2012 Harlan Estate

Red Bordeaux Blend

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • Oakville

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Community Tasting Note

  • csimm1161 wrote: 100 points

    April 30, 2021 - 3 days in Napa: Arkenstone, Memento Mori, Maxem, The French Laundry, Christopher Tynan, Kinsman, Harlan, Vice Versa, Accendo, Fairchild, Macdonald, and a truckload of others (Napa): One of the best wines I’ve ever had.

    Not just that day. Not just that trip. Not just this year. Not encapsulated with disclaimers, exceptions, and statistical flim-flammery in order to put it into a special box for just that moment in time. Not like when someone running for Congress tells you he is the first, never-before person in the world to sit on a Congressional seat who is 53% Hungarian, 22% Austrian, and 25% Israeli, has two dogs, lives in Manteca California, and has a scar on his right cheek, and therefore is THE unique and special candidate for the position…

    This was just simply and unequivocally one of the best wines…ever.

    Blackberry, the deepest pitched black cherry known to the human race (and when I say deep, I mean deep – not overripe or sluggish), plum skin, soft mulch (like being under a redwood tree when nearly silent beneath your feet), charcoal, graphite, creosote, and black gravel. There are hints of unsmoked cigar and leather that also peek through the profile. The mid-palate is so saturated but also so controlled. There is a deliberateness slowly expanding the unadulterated flavors with a cadence that is unmatched in the western wine world. The finish not only lingers, it also progresses and advances, evolving on the back end of the palate and creating new memories in the recycling of flavors over and over again. A wine that can change and develop in the mouth within a single sip is certainly one that defines captivation and majesty.

    There is an absolute uniqueness with the Harlan wines. I honestly didn’t want them to be unique or special. I wanted to normalize them and dismiss them off as good or even great wines that just cost too much, so I’d subsequently not “need” them in my cellar. Well, that little mind experiment didn’t work as soon as I took a sample of the 2019 from barrel. Then the 2016. Then this 2012. So yep, it’s officially all over for me on this front. I like Harlan. I want to drink more Harlan. And I’ll be buying Harlan. The addiction is terrifyingly real (If anyone has a couch in a 600-square-foot apartment for rent, let me know).

    The 2012 is a pristine example of what a little bottle age can do for Harlan. Compared to the 2016, which was also amazing but a bit unresolved and wild in its current state, the 2012 has found a pathway to a gorgeous glide. A wine-life changing wine for me. And yes, I’m sure you vinegary Harlan members who have been tossing back these wines for years are reading this with healthy doses of long eyerolls and, “Gee whiz kid, tell us something we don’t know.” So, my apologies for being a drive-by tourist in the Harlan world up until now, but I admittedly don’t have a twenty-year resume with this producer. Hopefully ya’ll will let me into the secret illuminati club one day! Until then, I’ll simply say, “Thank you for the opportunity to try this amazing juice and thanks to our host Francois for sharing this gem.” And an especially singular thank you to CT’er Cristal2000 for being the Harlan sauce-boss that he is, setting up this whole thing, and allowing my petty tagalong peasantry.

    During this trip, I was continually impressed with all of the wines we were fortunate enough to drink. I will say also that there were three wines in particular for me that totally crushed my cranium with their unbelievable representations of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 Harlan, 2012 Tynan MG, and 2018 Macdonald were next-level juice that dominated the landscape even among their otherwise remarkable peers.

    4 people found this helpful 4,186 views


  • 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 Cristal.


  • csimm1161 commented:

    5/3/21, 11:08 AM - It was pretty much awesome from the word 'Go' when we had it. I believe our host Francois said it had been open for about an hour or so. You may not want to hear this, but I'd say this is already in a great drinking window. Age may make it even 'better' perhaps, but I couldn't tell you specifically how it can/will get better than it already is. With some swirling in the glass, it was a beauty. So.... crack that bad boy and let me know how that all works out for you! :)

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    5/3/21, 11:14 AM - Thank you- exactly what I was looking for!

  • WineBurrowingWombat commented:

    5/8/21, 12:10 AM - Great stuff csimm and thanks for the question Lite! Wanted to know how long of a decant was needed, if at all. Might have an opportunity in the near future to try this bad boy!

  • csimm1161 commented:

    5/8/21, 7:10 AM - I’d go with an hour or so decant. I don’t think this 2012 is one of those wines that needs some sort of 12 hour double decant blender whatever type of air treatment.

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