Wine Advocate 95+
“The 2019 The Tempest is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, mainly coming from cooler sights this year, including Farella vineyard in Coombsville, Oakville, Stag’s Leap Estate and Oak Knoll, with the portion of Cabernet Sauvignon all coming from Houyi vineyard on Pritchard Hill. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose offers gorgeous notes of baked blueberries, black cherries and mulberries with hints of menthol, dark chocolate and licorice. Full-bodied, rich and velvety, the mouth is packed with loads of spicy layers, while bright sparks of red fruit offer compelling energy, culminating with a long, perfumed finish. This is a wonderfully poised, polished Merlot.”– Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“2019 was a great vintage, following 2018,” said Realm’s winemaker, Benoit Touquette. “A bit like 2012 and 2013. 2019 is more fleshy and expressive at this stage than 2018. It has the flesh and the body of 2013, with nice ripe phenolics. I love the acidity and texture, matched by the aromatics. Also, 2019 was a consistent crop—straightforward to work with. We racked a lot less this year, to keep that energy and freshness,” he explained “Tempest and Bard are our gateway to new consumers,” proprietor Scott Becker added. “The Bard accounts for nearly half of our entire production volume. With The Tempest, we really want to promote Merlot. You really need the Merlot mindset, to be focused on how to make great Merlot.” 2019 is clearly a vintage that plays to Realm’s vineyard and visionary strengths. This is a strong lineup of new releases with a lineup of wines that are sure to excite loyal fans and will likely turn a few new heads along the way. 2020 is, however, another story. 2020 was the year of not just one but two significant fire episodes, rendering most Napa Valley grapes potentially smoke tainted. After considerable monitoring and careful consideration, Realm took the difficult decision not to bottle any 2020 wines for public release except a rosé—La Fe—produced from an early harvest of Merlot coming from Farella vineyard in Coombsville.