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.
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.
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.
Average Bottle Price
|592€ +13.6%||521€ -7.8%||565€ +28.7%||439€ +6.8%||411€ +24.9%||329€|