Situated in the heart of Napa Valley, hole to one of the best Cabernet-Sauvignons, Harlan Estate is set above the bench lands of Oakville, north of San Francisco. A powerful wine, Harlan Estate has become a cult favourite and rightfully deserves its title of Premier Cru in California.
Harlan Estate, Bill Harlan’s labour of passion
The domain was founded in 1984 by Bill Harlan who made a living in the real estate business before forging his path in wine. After an experience at Merryvale Vineyards, he bought a plot of land in the 80’s that oversees Oakville, in the middle of Napa Valley. The domain is in between the Kalon vineyard, a Robert Mondavi winery, and Martha’s Vineyard, known for its wine cellars.
Bill’s first wine harvest was in 1987, but the results were not what he expected. He waited until 1990 to commercialise his wine for the first time. Harlan Estate wines quickly became one of the best Californian wines and received excellent notes in highly influential guides. Consequently, this caused a large price increase. Harlan Estate’s wines became some of the most expensive wines in Napa Valley.
The vines are planted quite densely for a vineyard on a hill. Being situated in Oakville, in the heart of Napa Valley, the soil is perfect for Bordeaux grape varieties. The land benefits from fresh evenings and fog-covered morning which come from the Pacific Ocean. The gravely soil has excellent drainage. Today, Harlan Estate is over 100 hectares and 17 are designated for the best harvest. The grape varieties used are the same as Bordeaux: Cabernet-Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (20%) and Petit Verdot (2%).
The domain privileges relatively small yields that can mature for up to 24 months. In the cellar, we find great French casks with marvellous grain. Thanks to these minute details that Bill Harlan was able to produce, with a little help from time, some of the greatest wines of Napa Valley.
Harlan Estate 2014
The 2014 vintage releases mineral fragrances, black currant, and blackberries, which tie together well with subtle notes of burnt earth and warm stones. A beautiful structure, rich, and smooth. Its intense fruit flavours announce a vintage that quickly reached maturity, and is ready to be enjoyed. A wine unlike any others from the domain, to be consumed from now until 2039.
The Maiden 2010
This wine emits aromas of cedar, liquorice, forest floor, redcurrant, earth, and a light touch of oak. The Maiden 2010 is full-bodied, fruity, and the perfect example of excellence and purity. To be enjoyed until 2025.