100 Parker Points: The prodigious 2007 Harlan Estate reminds me of a hypothetical blend of the 2002 with a touch of the controversial 1997. Dense plum/purple-colored with sweet aromas of barbecue smoke, blueberries, blackberries, cassis, licorice, hot rocks and subtle oak, it is a splendidly opulent, pure wine with a skyscraper-like texture as well as stunningly deep fruit that expands gracefully across the palate. The finish lasts nearly a full minute. Because of its overwhelming richness and sweet tannins, this brilliant wine seems to be approachable now, but I suspect further nuances and complexity will emerge after 4-5 years in the bottle. This wine will still be going strong at age 25-30. Like the offerings from its sister estate, Bond, these Harlan Estate offerings are uncompromisingly brilliant examples of Napa viticulture and winemaking at its finest. Kudos to proprietor Bill Harlan.
Run by Bill Harlan, Harlan Estate’s debut vintage was 1990. The second wine culled out from this extraordinary estate’s barrels is called The Maiden, with a production generally under 2,000 cases,. Yet it often represents 50% of the estate’s production given the Draconian selection process employed at Harlan.
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.
A superb growing season. Lower-than-normal rainfall (21 inches),mostly late in the winter.
Spring was dry. Budbreak occurred April 17. A cool summer (only two days over 100° degrees and just twenty-six days over 90°) followed by an even cooler September,which allowed for a slow and deliberate ripening and a very reasonable harvest pace (September 4 through October 11).
We managed optimal maturity in most all of the lots, yielding 2.2 tons per acre, on average.
The master blend, still in barrels pending bottling in February of 2010,is extremely attractive now, possessing all the hallmark attributes: lavish aromatics, classically structured mouthfeel,and supple texture.
This very promising vintage will be among our very best offerings.
Average Bottle Price
|904€ +1.6%||890€ +0.5%||886€ +7.9%||821€ +4.7%||784€ -28.6%||1 098€|