Harlan Estate 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2015 Harlan Estate is a beast of a wine that shows the sexy, opulent style of the vintage married to the classic structure and depth of this estate. A downright smorgasbord of blackcurrants, blackberries, crushed rocks, graphite, smoky camphor, cured meats, and dried tobacco aromas all emerge from the glass, and it shows the deep, concentrated style of the vintage yet still has awesome complexity and nuances. Deep, powerful, and structured, yet opulent and incredibly sexy on the palate, it reminds me of the 2002. A brilliant wine from this estate, it's already approachable given its wealth of fruit yet has the tannic backbone and density to keep for 3-4 decades or more.
Incredible aromas of fresh flowers, such as roses and violets, and blackcurrants. Full body and defined levels of fruit and tannins too. Love the brightness and texture. An excellent finish. Production was down by a third because of bad berry set. Try in 2021.
A huge red, with powerfully rendered dark fig, macerated black currant and
steeped boysenberry fruit framed by a bittersweet chocolate note. With time
in the glass, the fruit unwinds slowly, allowing anise and loam accents to fill
in on the fleshy finish. There’s some serious heft here through the back end
too, with a long echo of smoldering tobacco and a great tug of dark earth.
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.
Home to some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon in America, Napa Valley’s Oakville district stretches across the center of Napa's valley floor and foothills between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains. This AVA is home to the legendary To Kalon Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard, as well as many powerhouse wineries including Screaming Eagle, Silver Oak, Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Far Niente and Groth.
The climate is generally warm and agreeable, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay, creating an ideal environment to grow red varieties. Oakville's diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, and perfect for high-caliber viticulture.
Cabernet here is often bottled varietally but is also popular in Bordeaux Blends. Oakville wines are known for their silky, sensual textures, structured tannins, dark and brooding fruit and lovely aromatics. These age-worthy and prestigious wines are favored by collectors throughout the world.
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 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.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
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 Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.