I know I owe everyone Part 2 of my summer white wine drinking and I still intend on that being in print soon, but wanted to turn our focus back to red wine for a moment as I am absolutely ecstatic about our upcoming wine dinner on Aug. 15 with Realm Wine Cellars and owner Juan Mercardo at 7 p.m. at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Savannah.

I first met Juan about six years ago when I was managing a wholesaler called Juice Wine Purveyors. Our focus was small production, cult California wines. Our goal was to try and bring you the next great wave of cult wines before they had already been discovered and their prices rose into the stratosphere. Realm wines were, and still are, part of this wave of highly regarded California producers.

As told on their website, "Since its inception in 2002, Realm Cellars has been committed to a singular goal: Producing hand-crafted wines of superior quality from the finest vineyards in Napa Valley. Charged with discovering the possibilities within each vineyard, we aspire to create wines of authenticity and a sense of place. As we celebrate a decade in pursuit of this goal, we realize this is only the beginning of our journey. Guided by the same fundamental virtues, we believe the best is yet to come."

Realm's wines focus on the Bordeaux varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec making six red wines and only one white wine, a Sauvignon Blanc. Three of the wines are Bordeaux blends and three are single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons from some of the most esteemed vineyards such as Beckstoffer To Kalon, Farella Vineyard and the Dr. Crane Vineyard.

The most famous of these, To Kalon, is the same vineyard that has produced more Robert Parker 95+ rated wines than any other vineyard in the United States. Grapes from this vineyard are rare and their client list has some of the best and brightest wine talents in the United States, including Paul Hobbs, Luc Morlet, Schrader, Tor Kenward, and Realm.

Realm has quickly ascended to the top echelon of California producers under the guidance of Juan as well as his wine making team of Benoit Touquette and Michel Roland, of Bordeaux fame. These wines have received lofty praise from Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer and many publications such as "Wine Spectator." The wines are all produced in miniscule amounts and are very difficult to come by. Some, such as the Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon, are in the neighborhood of 250 cases of which only about 12-24 bottles make their way to Georgia.

On Aug. 15 we will welcome Juan and the Realm wines to Savannah in style with a five-course wine and food pairing featuring four of the wines from this winery. We will feature the Sauvignon Blanc, two red Bordeaux blends and one of the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. This will be a five-course food and wine pairing dinner for $100 per person and space is extremely limited. Please call the restaurant at 912-721-4800 for more information or to make your reservation. We hope you can join us in welcoming Realm Wines and owner Juan Mercardo to Savannah!

Douglas Snyder is a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Before relocating to Savannah, he was the import and pacific northwest manager for Juice Wine Purveyors, a wine wholesaler in North Carolina. He has more than 20 years' experience in the wine, spirits and hospitality industries. He is the wine director and general manager at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Savannah. His email address is dsnyder@rcsavannah.com.


The Wine Maven column appears monthly in DO. You can read Part 1 of his summer wine series at dosavannah.com.