2020 Harlan Estate - "beautifully poised"
Ahead of its imminent release, Senior Portfolio Manager Matt Small looks into why the upcoming release of the 2020 Harlan Estate is a significant milestone in the estate’s history.
Harlan Estate stands as an icon within the realms of fine winemaking. Nestled in the western hills of Oakville, this renowned winery has consistently produced some of the most sought-after and critically acclaimed wines in the world.
Founded by real estate developer H. William Harlan in 1984, Harlan Estate has become synonymous with a commitment to quality. With a limited production and a six-year waiting list to get access to their primary release, Harlan Estate is one of the most exclusive wine producers in the world.
The 2020 vintage will be known as the fire vintage due to two large wildfires in early August and mid-September effecting the cabernet harvest throughout the Napa Valley. Thankfully due to Harlan’s Oakville location and the prevailing wind the initial LNU fire did not affect Harlan’s vines and picking was completed by the 10th September which meant the grapes were unaffected by the Glass fire which started on the 27th September.
The long dry growing season which contributed to the wildfires also meant that Harlan’s old vine grapes ripened early. It is important to remember that the 2020 vintage was not the result of early harvesting but harvesting earlier. The older vines, lower yields, dry harvesting and an experienced viticulture team have much to do with bringing the crops to full maturity sooner. While 2020 became an impossible vintage for producers like Opus One and Scarecrow, Harlan Estate have managed to create a unique vintage with critical acclaim.
“This a truly eye-opening wine with regards to what was possible in 2020. I am not sure what that Harlan team did, but all I can say is Bravo!”
Harlan has all the fundamentals of a top investment wine. Big brand name, consistent high points scores, and low supply (circa 2,000 cases anually). The 2020 vintage has achieved a perfect 100 point score from Lisa Perotti-Brown, 99 points from Decanter and 18/20 from Jancis Robinson. Due to the dry growing season the 2020 vintage is down 10% to 1,800 cases which makes this unique vintage even more desirable.
The Cru Wine team were fortunate to try the 2020 Harlan ahead of its release on Jan 24th. Personally, I was very impressed by the vintage’s freshness and tension while maintaining Harlan’s typical explosive power.
“Lots of mineral, red berry, and black fruit layers intertwined to offer an incredibly complex, yet beautifully poised, experience… Wow: it’s a pure, effortless, truthful wine.”
100 Points – Lisa Perrotti-Brown
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