x
  • Country ranking ?

    1
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables

The Story

With the founding of Harlan Estate in 1984, we embarked upon our mission of creating a “first growth” of California. The estate’s early vineyard development began with just six acres. Today our planting is essentially complete, with nearly forty acres under vine to the classic varietals: cabernet sauvignon (70%), merlot (20%), cabernet franc (8%), and petit verdot (2%). Invariably, the finished wine is predominately cabernet sauvignon, which we blend with varying amounts of the other three varietals as we seek to express faithfully the unique and distinctive character of the site.

Modest quantities of wine were produced in 1987, 1988, and 1989 from grapes that represented the second, third, and fourth leaf of our estate vineyard. In each of those years a small number of barrels were produced in the hope of gaining a prescient glimpse into what the character of the land—never before cultivated—might have to offer. The wines were blended, bottled, and labeled with a special designation. Though charming in their own way, these first wines fell short of our standards and aspirations, so were never released. They continue to serve as humble reminders of where we began the journey.

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Vintage 1991

The winter rainfall was slightly below average and came late, mostly in March.
Budbreak began on April 7, with flowering on May 23. Temperatures through the end of July rarely broke 80°, apart from one short spike of 100°+ in early July. August and September brought continued, even heat, with several days topping 90°. Harvest began on September 23 and finished on October 18.The yields across all blocks averaged 2.1 tons per acre.

tasting notes
Good, deep color. A complex, slightly earthy, sweet mineral nose reminiscent of wild brush and undergrowth,glazed fruit,cedar,toasty vanilla,and ripe black currants.With aeration the aromatics grow significantly more multi-faceted, with distinct notes of celery and green olive.

Although still outsized in the mouth, it shows remarkable balance with plenty of sweet ripe fruit,enhanced by layers of green and black olives. The finish lingers on with smooth and noticeably ripe tannins.The 1991 has been tightly wound and slow to evolve for much of its life,yet this powerful vintage continues to develop slowly and gain in charm.Hold another 5 years, then drink for 15+ years.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full and Brick red

ending

Long, Lingering and Gentle

flavors

Meaty, Blackcurrant, Smoky, Tobacco, Blackberry and Cedar

nose

Intense and Complex

recommend

Yes

taste

Warming, Complex, Well-Integrated, Multi-dimensional, Full-bodied, Elegant, Rich, Ripe and Silky tannins

Written Notes

Decanted for one hour. The 1991 Harlan is a fabulous wine that more than lives up to the hype, if not exactly to its ludicrous price tag. The nose had the most complexity and meticulousness of all the wines tasted that evening. What a great mix of flavours: red cherries, damp earth, smoked meat, blueberries, dark plums and currants, minerals, sweet tobacco and a sophisticated dose of toasty oak. The texture was incredibly rich and meaty for a ’91, more so than one normally tastes in a wine from that vintage. Very massive and intense wine with elegant and super ripe finish. Delicious now.
  • 98p
Good, deep color. A complex, slightly earthy, sweet mineral nose reminiscent of wild brush and undergrowth, glazed fruit, cedar, toasty vanilla, and ripe black currants. With aeration the aromatics grow significantly more multi-faceted, with distinct notes of celery and green olive. Although still outsized in the mouth, it shows remarkable balance with plenty of sweet ripe fruit, enhanced by layers of green and black olives. The finish lingers on with smooth and noticeably ripe tannins. The 1991 has been tightly wound and slow to evolve for much of its life, yet this powerful vintage continues to develop slowly and gain in charm. Hold another 5 years, then drink for 15+ years.

Information

Origin

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

17

Inside Information

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

  This is a profoundly great wine. It came across in a blind tasting as one of the most remarkable wines there, with most tasters mistaking it for a first-growth Medoc. The wine revealed an opaque purple color, a fabulously complex, sweet nose of minerals, fruitcake, cedar, toasty new oak, and pure blackcurrant fruit. Although huge in the mouth, the wine is remarkably well-balanced, with its high tannin level well-concealed by copious quantities of sweet ripe fruit, as well as huge amounts of glycerin and extract. I have consistently rated the 1991 Harlan Estate in the mid to upper nineties, but in this blind tasting with so many high quality wines, it was a big-time winner. Approachable now, this wine should be at its best by the turn of the century and last for 2-3 decades.   (2/ 1997)

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

 Bob Levy / Harlan Estate, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1991  ( Harlan Estate )

"Good, deep color. A complex, slightly earthy, sweet mineral nose reminiscent of wild brush
and undergrowth, glazed fruit, cedar, toasty vanilla, and ripe black currants. With aeration the
aromatics grow significantly more multi-faceted, with distinct notes of celery and green olive.
Although still outsized in the mouth, it shows remarkable balance with plenty of sweet ripe
fruit, enhanced by layers of green and black olives. The finish lingers on with smooth and
noticeably ripe tannins.
The 1991 has been tightly wound and slow to evolve for much of its life, yet this powerful
vintage continues to develop slowly and gain in charm. Hold another 5 years, then drink
for 15+ years.
"

1y 16d ago

98p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1991  ( Harlan Estate )

"Decanted for one hour. The 1991 Harlan is a fabulous wine that more than lives up to the hype, if not exactly to its ludicrous price tag. The nose had the most complexity and meticulousness of all the wines tasted that evening. What a great mix of flavours: red cherries, damp earth, smoked meat, blueberries, dark plums and currants, minerals, sweet tobacco and a sophisticated dose of toasty oak. The texture was incredibly rich and meaty for a ’91, more so than one normally tastes in a wine from that vintage. Very massive and intense wine with elegant and super ripe finish. Delicious now."

2y 7m ago

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