Bill and Will Harlan, Bob Levy, and winemaker Cory Empting have exacting standards, and it shows. It took nearly fifty-four harvest passes over four weeks to collect fruit perfect enough for this vintage of Promontory. The landscape is challenging, but it delivers in complex characteristics of wet stone, graphite, lichen and laurel on a vibrant nose of fresh, red fruits. The first impression on the palate is gentle and elegant, building generously as it cruises through voluminous tannins to a finish that promises decades more pleasure. For those building a serious collection of Napa Valley Cabernets, this 3-pack in the original wooden case confers immediate gravitas.
Nothing makes our job as Bounty Hunters more fun than getting a peek behind the curtain at an exciting new wine farm, let alone one from the Harlan family. Back in 2016, our buying team had the pleasure of meeting with Will Harlan of Promontory Estate. He gave us a tour of his family’s winery under construction, and it was nothing short of impressive. Promontory Estate is an isolated little canyon high above Yountville and Oakville, and is just to the south of Harlan Estate as the crow flies. It’s one of the rare outcrops of metamorphic rock in the typically igneous, volcanic Napa Valley. The vineyard produces a wine of power and intensity that the Harlans tame with a 4 year-rest in French oak vats before bottling, a method reminiscent of a top Barolo estate. Bill and Will Harlan, Bob Levy, and winemaker Cory Empting have exacting standards, and it shows. If you’re building a serious collection of Napa Valley Cabernets, these 3-packs in original wooden cases confer immediate gravitas, and make a statement. The Harlans intend for this project to grow and gain renown over multiple generations.
Insane aromas of lavender, blackberries, wet earth and ripe yet fresh fruit. Full body with very deep fruit, pine needles and hints of chocolate and cedar. Very long and wonderfully polished. This has wonderful depth and focus. Release in 2021. Better after 2024.
The 2015 Promontory is another absolutely thrilling wine from the Harlan family's Promontory property in the hills above Yountville. Dense and dramatic in the glass, the 2015 races across the palate with stunning depth. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, leather, licorice and menthol fill out the wine's layers effortlessly, but it is the wine's overall balance that leaves the most lasting impression. Specifically, winemaker Davide Cilli has succeeded in finding a level of finesse in the tannins that eludes so many 2015s.
This 2015 is being released in 2020. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Promontory opens with a slowly unfurling, incredibly profound nose of crème de cassis, blackberry pie, plum preserves and raspberry coulis with nuances of wild mushrooms, tilled soil, yeast extract, tapenade and cedar chest plus a waft of violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid structure of firm, very ripe, grainy tannins and seamless freshness supporting the taut, elegantly played fruit, finishing with loads of mineral and earthy layers. Unlike any other 2015, I feel this wine has shut down just slightly and may well warrant a higher score when I come to taste it next year.