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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Harlan Estate (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP100
  • JS97
  • WS96
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 100
Robert Parker's 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.
JS 97
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.
WS 96
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

Harlan Estate

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Harlan Estate, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

MLLHARLATEMG_2007 Item# 116838