Harlan Estate, Napa Valley Red Wine 2008

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 – Graphite, mineral, herbaceous waft of leaf. Suddenly the tannins are softening, you feel this uncoiling, fruit rides with the tannins in harmony rather than fighting for a place – the acidity is melded now, everything integrated and there’s a lovely intimacy to the perfume, a lavender-scented oak drawer opened for a second, then fine floral notes and savoury dark fruit. Still hints of austerity here, the tannins soft in the mid palate but gripping to the end

Bob Levy – cool aromas of red fruits, hints of savory herbal notes, faint sweet vanilla, mint, lower concentration

Cory Empting – dark, savory & complex, less acidity and detail than the 2009 but round, soft and charming

Don Weaver – expressive nose, notes of mocha, cocoa; sweet fruit, soft tannins, lingers in the mouth

François Vignaud – menthol, black fruits, shy; fresh notes, some menthol; slightly sweet mouthfeel, crescendo of tannins, more volumetric, lingering; still supportive acidity

Bill Harlan – distinctive nose, very interesting

Jamie Ritchie – More reserved and restrained on the nose. Black cherries, coffee, chocolate, liquorice and spice. More linear. Has freshness and depth. Does not quite have the weight, power and intensity of other vintages. There is a small trace of something that is not quite right: oxidation/nail varnish? Good length and depth. Elegant mid-weight and drinking well now.

Jim Walker –  not the usual complexity; smells delicious but flavors don’t (can’t decipher); short finish

Kelli White –  some secondary smells starting to emerge; some incense, a hint of leather, forest floor over a ripe apple/cherry base. very aromatic and heavy with sweet earthy smells; very appealing now, this wine offers copious but refined fruit with the first twinges

Will Harlan – nose is more rustic, more angular, volatile you can feel the heat/alcohol; phenolics are nearly as pleasurable, slightly green; good acidity, keeps the wine slender and transparent, not so fleshy, lacks density; not my favorite


Wine Details



Wine Style


Grape Varieties

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot



Bottle size


Drink dates

2020 - 2050







Napa Valley AVA

Tasting Information



Tasted by

Adam Lechmere

UK Stockist

Secondary market

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