100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
As I predicted last year, the 2013 Harlan Estate is one of their all-time greats, although they have had many of them, starting with the 1991, followed by 1994, 1995, 1997 (although controversial in some circles), 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012. This great first-growth property, with aspirations to produce the finest Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine made in the New World, has given us a wine that has it all in 2013. Dense purple to the rim, with notes of espresso, white chocolate, mocha, blackberry, cassis, and cedar wood, the wine is full-bodied, opulent, but also structured, pure and incredibly long (well past a minute aftertaste). It is probably closest in personality and overall character to the compelling 2001, which is still a youthful wine at age 15. Drink it over the next 50+ years. (RP) (10/2016)
95 points Wine Spectator
A muscular, chunky, chewy, extracted style, with remarkable fruit purity, featuring deep, penetrating blackberry, wild berry, blueberry and currant flavors. Gains a crushed rock minerality, but the fruit never lets up. Ends with firm tannins. (JL) (11/2016)
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.