Red

2016 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 - See my previous notes for just how in love I am with this bottle of wine. Having it right next to a 12 showed its youth, with a bit more alcohol to integrate while waiting on some of those secondary and tertiary flavors to emerge. Nevertheless, this is simply a stunning achievement that sets it apart even in perhaps the best vintage in recent memory in Napa. The only thing that will make it more perfect is bottle age, so if you don't have many $1000 bottles to experiment with, then I'd say hold off 4-5 more years at least.

    5 people found this helpful 2,627 views

7 Comments

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    4/27/21, 7:59 PM - Cristal, My first allocation was 16 and your notes are welcome confirmation. I have yet to try a 16 or any Harlan to date for that matter. How does Harlan compare to Bond & Promontory which I've had.

    Thanks in advance!

    MJP

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    4/27/21, 8:11 PM - Hi MJP: I've actually spent some time considering this question, especially after visiting Harlan last week. The order is how you would think: Harlan, Promontory and then Bond.

    Harlan has been cultivated over 40 years, and it has something extremely special going on. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but the wine itself shows a character I haven't identified in any other wine I've ever had from Napa. There is almost an instant complexity with a weightless power that sets it apart.

    Promontory is amazing, but it's still fairly young. It has more earth and especially mineral driven character. It's fantastic, but not quite yet with Harlan overall. That said, it is unique, based on the Austrian Casks and it's super rough and rocky vineyard source, which gives it a lot of character. I'd expect this to be where Harlan is in a decade or so.

    Bond is sourced from across the valley. It's fabulous, but isn't in the "first growth" quality conversation most vintages. That said, Vecina from VHR vines and St Eden can get in that territory from time to time.

    Hope that helps!

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    4/27/21, 8:33 PM - Fantastic input. I’ve been to Promontory and the property is stunning. 16 offering came in today so I’m trying to sort out the spend. Your feedback is appreciated.

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    4/28/21, 7:03 PM - Hi Cristal....nice note, but one question....if this wine gets better with cottle age as you suggest, how will you score it? :)

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    4/28/21, 7:51 PM - Hi IRBDW: As luck would have it, I don't rate wine point in time. I try to rate it based on the quality in the bottle and use the notes to explain how it was drinking in that moment. But, yeah, probably 127pts in 10 years :)

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    4/29/21, 8:26 AM - Thank you Cristal....I have never had a young Harlan, and I cannot get myself to open one given the cost. I have had the 1996 twice, and it remains my Benchmark wine (Scored it 98, which is the highest score I have given....left a couple points in case I ever have something better!) Hopefully, I will still be around when the 16s are ready to drink! Thanks again for the note!

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    4/29/21, 8:59 AM - IRBDW: I hear you and that makes a lot of sense. I drank these at the winery, so thankfully I didn't have to pop my own super expensive bottle! One of just a few wines that I am quite sure continue to improve at least through the 20 year mark. Cheers!

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