Behind the Label: Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Franc Vineyard

December 2nd, 2020

The Name
Beckstoffer To Kalon is the vineyard in the Oakville AVA from which we source this single vineyard Cabernet Franc. Planted in 1868 and now owned by Andy Beckstoffer, the vineyard’s name, To Kalon, is a Greek term which means “ideal physical or moral beauty.” There are only a few rows of Cabernet Franc in To Kalon. 2015 was the first year Realm created a fine wine from this fruit.

The Label
A close-up of an original 19th century steel engraving, the label depicts the eye of Alexander Hamilton. The engraving, sourced via auction by Napa Valley designer, Chuck House, was thus described in the catalogue: Alexander Hamilton (1757 - 1804) U.S. Treasury secretary, 1789 - 95. Revolutionary War captain and aide-de-camp to General George Washington. Killed in a duel with Aaron Burr on July 11, 1804. Eng'd by H.B. Hall, Jr., N.Y., D. Appleton & Co.

Why Alexander Hamilton? Here Chuck explains how Realm conceived of the Alexander Hamilton connection, and how it manifested itself on the To Kalon Cabernet Franc label:

"Alexander Hamilton, like Cabernet Franc, never got the credit he deserved. Cabernet Franc is the 'parent grape' to Cabernet Sauvignon, but it always plays second fiddle. It's a blender. It will never be the king of grapes. But that doesn't imply that it cannot stand on its own, as the Realm Cabernet Franc makes abundantly clear. Among other things, Hamilton created the U.S. national bank. And of course it is his image that appears on the US ten-dollar bill. This made the connection with the To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon label, which features an image of Maria Montessori from an Italian 1000 Lira note, such a logical fit. A wide-ranging search for source materials unearthed an original 19th-century steel engraving that complements the look of the To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon label quite nicely, just as the grapes themselves form a natural partnership in a Cabernet blend. The two labels therefore reflect the grapes’ traditional ‘blending’ partnership, but also their ability to stand confidently on their own, as labels and as wines.

Always, a wine label should be a window into the world of the wine itself. As with all Realm wines, there is more to them than meets the eye!”

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