Needed substantial time in a decanter. Made the mistake of drinking first glass soon after opening; borderline unpleasant experience. This 2004 Harlan may be the first bottle I've ever had that tasted better the next day after opening (stored in eurocave wine preservation system overnight). Forbidding body, substantial chocolate, maple syrup, hazelnut flavors. Truly wonderful once decanted and an amazing experience. I would have mistaken for left bank 10/10 times in a blind tasting.
Friends visiting from abroad, you do what you have to do, pop and pour into a decanter. In the glass, very dark purplish red. On the nose, no mistaking it for Bdx, this is Cali cab, but with a lot more going on; sandalwood, forest floor, anise, currants, and a hint of mint. On the palate, a deep core of dark fruit with more herbal notes, and a bit of dark chocolate in the background, with solid tannins on the finish. 11 years old, but I think at least 5 and maybe 10 more away from really opening up.
We only had minimal time to decant this but in my opinion its needs an over night decant. Big, dark, powerful, and very full mouth feel. Great fruit, great nose, but the finish was certainly not together. Its was disjointed, not together at all, and the heat on the finish consumed the wonderful flavors buried beneath it. Smoother than the 2009 though.
Tasted along side a 2009 Harlan Estate, 1999 & 2000 Robert Mondavi Reserve To Kalon. The Mondavi's kicked both Harlans out the door. We never expected it in a million years. We have drank a lot of Harlans but this was our first time opening any of our Mondavi To Kalon's.
First of this vintage I've had, drank following 1996 Dom and 2003 Rochioli Pinot East Block at Xmas dinner with Ashleys at Pig and Finch. Not only blew us away, but got the GM and sommalier to fuss as well after a taste (and waive corkage fees, thank you). Really came through with class, combining depth, fruit, nose, length and finish. Decanted and evolved over two hours of drinking. Can't wait to do this again.
This followed a 1982 mouton Rothschild .. they were both fantastic. The harlan showed its california flesh, it was bigger and bolder but still smooth as silk. Fantastic bottle of wine with many many more years ahead. Enjoy
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