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Parker 98+: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 2010 Harlan Estate inch closer to perfection over the next decade. Surprisingly supple for this vintage, while this cuvee is not usually that flamboyant or exuberant in its youth, the 2010 is sensual and performing remarkably well. Its deep purple color is accompanied by notions of charcoal, graphite, camphor, creme de cassis, barbecue smoke and blackberries. As usual, this complex effort reminds me of a hypothetical blend of a great Pauillac and Graves (such as La Mission Haut-Brion). Rich, full-bodied and softer than I would have expected in this vintage, it is a prodigious, multidimensional, compelling wine. It requires 3-5 years of bottle age and should drink well over the following 30+ years.
It is hard to believe but Bill Harlan’s beautiful estate in the lower hills of the Mayacamas Mountains on the western side of Napa has now made over twenty vintages. (I have mixed emotions, as I am old enough to remember them all.) The Maiden is always an impressive effort, but it is built to be drunk at an early age.
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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Average Bottle Price
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