Robert Parker 98+
Its bigger brother, or sister, depending on the point of view, is the extremely young, fresh, vigorous, yet still exuberant and promising 2005 Harlan Estate. Normally, the blends on these wines tend to be 85%-90% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest tiny proportions of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and possibly some Petit Verdot, although I don’t recall that being a very important part of the estate vineyard. The 2005 is incredibly youthful at age ten, although certainly drinkable. And who wouldn’t consume it if they had the opportunity? It will benefit from another 5-10 years of cellaring and certainly has 30 or more years left in its evolutionary curve. Gorgeous, and tasting akin to a hypothetical Pauillac blended with a great Pessac-Léognan from Bordeaux comes to mind because of the smoky, subtle barbecue notes, fruitcake, forest floor, graphite and minerality. The wine has stunning fruit and a full-bodied, powerful richness, yet is still nimble on its feet. This is a classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from an absolutely magnificent hillside vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the Oakville corridor on the valley floor. This opaque, garnet/purple wine is another tour de force and, once again, proves that Harlan Estate is not only one of the greatest wines of California, but of the world.