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Another spectacular Harlan hits the market. It shows the earthy quality that marks wines off the estate, with an aroma suggesting a warm bale of hay under the summer sun, a sweet straw and bay laurel scent that adds savory richness to the cherry, blackberry and chocolate flavors. As usual, the tannins are virtual perfection, at once sweet and firm, dense and fine, perfectly in balance with all the fruit and new oak. So young now, a fat little baby of a wine that`s irresistible, but will hold and improve well beyond its tenth birthday.
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.
"Harlan Estate might be the single most profound red wine made not just in California, but in the world."
- Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate
"Winemakers believe that the land speaks to them of possibilities. A winemaker's goal is to express those possibilities, to capture the best of what the land has to offer."
- Bob Levy, Director of Winegrowing
The true beginning of Harlan Estate dates to 1984 in the western hills of Oakville, California, the heart of Napa Valley. The Harlan family had a plan to create a California equivalent of a Bordeaux first growth, producing a wine that would command global praise. Harlan is known for their estate wine, and their second label, The Maiden. In 1997, Harlan founded BOND in collaboration with winemaker Bob Levy to again produce more prestigious wines from Napa Valley. It's hard to say exactly why the wines are as good as they are, except to point to obvious factors, such as location, terroir and the talents of Harlan's longtime team, but they have undoubtedly earned their supreme cult status.
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