x
  • Country ranking ?

    27
  • Producer ranking ?

    6
  • Decanting time

    1h30min
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Mature cheddar cheese

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 1992

1992
An average amount of rainfall (29 inches), much of it coming in February and March. An unusually early mid-March budbreak, and a May 16 bloom. Low- to mid-90° temperatures through July and August, with a few days reaching over 100°. Harvest began on August 25. In spite of sub-80° temperatures during the second week of September, the last pick took place on September 17. The average yield was about 2.2 tons per acre.

tasting notes
Deep, garnet-red color. A sweet nose of red fruits, toast, spice, and intriguing earth tones. Sweet on the palate, still quite opulent and rich with full body, well-integrated tannins and lingering flavors of earth, minerals, and mint. Seamless.
Accessible and elegant, this wine still shows real youthfulness and potential to improve.
Aromatically, it is somewhat reminiscent of Bordeaux. Drinking very nicely now, it should continue to develop and show well for another 10-15 years.

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2012 2010 2005
592€ +13.6% 521€ -7.8% 565€ +28.7% 439€ +6.8% 411€ +24.9% 329€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

11 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep and Brick red

ending

Long, Round and Extensive

flavors

Blackcurrant, Cedar, Vanilla, Tobacco, Pepper and Plum

nose

Intense, Complex, Opulent and Seductive

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, High tannin, Complex, Balanced, Perfectly balanced, Developing, Full-bodied, Elegant, Round, Rich, Medium-Dry and Hard tannins

Verdict

Fine

Written Notes

This is a big, powerful wine; although this magnum was opened for 24 hours, the flavours are still intact and closed. This is not one of Harlan's best vintages with flavours that are somewhat restrained. A serious wine that has substance and should be consumed now.

  • 90p
Deep, garnet-red color. A sweet nose of red fruits, toast, spice, and intriguing earth tones. Sweet on the palate, still quite opulent and rich with full body, well-integrated tannins and lingering flavors of earth, minerals, and mint. Seamless. Accessible and elegant, this wine still shows real youthfulness and potential to improve. Aromatically, it is somewhat reminiscent of Bordeaux. Drinking very nicely now, it should continue to develop and show well for another 10-15 years.
Tasted three times over the last year, of which two were in vertical tastings with at least five vintages each time. During these tastings, the 1992 Harlan Estate behaved as one of the most complete and complex wines, and – which is important to mention – one of the most Bordeaux like of all vintages ever made here. The nose it just stunning, still rich and deep, but with a wide spectrum of dried berries, leather, tobacco and sous bois (rather than barn yard). When tasted completely blind, I could swear it was either Château Latour or Château Haut Brion (1989 or 1990), even though there’s still a dash of sweetness in the end of the long finish. In my five to six year old notes, I gave the wine a perfect 100 point score – the reason for not doing that now it that the fruit has started to dry out a bit in the finish, while the structure still firm, but noble. I’d love to drink this wine again, in the years to come.
  • 98p

Information

Origin

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

1h

Drinking temperature

17

Inside Information

The newest release, the 1992, offers a dense purple color, and a splendid sweet nose of minerals, blackcurrants, toast, and spice. Opulent and rich, with full body, and well-integrated sweet tannin, this expansive yet graceful wine possesses layers of flavor that caress the palate. The wine is accessible, yet still youthful and unformed. It should drink well for 20+ years.
Dazzling wines! I urge interested readers to get their names on the winery's mailing list if they want to purchase these wines.
Since this wine debuted in 1990, Harlan Estate has produced one of California's most impressive Cabernet Sauvignons in each vintage of the nineties. The impressive mountainside vineyard is situated on the western side of Napa Valley, overlooking Martha's Vineyard. No compromises are made in producing this dazzling wine. Proprietor Bill Harlan, assisted by his winemaker, Bob Levy, and consulting oenologist, France's Michel Rolland, have turned out a wine of exquisite richness and complexity. The wine offers the intensity one expects from a top California Cabernet-based wine, yet it incorporates a sense of grace, complexity, and elegance that clearly places it in the top echelon of California wines. The 1991 Harlan Estate (which I enthusiastically extolled last year) was recently inserted as a ringer in a blind tasting of the top 1990 and 1989 Bordeaux. It scored impressively well against the likes of 1990 Latour, 1990 Margaux, and 1990 Petrus. I have no doubts that the 1992, 1993, and 1994 are also brilliant efforts. Harlan Estate's small production is slowly inching up, with 1,800-2,000 cases produced in both 1994 and 1995. The wine, which is reminiscent of a hypothetical blend of a great California Cabernet and equal parts La Mission-Haut-Brion, Cheval Blanc, and Mouton-Rothschild, is a must purchase for those with the requisite discretionary income and ability to track down a few bottles of this knock-out wine.

 

 

Wine Advocate #108
Dec 1996
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 96 Drink: 1996 - 2016 $825-$1041 (75)
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Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

90p
 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1992  ( Harlan Estate )

This is a big, powerful wine; although this magnum was opened for 24 hours, the flavours are still intact and closed. This is not one of Harlan's best vintages with flavours that are somewhat restrained. A serious wine that has substance and should be consumed now.

7m 23d ago

 Bob Levy / Harlan Estate, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1992  ( Harlan Estate )

"Deep, garnet-red color. A sweet nose of red fruits, toast, spice, and intriguing earth tones.
Sweet on the palate, still quite opulent and rich with full body, well-integrated tannins and
lingering flavors of earth, minerals, and mint. Seamless.
Accessible and elegant, this wine still shows real youthfulness and potential to improve.
Aromatically, it is somewhat reminiscent of Bordeaux. Drinking very nicely now, it should
continue to develop and show well for another 10-15 years.
"

1y 1m ago

98p
 Michel Jamais, Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1992  ( Harlan Estate )

"Tasted three times over the last year, of which two were in vertical tastings with at least five vintages each time. During these tastings, the 1992 Harlan Estate behaved as one of the most complete and complex wines, and – which is important to mention – one of the most Bordeaux like of all vintages ever made here. The nose it just stunning, still rich and deep, but with a wide spectrum of dried berries, leather, tobacco and sous bois (rather than barn yard). When tasted completely blind, I could swear it was either Château Latour or Château Haut Brion (1989 or 1990), even though there’s still a dash of sweetness in the end of the long finish. In my five to six year old notes, I gave the wine a perfect 100 point score – the reason for not doing that now it that the fruit has started to dry out a bit in the finish, while the structure still firm, but noble. I’d love to drink this wine again, in the years to come."

1y 7m ago

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