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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.
On the heels of an el niño winter marked by near-record rainfall, spring rains tapered, with only 2-3 inches in each of March, april, and May. Summer was cool, with temperatures barely topping 90° only 35 times. september, however, had nine days above 90°. October temperatures hovered between 70° and 80°. an extended véraison began in late august and finished around september 7. significant crop reduction—by half, in an already low-yielding year—helped achieve unprecedented ripeness, maturity, and concentration. harvest was completed on november 5, yielding a record low 0.9 tons per acre.
Medium depth of color, just a hint of mahogany at the edge. still showing fresh aromas, with dominant notes of red currant, espresso, minerals, blueberry, tobacco, licorice, and a touch of chocolate mint. a lovely, elegant wine, it shows remarkable purity, density, and depth of concentration and has a very unctuous texture and juicy sweet tannins in the finish.
after rigorous selection, the final blend in 1998 ended up to be 100% cabernet sauvignon. Drinking very nicely now, it should continue to do so for many (15+) years.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|780€ +9.9%||710€ +7.7%||659€ +22.0%||540€|