Red

2012 Harlan Estate

Red Bordeaux Blend

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • Oakville

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Community Tasting Note

  • Cristal2000 Likes this wine: 100 points

    April 23, 2021 - Epic wine. Doesn't get much better. I think I tasted about 70 different cabs over the span of 3 days in Napa, and this was the best (followed very closely by the 16 Harlan and 18 MacDonald). There's something unique about the Harlan wine. It's hard to put my finger on, but I know it when I taste it. The quality, depth of flavor and almost immediate complexity are second to none. It will never be a QPR winner, but if I am going to splurge this is the first place I look.

    Bursts from the glass with blackberries, plums, dried herbs, tobacco, violets, cassis and forest floor. The epitome of an iron fist in a velvet glove, this is just seamless on the palate with incredible concentration and nuance. It shows amazing complexity, with fruit, earth and minerality all taking turns in the lead. The purity of fruit, bright acidity and depth for days makes this a truly magnificent achievement. Finish is off the charts. Showing amazingly right now, but still has many years left to show its best.

    5 people found this helpful 2,270 views

22 Comments

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    4/28/21, 2:29 PM - Great notes. I tried the 18 MacDonald last year in Oct. Sounds like it has put on some weight since the showing. As always, great notes Cristal.

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    5/2/21, 10:19 PM - Now what are the odds of this, I own one bottle of Harlan and it’s 2012! Wow that was lucky normally it would be 2011 with my luck.

    Since I have one and only one- when do you suggest I pop this? I will copy and paste the same message to Csimm .

    Thanks!

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/3/21, 7:22 AM - My friend is storing his Mag 12 at my house while it's remodeled. It's about to be coravined. Think he'd notice? J/K

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    5/3/21, 7:25 AM - I think it’s what he would want- how else would he know if it’s ok in his absence?

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/3/21, 7:26 AM - storage fee. I like it!

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/3/21, 9:05 AM - LIOF: It really depends on how you like your wine to drink. The 12 was magnificent when we just had it, but Harlan is one wine I can say with confidence will continue to develop well for at least the first 20 years. So if you like a bit more concentrated power, with a bit more fruit, then now and for the next couple years. If you want those earthy, mushroom-ish tertiary notes, then give it 10+ years.

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    5/3/21, 9:30 AM - Near term it is then as I am typically a 2-10 year Napa drinker with a handful of exceptions based on how they are built and if the fruit will remain (Abreu Thorevilos & Los Posadas, now Macdonald, etc). The last Harlan I had was not one I wanted to drink with 20 years of age as it would have lost all of its fruit by then. Thanks!

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/18/21, 5:36 PM - If one were to seek out a Harlan and only get one bottle, what vintage would you suggest? This would be for someone who likes a bit more age (10-15+ years) on their Napa bottles.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/18/21, 5:51 PM - Bsumoba - are they going to drink it when they acquire it? Or let it age? And do they like a bit more fruit or the super BDX character? From those I've had, the 2010 is fantastic and a cooler vintage, so it's got deep complexity and a bit more of everything going on. Clearly, this 2012 is utterly amazing, but it's going to have a bit more fruit. The ultimate vintage for me is 2016, but again, need to take some time. Otherwise, the 2001 vintage was killer and 2002 wasn't far behind. And in the middle, 2007. I have never had a bad Harlan, so you can't really go wrong. I had an amazing 2008 about a year ago from a Mag.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/18/21, 5:58 PM - Thanks for the advice. He will most likely be cellaring it for a special occasion. He is big on 100% cab and in our VV tasting, his "it" wine was the 18' Steltzner and then right behind that, the 19' Crane. VHR is also a wine he really likes. I hope that helps with the palate portion of your question.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/18/21, 7:53 PM - Harlan isn't 100% Cab. His profile sounds like a 2010 or 2013 would likely work out best. That or the new 2018.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/18/21, 8:07 PM - 100% cab isn't his requirement, he just prefers it. We had on 05' Araujo Eisele and that was beautiful.

    I'll take a look at those other vintages. The retail and auction market for Harlan is pretty high.

    I've been on Harlan's wait list for some time and have not gotten an opportunity to get their flagship, just their Maiden

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/18/21, 8:24 PM - They've got something called a "founders list" where you get 3 bottles every year. Do you want me to ask them about openings for you to join? I've had some success with other friends recently, but I don't know what they will say. They can be a bit strange in the way they do business.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/18/21, 9:30 PM - Yes, please. I would greatly appreciate that. My email is my CT name @ gmail.

    From a referral standpoint, Samantha at VV, Bruce at VHR and Mark at Vangone are familiar with who I am. I also live in the Bay Area.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/19/21, 5:35 AM - BSU- I have one more 05 Eisele in the cellar. I had one a year ago and it was absolutely everything I wanted it to be with 15 years of age.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    5/19/21, 10:20 AM - BSU: I will reach out to them and see what they say. If it's possible, I will connect you.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/19/21, 11:00 AM - Thanks Cristal.

    MJP - I've been considering getting more 05' from Benchmark, where you mentioned there is stock, but at this point I want to focus on some of the new vintage stuff and these newer producers. That being said, I am finding a lot of deals on older vintage Peter Michael Les Pavots wines which will always have a place in my cellar because it was the first high end or premium wine I was purchasing when I was younger.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    5/19/21, 12:22 PM - There are some great older wines out there. Might try some of the Abreu Thorevilos & Madrona. BWG is pretty good about having some vintage selections.

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    5/19/21, 12:51 PM - I second MJP’s suggestion.

  • bsumoba commented:

    5/19/21, 3:52 PM - Forgive my ignorance...BWG is who?

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    5/19/21, 4:23 PM - I was seconding MJP’s recommendation on Abreu Thorevilos ans Las Posadas. Where you buy it is another story.

    BWG is a suggestion, benchmark wine group

  • #1Winelover commented:

    5/19/21, 4:40 PM - I'm guessing Benchmark Wine Group

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