March 10, 2020 - not blind
a perfect bottle, still too Young. 99+
March 7, 2020 - Occasional dinner group: Great whites and Cult Napa (@ Merlet): Drank this 1994 beside the 2004. The wines are almost identical. The 1994 just slightly more developed, but also still plenty of future. See my previous notes. Delicious wine.
February 5, 2020 - Another perfect wine at its peak, went beautifully with a NY Strip! Still garnet and completely opaque, no sign of brown at the edges. Powerful complex aroma full of cassis, with subtle French oak and herbal notes and some cedar and leather. This is just pure cabernet sauvignon at its absolute finest! Very viscous, with slow moving "legs". On the palate, full-bodied but not a "fruit bomb", is much more the style of a great Left Bank Bordeaux, similar to La Mission or Latour, very rich and full without being coarse or heavy. The balance with acidity and tannin is excellent. Alcohol is higher than any Bordeaux, which sets it apart. In short, this is fabulous, tastes much younger and more vibrant than its 25 years, is at its peak, fully mature, but isn't going downhill anytime soon. A real treat to taste, especially how it evolves over a several hours evening.
December 16, 2019 - 1994 California Cabernet Blind Tasting (Michelangelo Hotel, New York): Fungi nose which worked but very oxidative palate and overly green taste. Seems bottle variation. Score withheld.
November 9, 2019 - From an excellent looking bottle with a low neck fill, this had a deep red/purple center with small light red rims. The medium+ intensity nose put forth dried cherries, Napa red dust, anise, plum, and a touch of coco powder.
In the mouth, this wine has a silky, light texture but a big flavor impact. While rich and ripe, it showed slightly tart fruit and bitter chocolate flavors that balanced out all that ripeness. It was high toned and the finish was awesome.
This wine was still quite young from the standpoint of those looking for great old bottles. Not surprisingly, I recommend a 5+ hour decant. While tasting great right now, this wine had the suaveness, complexity, and balance to age for decades. There is no question that this was a world class wine. Very impressive!
November 8, 2019 - Napa Cult CabSav 1994 dinner (Singapore): Now we really enter the full throttle territory. Really rich wine here with dark fruit, the "more of everythign" Cru of the night. Lovely on the palate, the balance is there but an alcoholic touch on the finish made me make some deductions.
August 3, 2019 - Regular dinner group (@ JvT): Fantastic and perfumed bouquet with red and dark berries, oak and smoke. On the palate a beautiful balance between acidity and sweetness, red and dark berries, chocolate, elegance, some autumn impressions and still slightly drying tannin. For me personally Petrus 1995 was just a little more complete because the wine was a little more ready to drink. This Harlan still has a very good future and will probably improve with another 4+ years of ageing. 98 – 99
August 3, 2019 - Brief note from blind tasting yesterday at a friends place.
A big and huge napa cab, broad shouldered and stil elegant in a way.
Had stil a bit of a tannic grip and a palet supported by enough black and red fruit. This is still a beast, the drink between time above should be extended by at least 10 years. Compared to Petrus 1995 this was feeling much younger, but equally great.
Thx to that same crazy friend ;-)
July 11, 2019 - Slow-oxed 90 minutes before service. In the glass, deep indigo-red, very youthful appearance. On the nose, crushed blueberries and cedar. On the palate, currants, blueberries, cedar, a hint of smoke, and a slightly floral, slightly sweet, and very seductive mid-palate, with a long finish. Remarkably balanced wine, bouncing between fruit and complexity all night long, and one of the best cabs I've had in quite some time. While there are some tannins, they're silky and largely resolved, so now would be a good time to check in...
May 21, 2019 - Harlan Vertical (Zurich): Nine Vintages of Harlan. Some conclusions/highlights? Harlan is certainly one of the most consistently elegant, feminine Napa wines. Wonderfully smooth structure and texture, airiness in the best possible way. Exceptional! Still, they’re not light and come with a very good aromatic pressure and complexity. While the most recent vintages showed close to perfection, the vintages from the 90s didn‘t live up to expectations. Unfortunately, they (and I include the 2004) all seemed on the downward path showing signs of fatigue with some unwanted tones on the nose (not palate) despite a most perfect provenance. The younger vintages (coming not from 10 but 30+ year old wines) will certainly have a much longer life. The best wine was the 2012, followed by 2014, 2013 and 2005. Especially the young vintages are certainly among the best Napa has to offer and worth buying.
TN: An unbelievably sexy and feminine wine, so soft and round. High aromatic complexity and precision with strawberries, red currant, darker forest berries, tobacco, fresh forest floor, black truffles, smoke, mint, graphite. Good delineation. Constant change. Mellowed tannins, good freshness, good harmony and balance. What prevents me from giving a higher score is the missing tension, strength. The Dominus 94 I had a few weeks ago is the clearly better version of this wine with more of everything. Not to mention the 94 Shafer HS, which is still crazily young. This legendary vintage of Harlan is rather light on its feet and on the downward path. 95- points with the last sips being rather in the 92/93 range.
Decanting: 2.5h slow-ox, 40+ minutes in the glass. The wine was good from the start but improved with air revealing a broader aromatic spectrum. However, after 3 hours in the glass it started to decline. Caution is advised here. I would rather follow it over time in the glass than decant it prior to consumption.