Robert Parker 99
The 2018 Harlan Estate was tasted as a barrel sample, to be bottled in March. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs a fair bit of swirling to reveal a wonderfully fragrant perfume of blueberry pie, chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and black currant pastilles with hints of cumin seed, rose oil and black olives. Medium to full-bodied, the taut, grainy-textured palate delivers remarkable energy with compelling tension and a long, graceful, earth-laced finish.
Harlan Estate has two very distinct soil types: the hills to the east, of volcanic origin, and the slopes to the west of sedimentary composition. The common thread across the property is the paucity of top soil and the 360-degree exposures of the many separate blocks. The vines have established themselves deep into the bedrock. Viticulture applies organic and biodynamic practices. Grapes are carefully sorted by hand and fermented in small lots in wood fermenters. The wine is pressed-off into French barriques, with a balanced use of new and used oak, and aged for about 24 months prior to being bottled, unfined and unfiltered. Deep, profound, savoury, wonderful combination of fruit purity, power, concentration but also great elegance and finesse. The savoury aftertaste lingers here for 30–45 seconds. Not at all showy, this somehow manages to be fresh, structured, powerful, ripe and has great potential for the future. Cherry/damson/blackberry fruit notes but the fruit is a sideshow to how this has been constructed. Glorious stuff. (AWH)
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2040