x
  • Country ranking ?

    286
  • Producer ranking ?

    20
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Herb Roasted Prime Rib

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 1995

1995

An extremely wet winter, with 25 days of rain in January, followed by 18.5 inches in March.
Late March budbreak, and bloom on May 31. Persistent rainfall caused considerable shatter in the clusters. Summer temperatures served up “ripening weather” and produced a phenolically mature crop.
Harvest began on September 5 and ended on the 26, yielding 2.0 tons per acre.

tasting notes

Very dark, deep-ruby color. Aromatics include coffee bean, toasty smoky notes, and vanilla, black and blue fruits, earth, mineral notes, herbs, dried sage, and green olive, showing nuanced bottle bouquet. The mouth entry is full and fleshy, with spectacular purity through the midpalate; layers of ripe fruit flavors, black olive, and spice. Elegant and long.

Very showy and hedonistic when first released, the voluptuousness and lush fruit of its youth has retreated sufficiently to reveal a complex expression of the site-distinctive, earthy character. Drinkability: now to 20+ years.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

18 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep and Ruby red

ending

Medium, Extensive and Pure

flavors

Toasty, Smoky, Earthy, Tobacco, Blackcurrant and Coffee

nose

Intense, Complex, Fresh and Refined

recommend

Yes

taste

High alcohol content, High tannin, Complex, Well-structured, Balanced, Developing, Full-bodied, Round, Rich, Elegant, Dry and Hard tannins

Verdict

Exotic and Impressive

Written Notes

A ripe, generous, concentrated wine from a cool vintage. Still youthful and vibrant, the 1995 Harlan is one of the most dense and rich among 16 other Napa Cabernets tasted together. There is no mistaking the Harlan signature hallmark of incredible density and power. It is still youthful and is only just beginning to open up. Firm tannins and dark fruits define this vintage, but there is a freshness here that is wonderful and adds to the wine's appeal. One with a long life ahead.

  • 95p

(99 points) The 1995 Proprietary Red Wine is almost as perfect as the 1994. It has gotten even better in the bottle, and remains one of the most remarkable young Cabernet Sauvignons I have tasted. The wine, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, was aged in 100% new oak, which adds subtle pain grille/toasty scents. This opaque purple-colored Cabernet offers up a nose of smoke, coffee beans, black and blue fruits, minerals, and roasted herbs. It is extremely full-bodied, with spectacular purity, exquisite equilibrium, and a seamless personality with everything in total harmony. The finish lasts for more than 40 seconds. This extravagantly rich, profoundly complex 1995 will give its 1994 sibling a run for its money. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2027.

Proprietor Bill Harlan, his winemaker, Bob Levy, and consultant, Frenchman Michel Rolland continue to produce what may be the single most profound wine in California. This wine possesses all the elements of greatness - individuality, power combined with elegance, extraordinary complexity, remarkable aging potential, and compelling richness without ponderousness. The vintages produced to date give signs of improving in the bottle for 20-30 years. In 1995, a second wine, which has not yet been named, has been produced, which allows the selection process to be even more severe once the 35-acre vineyard is in full production. Recent production has been 1,500 cases for the 1994, 1,200 cases for the 1995, 1,500 for the 1996, and approximately 2,500 cases for the 1997. Many readers who have been on the waiting list for Harlan Estate may finally receive an allocation in 1997. This year produced the highest yields to date (a still modest 2.7 tons per acre) at this hillside vineyard.

  • 97p
Very dark, deep-ruby color. Aromatics include coffee bean, toasty smoky notes, and vanilla, black and blue fruits, earth, mineral notes, herbs, dried sage, and green olive, showing nuanced bottle bouquet. The mouth entry is full and fleshy, with spectacular purity through the midpalate; layers of ripe fruit flavors, black olive, and spice. Elegant and long. Very showy and hedonistic when first released, the voluptuousness and lush fruit of its youth has retreated sufficiently to reveal a complex expression of the site-distinctive, earthy character. Drinkability: now to 20+ years.

Information

Origin

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

The 1995 Proprietary Red Wine is almost as perfect as the 1994. It has gotten even better in the bottle, and remains one of the most remarkable young Cabernet Sauvignons I have tasted. The wine, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, was aged in 100% new oak, which adds subtle pain grille/toasty scents. This opaque purple-colored Cabernet offers up a nose of smoke, coffee beans, black and blue fruits, minerals, and roasted herbs. It is extremely full-bodied, with spectacular purity, exquisite equilibrium, and a seamless personality with everything in total harmony. The finish lasts for more than 40 seconds. This extravagantly rich, profoundly complex 1995 will give its 1994 sibling a run for its money. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2027.

Proprietor Bill Harlan, his winemaker, Bob Levy, and consultant, Frenchman Michel Rolland continue to produce what may be the single most profound wine in California. This wine possesses all the elements of greatness - individuality, power combined with elegance, extraordinary complexity, remarkable aging potential, and compelling richness without ponderousness. The vintages produced to date give signs of improving in the bottle for 20-30+ years. In 1995, a second wine, which has not yet been named, has been produced, which allows the selection process to be even more severe once the 35-acre vineyard is in full production. Recent production has been 1,500 cases for the 1994, 1,200 cases for the 1995, 1,500 for the 1996, and approximately 2,500 cases for the 1997. Many readers who have been on the waiting list for Harlan Estate may finally receive an allocation in 1997. This year produced the highest yields to date (a still modest 2.7 tons per acre) at this hillside vineyard.

 

 

Wine Advocate #120
Dec 1998
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 99 Drink: 2001 - 2027 $789-$1475 (110)
Read more

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Wine Moments

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

95p
 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1995  ( Harlan Estate )

A ripe, generous, concentrated wine from a cool vintage. Still youthful and vibrant, the 1995 Harlan is one of the most dense and rich among 16 other Napa Cabernets tasted together. There is no mistaking the Harlan signature hallmark of incredible density and power. It is still youthful and is only just beginning to open up. Firm tannins and dark fruits define this vintage, but there is a freshness here that is wonderful and adds to the wine's appeal. One with a long life ahead.

7m 23d ago

97p
 Toshi Nakamoto, Sommelier (Japan)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1995  ( Harlan Estate )

(99 points) The 1995 Proprietary Red Wine is almost as perfect as the 1994. It has gotten even better in the bottle, and remains one of the most remarkable young Cabernet Sauvignons I have tasted. The wine, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, was aged in 100% new oak, which adds subtle pain grille/toasty scents. This opaque purple-colored Cabernet offers up a nose of smoke, coffee beans, black and blue fruits, minerals, and roasted herbs. It is extremely full-bodied, with spectacular purity, exquisite equilibrium, and a seamless personality with everything in total harmony. The finish lasts for more than 40 seconds. This extravagantly rich, profoundly complex 1995 will give its 1994 sibling a run for its money. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2027.

Proprietor Bill Harlan, his winemaker, Bob Levy, and consultant, Frenchman Michel Rolland continue to produce what may be the single most profound wine in California. This wine possesses all the elements of greatness - individuality, power combined with elegance, extraordinary complexity, remarkable aging potential, and compelling richness without ponderousness. The vintages produced to date give signs of improving in the bottle for 20-30 years. In 1995, a second wine, which has not yet been named, has been produced, which allows the selection process to be even more severe once the 35-acre vineyard is in full production. Recent production has been 1,500 cases for the 1994, 1,200 cases for the 1995, 1,500 for the 1996, and approximately 2,500 cases for the 1997. Many readers who have been on the waiting list for Harlan Estate may finally receive an allocation in 1997. This year produced the highest yields to date (a still modest 2.7 tons per acre) at this hillside vineyard.

9m 6d ago

 Bob Levy / Harlan Estate, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1995  ( Harlan Estate )

"Very dark, deep-ruby color. Aromatics include coffee bean, toasty smoky notes, and vanilla,
black and blue fruits, earth, mineral notes, herbs, dried sage, and green olive, showing nuanced
bottle bouquet. The mouth entry is full and fleshy, with spectacular purity through the midpalate;
layers of ripe fruit flavors, black olive, and spice. Elegant and long.
Very showy and hedonistic when first released, the voluptuousness and lush fruit of its
youth has retreated sufficiently to reveal a complex expression of the site-distinctive, earthy
character. Drinkability: now to 20+ years.
"

1y 1m ago

98p
 Michel Jamais, Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1995  ( Harlan Estate )

"Well, there’s actually nothing to complain about here – 1995 in general has given me many memorable wines in Napa Valley – the only reason for not giving this a perfect score, is because I’ve had it next to the glorious 1994 vintage twice. For some reason, the 1995 vintage is a forgotten one, and I can only explain it with the fact it came within great strike of vintages of 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994, and then the 1997 and 1999. The 1995 growing season was warm, which is noted in the wine’s ripe and dark fruitiness (cassis, blueberries and blackberries), which shows a hint of sweetness, as well as in the slightly higher alcohol. With age, this wine have now developed more noble aromas of cedar, graphite and sous bois, and that fine grassy harlanesque note I find so attractive.
This is a splendid wine, one of the best I’ve tasted from this surprisingly underrated vintage. Given its structure and still vital fruit, it will hold up for many more years in the cellar. I would actually decant it at least 30 minutes (or more) prior to serving it today."

1y 7m ago

88p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1995  ( Harlan Estate )

"Deepish ruby, garnet rim. Perfumed and outlandish nose, rich, massive, hugely intense. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, again huge and massive, pushes and pushes, a bling wine, showy without too much inside it. Rich and slightly burning finish (14,5%). "

4y 8m ago

82p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1995  ( Harlan Estate )

"Deep ruby, garnet rim. Rich, hugely intense, vanilla, massive, scented like a tax free shop, all over the place. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, massive body, almost cooked, Gangnam style wine! According to PSY. the man behind the hit Gangnam style, that means to dress classy and dance cheesy. From the urban dictionary cheesy means: 'Trying too hard, unsubtle, and inauthentic. Specifically that which is unsubtle or inauthentic in its way of trying to elicit a certain response from a viewer, listener, audience, etc. Celine Dion is cheesy because her lyrics, timbre, key changes, and swelling orchestral accompaniment telegraph 'i want you to be moved' instead of moving you. Gold chains on an exposed hairy chest are cheesy because they shout out: "I have money and I am manly" instead of impressing a woman in a more subtle way, or allowing a woman to form her own judgments. The excessive showing off suggests he's compensating for what he does not have--i.e., he's actually poor, insecure, or short with an inferiority complex.' Burning alcoholic finish.... "

4y 9m ago

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