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.
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.
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.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|978€ +1.3%||965€ +2.8%||939€ +15.6%||812€ -14.8%||953€ +35.9%||701€|