The perfect 2013 The Bard is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot, coming from four vineyards that Realm uses consistently -- B Weitz, Houyi, Blair and of course, the Beckstoffer Dr. Crane in St. Helena. There are 950 cases of this extraordinary wine, which has it all. Notes of graphite, blackberries, roasted espresso and chocolate are followed by a wine of enormous, massive extraction, richness and intensity, but no hard edges. This seamless work of vinous haute couture is staggeringly rich, very long, but not the least bit heavy or overbearing. This is a killer effort that's already showing enormous complexity but should age effortlessly for 15 or more years. (RP)
The 2013 The Bard is the most intriguing of the three Realm blends because it has enough freshness and overall energy to balance the more overt elements. Inky blue and purplish fruit, spices, new leather and savory herbs flesh out in a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend that is both opulent and also vibrant, with plenty of detail and nuance, not to mention enough underlying tannin to drink well for the better part of the next decade, perhaps longer. Most of this fruit emerges from Blair, a site in Calistoga. (AG)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)