I believe the 2001 Harlan Estate and 2002 Harlan Estate’s 100 point scores represent the first time I have given perfect ratings to two successive wines produced in the New World. However, the styles of the two wines couldn’t be more different as each reflects its particular vintage. The 2001 is a classic, long-lived, backward wine with most of its potential concealed at present. On the other hand, it is impossible to resist the flamboyant, extroverted 2002 Harlan Estate’s charm, richness, and overall seductive personality. This profoundly complex wine exhibits notes of cedar, black currant liqueur, scorched earth, smoke, and graphite. Incredibly broad, sweet, full-bodied, opulent, and voluptuous, it literally has everything one could ever want in a great Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine. Already drinkable, it promises to evolve effortlessly for 25-30 years. This prodigious offering is worth mortgaging the farm!
Bill Harlan, winemaker Bob Levy and consulting oenologist Michel Rolland have achieved spectacular results in an amazingly short time at this estate in the western hills overlooking the Oakville corridor. The introduction of a second wine, The Maiden, has allowed this team to ratchet up the level of the grand cru. From over 40 acres of vineyard, only 1,500-1,600 cases of Harlan Estate and 800 cases of The Maiden are produced. In order to keep quality at such an extraordinary level, I suspect production will never go much higher.
|Wine Advocate #162
|Robert M. Parker, Jr.||100||Drink: 2005 - 2035||$850-$1748|
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.
Coming off a drier-than-normal winter, a somewhat early budbreak began april 1. tempera- tures throughout spring and into the summer were erratic, with rain off and on through the end of May. Well-above-average temperatures alternated with lower-than-average daytime temperatures throughout most of the summer. hot days in early september brought on a rapid onset of harvest. temperatures moderated somewhat, then rose into the upper 90°s for several days in the third week of september and enabled ideal maturity. harvest was short and sweet, spanning from september 16 to October 11. the hotter, shorter ripening period produced very concentrated, powerful, and exuberant wines. average yield: 1.5 tons per acre.
Deep, dark color—almost black. Classic cabernet sauvignon varietal nose, with notes of cedar, sage, mocha, black currant, smoke, and graphite. shows explosive flavors of ripe fruit and earth notes with great density and complexity. Very dense, powerful, and rich. Backing up the ripe fruit flavors are uncommon layers of depth that keep going and going.
this is an opulent vintage showing a super-ripe richness, fruit, and purity, as well as a finely honed texture. noble tannins, flamboyant flavors, and an open-knit structure allow for both near-term enjoyment and the prospect of long-term aging. hold 2-5 years and then drink for 30+ years.
Average Bottle Price
|921€ +3.1%||893€ +4.8%||852€ +12.7%||756€ +14.7%||659€ -6.3%||703€ -1.1%||711€|