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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.
Near-average (25.8 inches) winter rainfall lingered through April. Budbreak came April 10-15.Moderate temperatures in May and June gave way to warm mid-summer temps.
Thelate-arriving harvest did not begin until September 28 and lasted until October 22.
Yields ranged from a lowly 1.0 ton per acre for the petit verdot to 1.7 tons per acre for the merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
Bright, intense red, with slight garnet edge. A concentrated and dense, almost brooding wine,
with moderately intense aromas of sweet vanilla, espresso, chocolate, mint, and cassis, and additional notes of tobacco, forest floor, figs, prunes, and black olives. A silky entry,with a focused mid-palate, finishing long and elegant, with a touch of the sauvage in the finish.
A very nice overall impression. Enjoy now, then for 15+ years.