x
  • Country ranking ?

    438
  • Producer ranking ?

    24
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Veal Chops in Rich Marsala Sauce

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 2000

2000
A normal budbreak and average winter rainfall set the stage for a somewhat early harvest,but those plans were modified by cooler than-normal summer temperatures.

Some days in June and September broke 100°, but most of the growing season hovered below 80° highs (and those highs didn’t hold for very many hours throughout the day).

Consequently, harvest was a long, drawn-out affair,beginning September 11 with the youngest merlot vines and continuing in fits and starts through October 24.

Average yield: 2 tons per acre.

tasting notes

Color is medium-dark red. Aromatically there are pronounced notes of roasted coffee, black
currants, cedar, tobacco and ripe fruit.

An almost confectionery quality comes through, as well, and shows the beginning signs of bottle bouquet with the associated complex, ripe-fruit aromatics.

The wine shows real elegance on the palate, a focused purity of fruit, silky textured mid-palate, and soft, layered tannins. The distinctive, wild finish is supple and persistent.

A very enticing wine with balance and a high pleasure factor. A good candidate for current
and near-term drinking, it seems age-worthy for another 7-10 years.

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Tasting note

color

Deep and Ruby red

ending

Long, Smooth and Extensive

flavors

Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Toasty, Vanilla, Chocolate and Spice

nose

Intense, Opulent, Complex and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, High alcohol content, High tannin, Concentrated, Balanced, Well-structured, Youthful, Medium-bodied, Rich, Elegant and Silky tannins

Verdict

Well-rounded and Fine

Written Notes

The seventh wine ended up being my own personal favorite, which carried it to a fifth place finish on the panel with seven votes. The group also had it in fifth place with 62 votes. It was another exotic nose with huge jasmine and exotic Asian spices on the nose and some lingonberry syrup action. Gingerbread and yes, pina colada, danced around my nostrils in an awe-inspiring, Amazonian way. The palate was enormous; huge, mouthfilling, long and longer. The palate was extraordinary and enormous, a King Kong amongst gorillas. The funny thing about this wine is that a friend of mine, whose palate I respect, had the wine the week before and trashed it
  • 97p
A normal budbreak and average winter rainfall set the stage for a somewhat early harvest, but those plans were modified by cooler-than-normal summer temperatures. Some days in June and September broke 100°, but most of the growing season hovered below 80° highs (and those highs didn’t hold for very many hours throughout the day). Consequently, harvest was a long, drawn-out affair, beginning September 11 with the youngest merlot vines and continuing in fits and starts through October 24. Average yield: 2 tons per acre. tasting notes Color is medium-dark red. Aromatically there are pronounced notes of roasted coffee, black currants, cedar, tobacco and ripe fruit. An almost confectionery quality comes through, as well, and shows the beginning signs of bottle bouquet with the associated complex, ripe-fruit aromatics. The wine shows real elegance on the palate, a focused purity of fruit, silky textured mid-palate, and soft, layered tannins. The distinctive, wild finish is supple and persistent. A very enticing wine with balance and a high pleasure factor. A good candidate for current and near-term drinking, it seems age-worthy for another 7-10 years.

Information

Origin

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

I have never been totally convinced by the 2000 Harlan Estate, but now that it’s in bottle, it is a very fine offering. The problem is that it must be compared with the other Harlan Estate wines made to date. A Graves-like perfume of roasted coffee, scorched earth, black currants, cedar, and a hint of menthol emerge from this dense dark ruby/purple-colored 2000. Lighter than normal, but medium to full-bodied and elegant, with soft tannin as well as a silky, precocious personality and texture, it can be drunk now and over the next 12 years. 

Harlan Estate and its perfectionist owner, Bill Harlan, who is backed up by the peerless team of Michel Rolland and Bob Levy, is truly an estate of monumental aspirations that more often than not hits the proverbial bull’s eye. None of the wines produced since 1990 has yet reached full maturity. While the 2000 is their lightest vintage to date, it is no wimpy wine. As I have written so many times before, what makes Harlan such a singular tasting experience is that while it is a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated offering from the hillsides above the Oakville Corridor, and it obviously has the power and extraordinary ripeness afforded by Napa Valley’s favorable viticultural climate, it has a degree of complexity that is only shared by a handful of other California Cabernet-based wines, and the finest Bordeaux. Harlan Estate represents exactly what a genius owner, who suffers no fools, and refuses to make any compromises, is capable of achieving ... is that a surprise?
 

Wine Advocate #150
Dec 2003
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 91 Drink: 2003 - 2015 $465-$800 (210)
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