Robert Parker 99+
The 2012 Harlan Estate is reminiscent of their 2002. Probably a candidate for perfection with another 4-5 years of bottle age, the wine is inky plum/purple to the rim and offers a gorgeous nose of scorched earth, blackberry and cassis, forest floor, and a floral, lavender-like component followed by deep, opulent, majestic flavors that caress the palate with high but sweet tannin. This is relatively evolved, and supple and voluptuous for a young Harlan estate – hence the comparison with their compelling 2002. This wine can be drunk in several years and is likely another candidate for 30-50 years of cellaring.
The Maiden is made up of the lighter, softer, more evolved lots culled from the Harlan Estate wine. The Harlan Estate is virtually all Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Merlot and Petit Verdot, but interestingly, very little or possibly no Cabernet Franc, which is surprising in view of its neighbor Futo Estate, which is just down the hillside and does such a magnificent job with Cabernet Franc in their blends. As a postscript, I recently tasted the first Harlan Estate wines, which were never released, as Bill Harlan wanted to set the market on fire with a truly great wine. Looking back on the 1987, 1988 and 1989, the 1987 was tired, but the other two vintages were certainly upper 80-point wines, although nowhere near the quality of his first release, the 1990, or the subsequent great wines that started with the 1991. And speaking of the 1991, I just had two bottles of it at two separate tastings from my cellar, and that wine, at age 24, is still incredibly vigorous, vibrant and majestic. So my aging curves of 30-50 years for recent great vintages are completely understandable, given the fact that the 1991 still has at least another 20 years of life left in it.