The following tasting note shows the combined comments of the tasting panel organised for Club Oenologique at Harlan Estate on 11 March 2020. Present: Adam Lechmere, Bill Harlan, Will Harlan, estate directer Don Weaver, collector Jim Walker, Harlan educator Kelli White, director of winegrowing Bob Levy, Jamie Ritchie of Sotheby’s fine wine, Elaine Chukan Brown (notes can be found on jancisrobinson.com), winemaker Cory Empting, associate director François Vignaud
Bordeaux blend of average 75% Cabernet Sauvignon plus varying proportions of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Adam Lechmere – I love the nose on this – creamy, full, generous plummy aromas, hint of oak here. The tannins now robust and insistent and pulling apart from the acidity – six years on and the components are finding their place, tension working all ways, the finish dry and intense, juice fighting against the tannins. Young and not nearly ready – this will be mighty in a few years and will last for decades.
Bob Levy – ripe dark fruits, slightly jammy with hints of mineral & earth; black pepper, black olive; great depth & complexity with good tension; purity of tannins adds texture & length, fine grain adding to complexity
Cory Empting – flower is braided into tannins; something deeper, darker, more velvet layers with a tight matrix of structure; you can’t ignore the acidity naturally infused within the powerfully structured physique; the finish seems abrupt, softening with great persistence
Don Weaver – aromas alluring but indistinct, tar and undergrowth; seemingly less evolved, almost backward, very structured with a core of tannin; complex, highly detailed, lots of complication, layers, almost 3-D; mouthcoating tannin, very, very long finish; possibly in the “dumb stage”, should reappear to its former glory
François Vignaud – complexity: not one element showing first; herbal, savory, red berries, all with restraint; very precise, narrow mouthfeel from attack to finish; drive & energy; tannins are fine but remembered; most elevated wine so far
Bill Harlan – more expansive, slowly evolving, little by little with time; structure braided with flavor
Jamie Ritchie – Supple, dense, round, complex and intense. Blackcurrant, plums, back cherries, licorice, caramel, cedar and spice. Multi-layered. The nose is joyous and inviting – it announces that you are going to drink something special. Viscous and voluptuous, fresh yet dense. The blackcurrant and black cherry explode and coats your mouth. All your senses are awakened. Thick, dense, fresh and joyous. Continues to evolve and express itself. Finishes with multiple black fruits, cedar, spice, licorice, tobacco. It has extra dimensions, weight, volume and density, with enormous length. Everything is harmonious and in equilibrium. You cannot put it down!! One of the greatest Californian wines. You can enjoy it now, but try to keep it.
Jim Walker – sweet/tart blackberry, slightly closed; short, light, a touch of cocoa, clearly house style but less fruit forward; very youthful tannins
Kelli White – the brooding nose hints at power, with dark fruits, cassis & plum; scents of fresh potting soil, clove & thyme; the palate is intense & still tightly wound, with generous ripe fruit woven into the muscle; tannins are abundant yet ripe; a wine with a very long life ahead of it
Will Harlan – last of its cohort (2010-2013) with a bit sharper/hotter nose; structured tannin is the main event here. quite dense, you can feel acidity; quite closed at the moment, somewhat monolithic; assurance of future depth and complexity
- Drinking Window
- 2030 - 2050
- Wine Style
- Napa Valley AVA
- Bottle size
- Grape Varieties