malmsey and Canary, he might have penned even more compelling plays and poetry. Either way, with only a few vintages under their belts, Realm Cellars is a relative newcomer to Napa Valley, but the wines certainly seem to be blessed.

Juan Mercado, Wendell Laidley, and winemaker Mike Hirby started Realm Cellars with the 2002 vintage. Back in the 90's, Juan was overtaken by his passion for wine, and soon enough decided to move up to Napa. He started working in a wine store, where he met Wendell and Mike Hirby, and between the three of them, Realm Cellars was born. The trio set out with the mission of producing handcrafted Bordeaux styled wines with fruit sourced from some of the most prestigious Napa Valley vineyards. So far, the results have been nothing short of excellent. The debut 2002 vintage received high marks all around, scoring in the 90's, and things looked fantastic for the 2003 vintage, until it was destroyed in a warehouse fire.

I don't know how I'd feel if I worked on something so hard for over a year to only have it destroyed in a blaze of fire. I imagine it would be a mixture of shock, sadness and disbelief. Back in 2005, Realm Cellars, along with numerous other wineries and private collectors, had thousands of bottles of wine destroyed in a three-alarm fire at Wine Central, a storage warehouse in Vallejo, California. Before being used for wine storage, Wine Central was actually used by the military to hold torpedoes and possibly bombs, thus making it quite fortified, as well as very difficult to fight fires in. I believe the entire 2003 vintage was destroyed, along with the remaining reserves of 2002. That's just about any wineries/ winemakers/ owner’s nightmare, especially after hand crafting wines that they were proud of.

Fortunately, they were able to put that behind them, and continued to produce exceptional wines with the 2004 vintage. I really enjoyed these wines, and the wines of 2005 look to be even better. For any Angeleno's interested, there will be a release party for the 2005 wines held on Feb 27th, at Craft, a restaurant near Century City. With a low cover charge of $20, it’s a great chance for anyone interested in Realm Cellars to taste some of the wines they might not be able to find at retail.

Tasting Notes:
An opaque maroon, inklike color in the glass, this wine is very concentrated and big. Aromas of ripe raspberry and cherry mix with a little leather and mocha. After some airtime in the glass, the alcohol is apparent. On the nose and in the mouth, this wine moves around slightly like a clumsy youngster. Bold and a little brash, there are attractive plummy, cherry flavors with traces of chocolate. Medium length finish that is slightly hot with soft tannins.



15.4% Alcohol
60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot
524 Cases Produced

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have 3 bottles of the 2003. VERY hard to find, indeed. If anybody is interested, email DerekLong@att.net