This afternoon we are delighted to offer an exclusive pre-release of Realm Bard, our first look at a leading wine from the extremely exciting 2015 vintage. Antonio Galloni describes the vintage as ‘stunningly beautiful… built on opulence, texture and voluptuousness.’ The 2015 vintage appears to be the last of four banner years in Napa, broadly expected to surpass the 2014s and among the finest Estates, equalling the best of the 2012 and 2013 vintages. However, following four years of drought, the vines are feeling the effects, meaning that while quality is very high, unlike the aforementioned plentiful vintages, production is greatly reduced. As such, demand is expected to be fierce, yet largely unfulfilled. Throughout this run of great vintages, one of the biggest stars has been Realm The Bard, which is now among the finest wines in Napa. Realm Cellars produced their first vintage in 2002, viewing themselves as a start-up with a vision. In 2012, it was awarded 99 points from Robert Parker, in 2013 a perfect 100 points and in 2014 95 points. The 2012, 2013 and 2014 are currently priced at £1,170, £1,500 and £600 respectively per case of six. The 2015 is yet unscored, yet we can expect something special, close to a perfect score. As such, at our pre-release price of £550 per case of six, this looks like a no brainer even compared to the other best priced leading Napa wines such as Insignia and Stag’s Leap which we would expect to release at around £900 per case of six. This offers the opportunity to secure Realm Bard 2015, prior to the confirmation of its quality, which is likely to drive up the price. In addition, only 500 cases were made in this vintage for the global market.

Realm Cellars was started by Juan Mercado, now led by the very talented French winemaker Benoit Touquette, who was mentored by Michel Rolland. The mission statement of Realm Cellars was to create something that transcends a single vineyard, bottle of wine, or an individual. Realm does not own vineyards, it focuses its energy on securing the highest quality fruit from Napa’s premium vineyards. Realm Cellars, however, takes this a step further, they do not only buy fruit, they develop long-term relationships with owners and growers and thereon play an integral part in how the vineyard is farmed. This process is taken further by employing their own viticulturist who oversees this on a full-time basis. The whole process is a clever combination of embracing tradition and market disruption.

The team today is one of the most talented in the world and The Bard is their flagship wine. The Bard is a tribute to the great wines of Bordeaux’s left bank. Early on Mercado named the wine after William Shakespeare’s characters. Realm Cellars itself is named after the immortal lines of William Shakespeare’s King Richard II ‘This blessed plot, this earth, this realm…’ and The Bard, one of Shakespeare’s sobriquet’s, is the quintessential wine of the Realm, heady if not slightly esoteric stuff.

The Bard is a dense, weighty and concentrated powerhouse that also parades floral and aromatic aromas of violets. It showcases the very best Cabernet Sauvignon curated from the very best plots. The Bard is sourced from some of Napa’s most famous vineyards, Beckstoffer To Kalon and Dr. Crane, Blair Vineyard, Weitz Vineyard, Fortuna Vineyard and Beckstoffer Orchard. Cabernet Sauvignon normally makes up to 70% of the blend, with the remainder made up with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and/or Petit Verdot.

Realm The Bard 2015 is, in the context of Cult Napa, excellent value at £91.60 a bottle, a price which will jump with a score of 97 to 98 and likely more than double with a score of 99 or even 100 points. It is a stunning proposition and could be one of the best buys of the 2015 vintage, which will begin its releases earnest early next year.

Realm Cellars The Bard 20156×75 – £550 IB

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