x
  • Country ranking ?

    45
  • Producer ranking ?

    8
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Grilled NY Strip Steak With Spring Garlic Butter

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 1997

Copious winter rains through January, slowing through the spring, set the stage for a late-March budbreak. Temperatures hovered between 80° and 90° from May into september, with only 33 days topping 90°. scant rain in early september, followed by some days with elevated temps. harvest concluded september 26. average yield was 2.75 tons per acre.

tasting notes

Color very dense, nearly opaque. Very ripe, concentrated aromatics of vanilla, minerals, coffee, blackberries, licorice, cassis, prune, and shoyu, with high notes of bright red and black fruits behind. the flavors are very thick, ripe, layered, and supple on the palate, with tremendous power and density. the flavor profile is broad, jammy—almost confectionary—and very complex, yet displaying a balance of acidity. tannins and alcohol harmonize to show an uncommon richness.

a big vintage with a big personality—at times problematic, at other times brilliant—even better now, having emerged from a period of metamorphosis. Drink with hearty food now and for the next 30 years.

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2012 2010 2005
978€ +1.3% 965€ +2.8% 939€ +15.6% 812€ -14.8% 953€ +35.9% 701€

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

15 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Bright

ending

Long, Lingering, Pure and Acidic

flavors

Blackcurrant, Cardamom, Coffee, Cigar-box, Leather and Tobacco

nose

Fresh, Generous, Complex and Intense

recommend

Yes

taste

High in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Concentrated, Perfectly balanced, Unbalanced, Full-bodied, Elegant, Rich, Focused, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Masterpiece and Faulty

Written Notes

Had tons of milk chocolate in its nose but was clearly not as good as the 1994. There were intense walls of alcohol to get over to get into this humongous, massive wine. It was not that drinkable at the moment, perhaps that moment, but the wine certainly had more 'oomph' than the '94. Comparatively unready, the 1997 did make a good case that it might outlive the 1994, though
  • 95p

This wine is gorgeous and perfect because it is filled with contradictions. The aroma is alluring and pulls you in; then on the palate there is a surprising delicacy in the texture. While it is rich and powerful, the texture is fine and without excessive weight. The mid palate is almost gentle then the flavours rise in the finish. An extraordinary wine that is drinking beautifully now but is still extremely young.

  • 100p
Color very dense, nearly opaque. Very ripe, concentrated aromatics of vanilla, minerals, coffee, blackberries, licorice, cassis, prune, and shoyu, with high notes of bright red and black fruits behind. The flavors are very thick, ripe, layered, and supple on the palate, with tremendous power and density. The flavor profile is broad, jammy—almost confectionary—and very complex, yet displaying a balance of acidity. Tannins and alcohol harmonize to show an uncommon richness. A big vintage with a big personality—at times problematic, at other times brilliant—even better now, having emerged from a period of metamorphosis. Drink with hearty food now and for the next 30 years.

Information

Origin

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Best buy

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

The 1997 Harlan Estate is one of the greatest Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines I have ever tasted. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this enormously-endowed, profoundly rich wine must be tasted to be believed. Opaque purple-colored, it boasts spectacular, soaring aromatics of vanilla, minerals, coffee, blackberries, licorice, and cassis. In the mouth, layer after layer unfold powerfully yet gently. Acidity, tannin, and alcohol are well-balanced by the wine's unreal richness and singular personality. The finish exceeds one minute. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2030.

 

 

Wine Advocate #132
Dec 2000
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 Drink: 2001 - 2030 $1195-$2148 (150)
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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.

100p
 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1997  ( Harlan Estate )

This wine is gorgeous and perfect because it is filled with contradictions. The aroma is alluring and pulls you in; then on the palate there is a surprising delicacy in the texture. While it is rich and powerful, the texture is fine and without excessive weight. The mid palate is almost gentle then the flavours rise in the finish. An extraordinary wine that is drinking beautifully now but is still extremely young.

7m 23d ago

 Bob Levy / Harlan Estate, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1997  ( Harlan Estate )

"Color very dense, nearly opaque. Very ripe, concentrated aromatics of vanilla, minerals, coffee,
blackberries, licorice, cassis, prune, and shoyu, with high notes of bright red and black fruits
behind. The flavors are very thick, ripe, layered, and supple on the palate, with tremendous
power and density. The flavor profile is broad, jammy—almost confectionary—and very
complex, yet displaying a balance of acidity. Tannins and alcohol harmonize to show an
uncommon richness.
A big vintage with a big personality—at times problematic, at other times brilliant—even
better now, having emerged from a period of metamorphosis. Drink with hearty food now and
for the next 30 years.
"

1y 1m ago

98p
 Michel Jamais, Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1997  ( Harlan Estate )

"Already at harvest, the1997 vintage was called the “vintage of the century”, and at Harlan Estate they made one of the most impressive wines ever made in this part of the valley. Some critics gave it a perfect 100 point score – other rejected the wine and called it “too much”. And too much it was. When I tasted it the first time just after release, the overly high alcohol and super ripe fruit (almost sweet) reminded me of a vintage port från Taylor’s. Not too bad to be a “regular wine”, but to be honest, not so complex. Still I liked it, in a way.
Over the last four or five years, I have tasted it a couple of times, and to my surprise the wine have become more and more complex (although I liked the wine from the beginning, I didn’t believe it could evolve in this direction – it was too ripe for that I thought). The ripe and lush fruit is still there, but it has calmed down a bit and I actually found the wine to be elegant. To a certain extent it can be explained by the fact that some of the sweetness started to dry out a few years ago, but most of all because there’s an almost perfect balance of primary fruit flavors and seductive secondary aromas. There’s enough tannin to add some structure to promise some more years of bottle age, but rather would rather describe the taste as silky than structured. Some sommeliers I poured this wine to at a dinner party, told me it was their “wine of the year”. It’s easy to see what they liked about it. Based on the fact that I have had it side by side with other great vintages of Harlan Estate, I will not give it a perfect score, just almost that!"

1y 7m ago

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Harlan Estate 1997  ( Harlan Estate )

"Had tons of milk chocolate in its nose but was clearly not as good as the 1994. There were intense walls of alcohol to get over to get into this humongous, massive wine. It was not that drinkable at the moment, perhaps that moment, but the wine certainly had more 'oomph' than the '94. Comparatively unready, the 1997 did make a good case that it might outlive the 1994, though "

4y 8m ago

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