RP99 - 1995 Harlan Estate Cabernet - The 1995 Proprietary Red Wine is almost as perfect as the 1994. It has gotten even better in the bottle, and remains one of the most remarkable young Cabernet Sauvignons I have tasted. The wine, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, was aged in 100% new oak, which adds subtle pain grille/toasty scents. This opaque purple-colored Cabernet offers up a nose of smoke, coffee beans, black and blue fruits, minerals, and roasted herbs. It is extremely full-bodied, with spectacular purity, exquisite equilibrium, and a seamless personality with everything in total harmony. The finish lasts for more than 40 seconds. This extravagantly rich, profoundly complex 1995 will give its 1994 sibling a run for its money.
Proprietor Bill Harlan, his winemaker, Bob Levy, and consultant, Frenchman Michel Rolland continue to produce what may be the single most profound wine in California. This wine possesses all the elements of greatness - individuality, power combined with elegance, extraordinary complexity, remarkable aging potential, and compelling richness without ponderousness. The vintages produced to date give signs of improving in the bottle for 20-30+ years. In 1995, a second wine, which has not yet been named, has been produced, which allows the selection process to be even more severe once the 35-acre vineyard is in full production. Recent production has been 1,500 cases for the 1994, 1,200 cases for the 1995, 1,500 for the 1996, and approximately 2,500 cases for the 1997. Many readers who have been on the waiting list for Harlan Estate may finally receive an allocation in 1997. This year produced the highest yields to date (a still modest 2.7 tons per acre) at this hillside vineyard. RP