|Bottle Size||8 x 3000 ml|
2001 - 100 pts - This wine, which first debuted in 1990, has probably garnered more perfect scores than any other Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2001 is just entering a young adolescent stage of development, exhibiting extraordinary nuances such as sweet, loamy soil and earthy minerality intermixed with some background smoke, black currant liqueur, plum, Asian spice and new saddle leather. Full-bodied, it possesses great intensity, with stunning flavors that are viscous enough to coat the mouth, but never become heavy or overbearing. The wine has a remarkable purity, concentration and intensity that should carry it for another 30+ years. This is already very promising, and for those who own it, I would suggest a good two to three hours of decanting prior to service.
2002 - 100 pts - The extraordinary Harlan Estate, which I awarded 100 points seven years ago, offers no justifiable reason to doubt its perfect score. It is still a baby, with an inky purple color and notes of smoky camphor intermixed with creme de cassis, Asian soy and a hint of cedar beginning to emerge as well as some espresso and subtle damp forest floor notes. The wine has awesome intensity, a full-bodied mouthfeel, a skyscraper-like texture, and a finish that goes on for close to a minute. This is a perfect wine, still youthful and young, and not even in full adolescence as of 2012. It has 40 or more years ahead of it, but should hit its plateau of full maturity in another 5-10 years. It is certainly one of the most showy , flamboyant and remarkable Harlan Estates made to date. (More recently, the 2007 tends to resemble this wine more than any other vintage I can think of.) Kudos to Bill Harlan!
2003 - 98+ pts - One of the most backward yet promising wines of the vintage is the 2003 Harlan Estate. Its dense opaque plum/purple color is accompanied by a sumptuous bouquet of graphite, camphor, creme de cassis, smoky barbecue wood and a hint of forest floor. Similar flavors hit the mouth with full-bodied splendor, a multidimensional mouthfeel and texture, and the sensational finish lasts more than 45 seconds. Some tannins are still present, and this wine seems much younger than expected at ten years of age, so give it 4-5 more years of bottle age and consume it over the following 20-25 years.
2004 - 98 pts - Another rating identical to that which was given in 2007 (when first tasted from bottle), the 2004 Harlan Estate is performing essentially the way I suggested in 2007 as it is one of the more precocious and accessible of the Harlan Estate wines to date. A great showing at this retrospective, this wine, which seems like a hypothetical blend of a Pauillac, St.-Estephe and Graves, represents around 1,500 cases from 40 acres of beautifully manicured hillside vineyards overlooking Oakville. Still dense purple to the rim, with notes of creme de cassis, charcoal, blackberry and sweet toast, the wine is full-bodied and voluptuously textured with the tannins largely resolved. But the density and richness suggest this wine can go a long, long way, even though the window for drinking it seems open and inviting already. A world-class, first-growth wine if there ever was one from Napa, this is simply an exquisite Harlan Estate that has atypically reached mid to late adolescence at the age of ten. That is great given the fact that these are 30- to 40-year wines – possibly even half-century wines.
2005 - 98+ pts - Its bigger brother, or sister, depending on the point of view, is the extremely young, fresh, vigorous, yet still exuberant and promising 2005 Harlan Estate. Normally, the blends on these wines tend to be 85%-90% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest tiny proportions of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and possibly some Petit Verdot, although I don’t recall that being a very important part of the estate vineyard. The 2005 is incredibly youthful at age ten, although certainly drinkable. And who wouldn’t consume it if they had the opportunity? It will benefit from another 5-10 years of cellaring and certainly has 30 or more years left in its evolutionary curve. Gorgeous, and tasting akin to a hypothetical Pauillac blended with a great Pessac-Léognan from Bordeaux comes to mind because of the smoky, subtle barbecue notes, fruitcake, forest floor, graphite and minerality. The wine has stunning fruit and a full-bodied, powerful richness, yet is still nimble on its feet. This is a classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from an absolutely magnificent hillside vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the Oakville corridor on the valley floor. This opaque, garnet/purple wine is another tour de force and, once again, proves that Harlan Estate is not only one of the greatest wines of California, but of the world.
2006 - 96 pts - The 2006 Harlan Estate has turned out better than I originally predicted. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by classic aromas of creme de cassis, melted licorice, smoked meats, burning embers, and graphite. It has thrown off some of the tannic clout it displayed last year, revealing great balance. A candidate for “wine of the vintage,” this dense, full-bodied effort has 25+ years of life ahead of it.
1999 - 95 pts - Taut and slow to unfold, with green and black olive, savory herb and mocha flavors, unfolding with layers of currant, plum, espresso bean and mineral, followed by an impressive finish. From a cool year.
2000 - 93 pts - Tight, concentrated and compact, showing dried currant, berry and mineral character, with tannins that frame the flavors. Ends with a black cherry and blackberry fruitiness. This was a cool, drawn-out year.
2001 - 97 pts - Firm and intense, with gripping tannins wrapped around dark berry, black licorice, graphite, cedar and tar. Slow to unfold but does so impressively, gaining strength, depth and vitality; appears a great candidate to go another 10 to 15 years with ease.
2002 - 94 pts - Offers a core of rich dark berry, sour cherry, black licorice, loamy earth and dried berry flavors. Full-bodied, firmly tannic, yet deep and concentrated, almost too young in this tasting.
2003 - Mature and a bit muddled, rich and potent, with a mix of loamy earth and dry dark berry notes, ending with a touch of mocha and metal. The better of two bottles tasted.
2004 - 98 pts - Starts out closed, but very intense and concentrated, with tight currant, spice, cedar, anise and blackberry flavors. Maintains a long, vibrant finish.
2005 - 94 pts - Tightly wound and closed, with notes of pencil lead and shavings, graphite, mineral and dried berry. The flavors are intense and persistent, without too much weight. This is graceful in its own way.
2006 - Still displaying the youthful presence of gutsy, chewy tannins, the core of earth, mocha, currant and blackberry notes remains solid, and the density is impressive as the flavors coat the palate, with detailed nuances. Ends with drying tannins and a future ahead. The better of two bottles tasted.
||Michel Rolland & Bob Levy|