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Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003


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Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon Appellation: Napa Valley  Region: California Country: United States


Harlan Estate is a California wine producer, founded in 1984 by Bill Harlan. The estate is located in the western hills of Oakville in the Oakville AVA in the heart of Napa Valley. It started with 6-acres and has grown to 240 acres today with 40-acres planted. The estate is focused on making Bordeaux style blends and its first vintage was 1987 although Harlan didn't do a commercial release until the 1990 vintage (which wasn't released until 1996!).

Bill Harlan’s focus on Harlan Estate has always been for the long term and he has been rewarded for it.  Harlan's wines have been critically acclaimed by top wine critics and command cult-like pricing similar to other Napa Valley cult wines, including Screaming Eagle. In addition to its namesake proprietary red wine, Harlan Estate also produces a second wine called "The Maiden." Both wines are complex, full-bodied and can be aged for decades. Harlan makes wines that are opulent and rich with dense fruit and elements of black currant, spice, and minerals. The wines are graceful and elegant. 

Bill Harlan's interest in wine started at a young age. He would go on to attend U.C. Berkeley in the late 1950's and his first introduction to Napa was around 1959 doing weekend trips while at university. He fell in love with the natural beauty in Napa but wine is what lured him there more and more often and he became interested in producing wine himself. He eventually traveled to Europe, visited some of the great wine estates, and fell in love with the quality and consistency of Bordeaux wines.

In 1979, Bill would launch Meadowood, an exclusive resort in Napa Valley. Then in 1983, he and some other partners brought Merryvale Vineyards back to life (but Harlan sold his interest in Merryvale the mid-1990's) and a year later (1984) he bought the property that would become Harlan Estates. The property is meticulously maintained. The vines were originally planted by David Abreu and the elevation ranges from just above the valley floor at 150 feet to a high point on the property at 1200 feet.

Today, Harlan Estate is a somewhat mythical producer making wines with a truly unique expression - the wines are rich, deep, concentrated and intense. Yet there is a sense of elegance and purity of fruit that meshes perfectly with all the power. Harlan Estate is a world class wine, with prices to match. Perhaps Robert Parker has said it best: "Harlan Estate might be the single most profound red wine made not just in California, but in the world." 

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