Harlan Estate (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007
Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
This extraordinary estate, run by Bill Harlan, has never had either a shortage of ambition or patience. Harlan originally had his wines made elsewhere, but never found the resulting product up to his standards until his home vineyard, high on the western hills of the Oakville Corridor, hit an acceptable level of quality, which turned out to be in 1990. In October, I did a vertical tasting of every Harlan Estate vintage made (which I will report on at a future date), and one thing that was clear is just how extraordinary these wines are, and how well they are aging. Even in California's lighter, more challenging years, Harlan turned out wines that anyone would be happy to own and consume. The newest offerings include two vintages of The Maiden essentially their second wine, and the flagship Harlan Estate fewer than 2,000 cases produced.
The Wine Advocate - "The prodigious 2007 Harlan Estate reminds me of a hypothetical blend of the 2002 with a touch of the controversial 1997. Dense plum/purple-colored with sweet aromas of barbecue smoke, blueberries, blackberries, cassis, licorice, hot rocks and subtle oak, it is a splendidly opulent, pure wine with a skyscraper-like texture as well as stunningly deep fruit that expands gracefully across the palate. The finish lasts nearly a full minute. Because of its overwhelming richness and sweet tannins, this brilliant wine seems to be approachable now, but I suspect further nuances and complexity will emerge after 4-5 years in the bottle. This wine will still be going strong at age 25-30. Like the offerings from its sister estate, Bond, these Harlan Estate offerings are uncompromisingly brilliant examples of Napa viticulture and winemaking at its finest. Kudos to proprietor Bill Harlan."
International Wine Cellar - "Good deep ruby-red. Knockout nose combines dark berries, graphite, cedar and flowers. The palate offers uncanny clarity and depth of flavor, combining elegance and density in the way of a Bordeaux first growth. Wonderful energy and length here, as well as inner-palate floral lift. A great vintage for Harlan Estate, with nothing overdone about it."
James Suckling - "Heavy aromas of sweet tobacco, coffee, ripe fruits, violets, and dried flowers. Full bodied, and very, very powerful. This is muscular yet agile. The finish is subtle and fruity, with minerals, mint, and currants. A blockbuster. Keep your hands off this until 2016."
Wine Spectator - "Intense and a bit rustic, with complex loamy earth, dried currant, black licorice, mocha, roasted herb, porcini and toasty oak. Full-bodied and balanced, deep, focused and persistent, ending with pebbly, minerally notes and firm tannins. To be released spring 2011. Best from 2012 through 2024. 1,370 cases made. –JL"
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Harlan Estate Winery
For over two decades, Harlan Estate has been committed to creating a California "first growth" wine estate. Founded in 1984, Harlan Estate is set in the western hills of Oakville, rising above the fabled Napa Valley benchlands. Carved from the raw land and built for generations, the estate is over 240 acres of natural spendor, 15% of which are under vine, planted to the classic varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. View all Harlan Estate Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.