Realm The Absurd 2017
|Region||California, Napa Valley|
Winemaker Benoit Touquette, owner Scott Becker and consultant Michel Rolland had a debate about whether to make a 2017 The Absurd-the estate's über-blend of the best elements from that vintage. In the end, they made just two barrels. As per usual, they do not declare what the grape varieties or vineyards are that compose this blend. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs a little swirling to coax out notions of ripe, juicy blackcurrants, black plums and warm blueberries, plus hints of licorice, unsmoked cigars and tilled black soil. Full-bodied, the palate has a solid structure of firm, finely-grained tannins and compelling freshness supporting the tightly wound, earthy layers, finishing long with loads of persistent, soft-spoken nuances. A little restrained and still incredibly youthful, it will need a good 3-5 years in bottle to begin to unfurl and should cellar for at least 30 years after that.
The 2017 Absurd is a tiny blend of the best lots in the cellar. Stylistically, The Absurd is a bit lighter than most Realm wines, but that is to be expected for a wine made only from pre-fire fruit. Like many top estates, Realm harvests over a range of ripeness levels and then blends those lots to achieve complexity. In essence, the 2017 Absurd was made only from the first half of the harvest, when ripeness levels were a bit lower than they would have been later on in the season. Wines like this need time in bottle to beat their most expressive. I have no doubt that will be the case here as well, but readers need to be patient, as the 2017 Absurd doesn't have that sort of immediacy and voluptuousness in its youth than Realm fans have come to expect. Even so, it is striking. Realm does not disclose the sites in the Absurd blend, but there are plenty of clues in the red berry fruit, blood orange and floral nuances, all enveloped in a caress of silky tannins.