x
  • Country ranking ?

    4
  • Producer ranking ?

    2
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

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.

Score: 100 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (227), October 2016

A candidate for perfection is the 2013 Harlan Estate. This compelling wine, with notes of graphite, spring flowers, cedar wood, Christmas fruitcake, mocha, blackberry and cassis fruit, the wine hits the palate with a thunderous cascade of extract, richness, full body, and stunning purity and equilibrium. Of course, this wine gets treated like a pampered child, with no compromises, and is made to reflect its great terroir on the western Mayacamas hillsides overlooking the Oakville corridor. This is a killer wine and, of the more modern day vintages, is probably closest to the style of 2001. Truly legendary stuff, and world-class in every sense – aromatically, flavor-wise, and in aging potential – this is another statuesque, prodigious effort from Bill Harlan and his winemaking team. Drink it over the next 50+ years.

Score: 99/100 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (221), October 2015

This is really sensational with such precision and focus. Glorious aromas of tar, graphite, black currants and blackberry. Full-bodied, very tight and reserved. Phenomenal tannic structure that is supple and wonderful. This new classicism makes me speechless. 100 percent pleasure. Drinkable but built for aging.

Score: 100 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2016

The 2013 Harlan Estate has really shut down since I tasted it from barrel a year ago. Dark, powerful and brooding, with plenty of tannic grip, the 2013 is a wine to buy and forget about for at least a few years. Black fruit, graphite, violet smoke and licorice are some of the signatures, but, here, too, the wine belongs to the future. I wouldn't dream of opening a bottle before its tenth birthday. The Harlan Estate is one of the most finessed - if not the most finessed 2013 - readers will taste. This is a stunningly beautiful, vivid wine.

Score: 99 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, December 2016

The 2012 Harlan Estate is striking in its beauty. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, mint and new leather are all laced together in a Harlan Estate endowed with a compelling interplay of energy and nuance. This is an especially showy, radiant Harlan Estate that is likely to offer a wide window of pure drinking pleasure. The 2012 is not a big wine, but rather a Harlan Estate built on finesse.

Score: 97 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, October 2015

(this wine had been racked to tank on the morning of my visit): Full, bright ruby. Superripe, slightly high-toned aromas of cassis, blackberry and licorice, with a brightening note of minerality. Silky, dense and large-scaled but extremely primary and imploded, showing outstanding cut and lift to its dark berry and mineral flavors. A juicy minty note gives additional lift to this seriously plush, concentrated wine. Finishes with huge but noble tongue-saturating tannins and outstanding length. Great potential here.

Score: 95/97
 

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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 2013

2013 -A seamless year of steady weather and optimal ripening brings in above average yields and excellent quality fine wine grapes

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) reports that the region’s winemakers expect to be done with the 2013 harvest within the next week. “Early, even and excellent” are three words being used to describe this year’s growing season and the Napa Valley wine grapes that have come from it, reflecting the consistent quality for which this world famous wine region is known.


A warm, dry spring brought early bud break, helped with canopy vigor and berry size and created ideal conditions for flowering and fruit set under sunny skies. With the exception of one heat spike in late June/early July, temperatures were consistently in the zone for optimal vine activity, resulting in notably healthy vines as fruit went through veraison and started ripening. 

The August 1 start of harvest was the earliest in recent history. White wine grapes came in at a furious pace throughout that month, moving on to lighter reds by early September. Two brief mid-September rains had virtually no impact on the grapes. The vast majority of the more delicate skinned grapes had already been harvested and sunny weather with breezes followed the rains, allowing for the mostly Cabernet Sauvignon that remained to dry out almost immediately. The cooler, sunny weather throughout October allowed the final grapes still on the vine to linger longer, developing more phenolic and flavor maturities with sugar levels remaining steady. 

As this harvest comes to a close, it is about two weeks earlier than other Napa Valley harvests in the last decade. Yields on the whole have been above average.

“In a nutshell, this vintage has given us the extraordinary gift of enabling us to pick exactly what we wanted, when we wanted, at perfect ripeness and ideal hang time,” noted Paul Colantuoni, winemaker at Rocca Family Vineyards.

Winemakers from around the valley agree the 2013 vintage holds exceptional promise and potential and exceeded expectations following on the heels of 2012 – another year that has been described as “nearly perfect.”

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

24 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Bright

ending

Endless, Extensive and Flavorful

nose

Intense, Complex, Fresh and Generous

recommend

Yes

taste

Perfectly balanced, Well-Integrated, Complex, Full-bodied, Focused, Fresh, Fragrant and Silky tannins

Verdict

Intelligent and Outstanding

Written Notes

Good looking normal size bottle, in an perfect condition and has by the neck level. Colour is ruby red, and looking bright, deep and youthful . On the nose it is open, intense, fresh, complex, generous and rich. The taste is fresh, focused, fragrant, refined, with silky tannins, full-bodied, with well-integrated, perfectly balanced and complex structure. The finish is endless, flavorful, vibrant and extensive. This wine is intelligent, outstanding and masterpiece. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 20-30 years and decant at least 2h before tasting. Good value for money. I do recommend.
  • 98p

Deep, intense, ruby red colour. Captivating, super deep, perfumey and rich nose, filled with dark chocolate and ripe black fruits – cherries, brambles, blackcurrants. On the palate wine fills the mouth with velvety texture, ripe black fruits and dark mocha flavours. The tannins are polished and powdery. The toasty flavours are gentle showing  plethora of spices. Everlasting long and velvety finish. So tender wine that is drinking so well already, but has immense ageing potential for next 20 to 30 years!

  • 99p

Harlan Estate 2013 /Dark brooding blackberry, forest fruit and tobacco flavors - there is more density here than in the 2012. This is a powerful, dense, intense Harlan that will take time to unfold but will eventually offer much more than the 2012 and probably keep longer in the cellar. Firm, chewy tannins. This vintage had a lot of wind leaving small berries with thick skins. 98 points

  • 98p

Information

Origin

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

None

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