Red

2012 Harlan Estate

Red Bordeaux Blend

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • Oakville

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Community Tasting Note

  • csimm1161 wrote: 100 points

    July 27, 2021 - Vice Versa weekend and dinner: I got all ramped-up to write about this wine and then just re-read my notes from 4/30/2021 that basically say it all (so, refer to those notes if you want to read my novella from April). This was probably my favorite wine of the weekend. It is just so perfectly balanced, smooth, and complex. The depth is extraordinary, as in EXTRA awesome. A 2015 Promontory (as well as a number of the amazing Vice Versa wines) were nipping at the heels of this Harlan, but I can’t deny my complete adoration and affection for this amazing wine. It is an emotional response for me.

    When CT’er Cristal2000 said he was considering popping the cork on this bottle, I tried to play it off casually, like that would be a wine “worth exploring” or some sort of snobby academic reply that made me think I was saying something only mildly suggestive as to the merits of opening it for “the other people.” Of course, what I really meant was, “Um, I want. Me drink. Now please.”

    And yes, I hear it constantly. “But is it worth it, really?” Hell, I dunno. Generally speaking, it doesn’t put a roof over my head or cure me from cancer, so in that vein, I guess it’s not worth it. It is for me. Well, is it a bummer that it is in the top price bracket that it is…as in, it’s own bracket, leaving almost all Napa Cabs in the fiscal dust for only the elite to sample? Of course it’s a bummer. But if a Ferrari was inexpensive and everyone had one, it wouldn’t be a Ferrari. Regardless, if I (meaning me…not anyone else) had to have just one wine before I die kind of thing, this is at the top of my list.

    3 people found this helpful 2,633 views

28 Comments

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    7/27/21, 11:25 AM - Is the '12 your fav, or Harlan in general? I can relate to Harlan....wish it wasn't so high priced, but then again, if it wasn't, I more than likely would not be on the list to get it! So mixed feelings there! Of course, $1000 a bottle is pretty ridiculous for wine no matter how you slice it! Having said that, I still buy it.

    So here is my question for you....I am going out of town and wanted to share a Harlan (at least one that I have multiple bottles of), so that means I am looking at one of the following: '01, '08, '10, '12, or '16.....any suggestion? And how long of a decant?

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 11:34 AM - The 12 is definitely fantastic right now, especially with about 2 hours of decant time. I'd keep it at cellar temperature if possible and allow it to warm up in the glass. It's been years since I've had previous vintages ('10 was such a cool vintage I would think it might need a bit more time, but I can't say how it has been performing lately). The 16 is very powerful and utterly captivating, but I would leave that alone for at least another 5-6 years (if not a full decade from now) to allow some of the booze on the back end to dissipate. The price will always be a debate. For now, I'm on board. The 2019 looks to be spectacular. Cheers!

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    7/27/21, 12:08 PM - Thank you for the response.....any thoughts on '01 or '08? I'd be interested in your opinion, even if you have not tasted them...

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/27/21, 2:01 PM - My friends house is under renovation and I'm holding a mag of this for him. The temptation is REAL!!

    Thanks for posting Csimm

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    7/27/21, 2:03 PM - I think a mag of Harlan is a reasonable charge for holding a friend's wine.....unless it was THIS friend!

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/27/21, 2:07 PM - A perfect tariff indeed.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 3:10 PM - I don't have any specific insight on the 01 and 08. This is where the general masses at Cellar Tracker would be of better help. 01 was a decent vintage, but 02 was WAY better.

  • #1Winelover commented:

    7/27/21, 3:34 PM - Harlan is, well, very nice :). I am waiting on a couple of bottles of 2009. Have you had that?

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 3:40 PM - I had the 09 years ago when it was first released (before I ever posted anything on CT). I remember it being great, but I really don't have any specific context to recall since I didn't used to take or post formal notes back then. I was just getting seriously into Napa Cabs at the time. I do recall it being a transition wine for me from Rhone (where I cut my proverbial teeth [palate] on wine) into exploring Napa.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/27/21, 5:36 PM - Hey CSIMM - I think you left off the note how you begged and pleaded with me to open this wine and then continued to remind me until I relented...

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 5:45 PM - Of course that’s exactly how it went?! And as much as I’d like to publicly debate the details of you opening that wine, it’s probably wrong to argue with a man that opened a bottle of Harlan much to my benefit. Even though you frequently hate on me and make my heart cry a little, I’ll swallow my pride and simply say thank you for opening this fantastic bottle of wine. You are truly an amazing and generous man, and I’m a better person because of your wine philanthropy!

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/27/21, 6:16 PM - Will wonders never cease? The high road from CSIMM!!

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 10:34 PM - Give it 5 minutes. I’ll be back to low road here shortly...

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    8/1/21, 12:48 AM - Damn you- I only have one bottle…I will probably either get super drunk and open it at 2am because it is obviously the best idea ever or hold it way past it’s sell buy date and miss it altogether.

    I am making progress on my Napa H2H Bordeaux battle.

    Day 1- Top 10 Napa Giants
    Day 2- Top 10 Bordeaux Giants

    Day X - Napa vs Bordeaux H2H top 5 from each

    There is a gourmet ranch with a chef that focuses solely on food and wine. Each night a different focus from all over the world either in a face off (black truffle vs Summer (etc), or each night a truffle dish, meat dish, etc etc.
    1) Truffles
    2) Meats
    3) fish
    4) Homeade pasta

    https://www.terrafarmandmanor.com/

    Napa wines
    1. Screaming Eagle - TBD vintage
    2. Harlan - TBD vintage
    3. Abreu Thorevilos - TBD vintage
    4. Abreu La Posadas - TBD vintage
    5. Scarecrow- TBD vintage
    6. Mag 7 - TBD Vintage
    7. Hundred Acre - Wrath or other - TBD vintage
    8. Macdonald - TBD vintage
    9. TBD Kinsman Rhadamanthus- 2016/Eisele Estate/Tynan/Absurd/Black Magic/Colgin
    10. TBD

    Bordeaux
    1. Le Pin - TBD vintage
    2. Petrus - TBD vintage
    3. Lafleur - TBD vintage
    4. Ausone - TBD vintage
    5. VCC - 2010
    6. Latour 2005/2010
    7. Cheval Blanc 2009/2010
    8. Mouton 2005/2009/2010
    9. Margaux 2005/2009/2010
    10. TBD Lafite/Eglise-Clinet/etc

    Napa vs Bordeaux- this will have to be represented at another date due to requirement of additional bottles
    Top 5 Napa
    Top 5 Bordeaux

  • csimm1161 commented:

    8/1/21, 10:02 AM - Lite - So, um, that sounds like a more than mildly awesome experience!! Have you been to that place before?

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    8/1/21, 10:11 AM - Nope. Was just talking to the chef for a vice Versa wine dinner (not one I have worked with before and he opened this up a couple years ago). It doesn’t have to be there but it’s a super cool idea.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    8/1/21, 10:19 AM - That place is pretty cool. We set it up in Napa (or BDX lol) and ask the winemakers to bring their respective wines for the tasting that we set up. They'll get a dinner out of it or something! :)

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    8/1/21, 10:21 AM - I will ping you offline

  • City Squirrel commented:

    8/3/21, 9:35 PM - Lite - how do I get invited to this dinner and which bottles above can I bring to the battle?

  • csimm1161 commented:

    8/3/21, 10:18 PM - .....A couple bottles of Screagle seems fair :) Haha!

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    8/5/21, 8:25 AM - Ah that elusive bird!

  • bsumoba commented:

    8/18/21, 10:08 PM - Csimm, how does the 19' compare to say the 18' or 16' and the 12'?

  • csimm1161 commented:

    8/18/21, 10:56 PM - The 19 is spectacular. It has a freshness that is unparalleled. The 16 has a lot of flex and power still. The 16 needs time. The 12 is entering a perfect window right now. I think the 19 has a ton of potential and will have a beautiful balance of verve and concentration. I suspect the 19 will be a perfect wine once it hits bottle and has some time to integrate. The purity is fantastic. I have a note on the 19 in Cellar Tracker.

  • bsumoba commented:

    8/19/21, 9:13 AM - Yes, I saw your note.

    I saw a good interview with Cory Empting. https://youtu.be/VTfb05j97nU

    From a vintage standpoint, he talked about the 10', 16' and 18'. His insight on the philosophy of winemaking and grape growing is interesting and depicts what seems to be the trend of Napa Valley.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    8/19/21, 9:33 AM - Thanks for the link. I'll check it out today!

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    8/19/21, 11:34 AM - CSIMM - Do you think the freshness from the 19 was due to it being a barrel sample?

  • csimm1161 commented:

    8/22/21, 5:56 AM - I think the potency and power was due to it being a barrel sample. I attribute the freshness and acidity more toward the vintage, though obviously everything about any wine is turned up a notch or two when it is a barrel sample. I think there is a general freshness to the vintage I’m noticing across many 2019s I’ve tried so far that the Harlan sample also typifies.

  • I'd Rather Be Drinking Wine commented:

    8/22/21, 11:03 AM - Sounds like 19 will be an excellent vintage!

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