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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.
1994 Average winter rainfall, cool daytime temperatures with evening and early morning marine fog.
Light showers lingered into late May, and spring temperatures were moderate.Budbreak began the second week of April, setting the stage for a late harvest. Temperatures in the early summer stayed mostly below 80°, then heated up in August and September. Harvest began in late September and finished up on October 23, yielding around 2.4 tons per acre.
Color very dark, nearly opaque. Remarkable viscosity. Closed at first, then opening to a slightly minty, very fresh and bright character containing earth, mineral, and distinctive forest floor aromas. Very dense flavors with an abundance of black currant, minerals, smoked herbs, and blackberry, followed by cedar, coffee and vanilla. Higher acidity and a lower pH profile play a key role in creating a sense of balance and energy.
1994 rightfully ranks as one of California’s greatest modern-day vintages and the 1994 Harlan Estate is clearly one of our best. Very classic, with lots of detail and energy. Hold for a few more years, then savor for 25-30 years so as not to miss the further complication of this stellar vintage.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|1 017€ +13.9%||893€ -10.8%||1 001€ +20.7%||829€ -9.0%||911€ +35.6%||672€|