Harlan Estate 2013

SubregionNapa Valley

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Tasting Notes

As I predicted last year, the 2013 Harlan Estate is one of their all-time greats, although they have had many of them, starting with the 1991, followed by 1994, 1995, 1997 (although controversial in some circles), 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012. This great first-growth property, with aspirations to produce the finest Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine made in the New World, has given us a wine that has it all in 2013. Dense purple to the rim, with notes of espresso, white chocolate, mocha, blackberry, cassis, and cedar wood, the wine is full-bodied, opulent, but also structured, pure and incredibly long (well past a minute aftertaste). It is probably closest in personality and overall character to the compelling 2001, which is still a youthful wine at age 15. Drink it over the next 50+ years.

Score: 100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (227), October 2016

A candidate for perfection is the 2013 Harlan Estate. This compelling wine, with notes of graphite, spring flowers, cedar wood, Christmas fruitcake, mocha, blackberry and cassis fruit, the wine hits the palate with a thunderous cascade of extract, richness, full body, and stunning purity and equilibrium. Of course, this wine gets treated like a pampered child, with no compromises, and is made to reflect its great terroir on the western Mayacamas hillsides overlooking the Oakville corridor. This is a killer wine and, of the more modern day vintages, is probably closest to the style of 2001. Truly legendary stuff, and world-class in every sense – aromatically, flavor-wise, and in aging potential – this is another statuesque, prodigious effort from Bill Harlan and his winemaking team. Drink it over the next 50+ years.

Score: 99/100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (221), October 2015

This is really sensational with such precision and focus. Glorious aromas of tar, graphite, black currants and blackberry. Full-bodied, very tight and reserved. Phenomenal tannic structure that is supple and wonderful. This new classicism makes me speechless. 100 percent pleasure. Drinkable but built for aging.

Score: 100James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2016

The 2013 Harlan Estate has really shut down since I tasted it from barrel a year ago. Dark, powerful and brooding, with plenty of tannic grip, the 2013 is a wine to buy and forget about for at least a few years. Black fruit, graphite, violet smoke and licorice are some of the signatures, but, here, too, the wine belongs to the future. I wouldn't dream of opening a bottle before its tenth birthday. The Harlan Estate is one of the most finessed - if not the most finessed 2013 - readers will taste. This is a stunningly beautiful, vivid wine.

Score: 99Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, December 2016

The 2012 Harlan Estate is striking in its beauty. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, mint and new leather are all laced together in a Harlan Estate endowed with a compelling interplay of energy and nuance. This is an especially showy, radiant Harlan Estate that is likely to offer a wide window of pure drinking pleasure. The 2012 is not a big wine, but rather a Harlan Estate built on finesse.

Score: 97Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, October 2015

(this wine had been racked to tank on the morning of my visit): Full, bright ruby. Superripe, slightly high-toned aromas of cassis, blackberry and licorice, with a brightening note of minerality. Silky, dense and large-scaled but extremely primary and imploded, showing outstanding cut and lift to its dark berry and mineral flavors. A juicy minty note gives additional lift to this seriously plush, concentrated wine. Finishes with huge but noble tongue-saturating tannins and outstanding length. Great potential here.

Score: 95/97Stephen Tanzer, vinous.com, May 2014

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.