Harlan Estate 1997
Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
Color very dense, nearly opaque. Very ripe, concentrated aromatics of vanilla, minerals, coffee, blackberries, licorice, cassis, prune, and shoyu, with high notes of bright red and black fruits behind. The flavors are very thick, ripe, layered, and supple on the palate, with tremendous power and density. The flavor profile is broad, jammy—almost confectionary—and very complex, yet displaying a balance of acidity. Tannins and alcohol harmonize to show an uncommon richness.
A big vintage with a big personality—at times problematic, at other times brilliant—even better now, having emerged from a period of metamorphosis. Drink with hearty food now and for the next 30 years.
The Wine Advocate - "The 1997 Harlan Estate is one of the greatest Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines I have ever tasted. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this enormously-endowed, profoundly rich wine must be tasted to be believed. Opaque purple-colored, it boasts spectacular, soaring aromatics of vanilla, minerals, coffee, blackberries, licorice, and cassis. In the mouth, layer after layer unfold powerfully yet gently. Acidity, tannin, and alcohol are well-balanced by the wine's unreal richness and singular personality. The finish exceeds one minute. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2030. "
Wine Spectator - "A great bottle, ripe, intense, structured, focused and concentrated, with youthful, vibrant, layered flavors, gaining velocity and length. There's a tremendous finish.--Non-blind Harlan retrospective (2010). Drink now through 2020. 2,100 cases made."
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated ruby. Liqueur-like superripe nose combines roasted cherry, black raspberry, minerals and Valrhona chocolate; distinctly port-like notes. Voluptuous and huge in the mouth, with explosive fruit bordering on confectionary; flavor of chocolate-covered currants. Much more powerfully structured than the estate second wine but the backbone is hidden under a tidal wave of lush fruit. Endless finish features extraordinarily fine, suave tannins. Like the '97 Bryant Family Vineyard cabernet, this freakishly ripe wine reminds me of a great '47 Pomerol."
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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.