Harlan Estate: California’s First-growth
Thursday May 24, 2018
“Wine enhances friendship, conversation, health, and romance. It illuminates great and ancient human traditions of local culture and global commerce. It may even spark the wine- grower’s dream, an intertwined vision of family and family endeavor and place and community born of the legacy of the vine.” - H. William Harlan (Oakville, 2010).
When Harlan Estate [BID NOW] started in 1984, one of the main agendas they had was to ensure that every decision they make will benefit the ecosystem, in general, and the community. This is actually a very responsible idea that every individual and anyone with businesses should practice. After all, whatever you do to nature comes back to anyone a hundredfold.
Located in the heart of Napa Valley – Oakville, California – this natural wonder is seated on top of western hills. A perfect landscape for winemaking. Napa Valley is the known to be home to some of the best wines in the world. Each bottle is said to deliver extraordinary depth, unique taste, superb power, and that rare intensity. And true enough, each Napa-produced wine echoes the rich history of its terroir.
3 Ps of Harlan Estate: Place, People, Purpose
From the start, Harlan Estate knew that that every choice they make will have an effect to the place. From an ecological standpoint, they chose to preserve and nurture the land to reap even better results in the long run. The whole property is blessed by having its location face all directions, from North to South and East to West. It also helps that the land has distinctive geological structure and properties, thus the presence of different soil types found within the vineyard allows growing of grapes in various ways.
With such a unique environment setting, Harlan Estate is divided into two sections – the East and West. In a way, it offers a sort of yin and yang. The Eastern bloc consists of volcanic rocks that are young and firm. While the Western bloc contains soft sandstones aged throughout the years. This lush, diverse setup spans forty acres that is planted with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot.
“A winegrowing estate is not just the wine, and it’s not just the land, the vine- yards, the culture, and the values. It is also the family. With family and extended family—the team—comes the root system of shared commitments that ties each of us to place, to purpose, to community—and to the promise of a shared future, generation after generation.” - H. William Harlan (Oakville, 2010).
Though the type of land greatly affects how the wine will taste, there are still other factors that make each Harlan Estate wine priceless. It is without doubt that one of the things that helped how the winery survives each year is with skilled and dedicated team; with some of them being already long time employees.
Harlan Estate has its vision: make wines that will be California’s ‘First Growth’. And just from this statement we know the standard that the winery applies in its DNA. ‘First growth’ is a term synonymously used to talk about Bordeaux. Fun fact, this term was actually used 150 years ago when wine brokers began to rank wines of different large wine houses using price and reputation from fifth up to the first one. They called this classification ‘crus’ or growth.
As what Elin McCoy said in the profile she wrote for Harlan Estate, “It’s a true estate, where every detail, from vineyards to label to winery design, reflects the aesthetics of a relentless drive for quality. The wines are bold, sumptuous and rich, yet polished and balanced, despite their alcohol. The many older vintages I’ve sampled have aged impressively.”
Here are some of Harlan’s Estate best wines.
2011 Harlan Estate The Maiden - Case Of 3 [BID NOW]
“This is fresh and fruity with a mushroom-dust and blackberry character. Walnuts, too. Full body with silky tannins. Juicy finish. I love the texture to The Maiden this year. Better in 2016.”
“The 2012 The Maiden displays soft blackcurrant liqueur notes, as well as cedar wood, forest floor, underbrush, and hints of white chocolate and espresso. It is broad, savory, sexy and opulent. Drink it over the next 12-15+ years.”
2007 Harlan Estate – Magnum [BID NOW]
“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.”
2012 Harlan Estate - Magnum Case Of 2 [BID NOW]
“This shows incredible lavender aromas with Provencal undertones of violets, dark fruits such as blueberry and blackberry, and some walnut. Full body plus ultra fine tannins that build on the finish. It really comes on with a rolling tannin structure. Tightly wound. A muscular and elegant wine with superb tone. A fresh and bright Harlan. This wine has levity, as the winemaker likes to say. Try in 2020.”
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