The chorus of perfect scores says it all about this deep, garnet-purple beauty. This estate doesn’t settle for less than perfection, of course, so the superlative quality and gushing critical acclaim surprises no one. Tremendous detail and precision, bold in its opulent, blackberry pie flavors with layers of nuance from savory spices to forest floor on an absolute brick house of a palate. This will coast for decades, so settle in and savor the journey.
When it comes to wine pioneers credited with building Napa Valley's reputation as a producer of ultra luxury Cabernets, Bill Harlan may be second only to Robert Mondavi. In 1984, the then Northern California real estate developer and founder of Meadowood Resort and Spa made it his mission to produce the greatest red wine in California, a Napa Valley Grand Cru. After purchasing 240 acres in Oakville and planting 40 with Bordeaux grapes, Harlan teamed up two of the world's greatest winemakers, California's Bob Levy and Bordeaux' Michel Rolland, aka The Flying Winemaker.
The deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Harlan Estate comes charging out of the glass, brandishing bold, opulent blackberry pie, warm cassis and blueberry preserves notes with hints of cigar box, Indian spices, crushed rocks and forest floor plus fragrant accents of lavender and black tea. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid line of super ripe, grainy tannins and oodles of freshness supporting the layer upon layer of savory and earth-inspired notions, finishing on a lingering mineral note. Impressively structured, incredibly nuanced and possessing all this latent tension, this brazen beauty is set to live for a good 60 years and possibly more!
The quality of the 2016 Proprietary Red Wine shouldn’t surprise anyone. This estate rarely misses a beat, and in a great vintage like 2016, they’ve made a perfect wine. Sporting a deep purple hue as well as extraordinary notes of crème de cassis, blackcurrants, herbes de Provence, tobacco, graphite, and a who knows what else, this beauty hits the palate with a deep, powerful, full-bodied style that has enough structure to warrant a decade of cellaring. The purity is off the charts, it builds incrementally on the palate, and has a finish that won’t quit. Reminding me a little of the 2013, yet with a touch more elegance.
This is so tight and vibrant with a huge amount of detail and precision, coupled with density and brightness, superb length and class. The tannins are horizontal and so polished. The most refined, harmonious and focused Harlan ever? Subtle strength in this wine. You can drink it now or age it for years ahead."