A big step up over the 2003, the 2005 Harlan Estate is still youthful and vibrant with incredible purity and elegance, as well as a huge, opulent, sweetly fruited, irresistible style. Blackberries, blueberries, violets, spring flowers, lead pencil and a remarkable minerality all emerge from this sensational wine that has sweet, present tannin, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. It’s certainly a joy to drink today but will keep for another two to three decades.
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. (RP) 98+
This is very, very floral with sage, black currants, black berries, and hot stones. Full bodied, with blackberry, black olives, and cashmere like tannins. It finishes broad and is completely captivating. This is starting to come around, but be patient for another two years.
Open-knit, sensual and perfumed, the 2005 Harlan Estate is super-expressive today. Like so many 2005s, the Harlan is a bit lacking in intensity and overall structure relative to the very best years. The 2005 is a terrific choice for drinking now and over the next 15-20 years. At some point during that arc of time, the 2005 is likely to become a bit frail, but that does not appear to be imminent. Even after thinning to a cluster per shoot, the clusters and berries were large, which required some bleeding in the tanks, a technique that is not often used at Harlan Estate. (AG)
Smells a bit minty and peppery, but once in the mouth, turns ultra-generous in black currant, chocolate-covered mint and spicy cedar flavors. Massive, yet refined and elegant, and even with the firm tannins, grows more charming as it warms in the glass. Very fine quality, and likely to hold for many years.
The 2005 Harlan Estate is an exuberant wine, bursting with ripe red cherry and blackcurrant, rich mocha, charcoal and dried herbs, and perhaps even some incipient cedar. This is a generously proportioned and massively structured Harlan Estate that bears some resemblance to the 1995, combining ample tannins with a supple palate impression. This is still some years away from its peak. (WK)
Tightly wound and closed, with notes of pencil lead and shavings, graphite, mineral and dried berry. The flavors are intense and persistent, without too much weight. This is graceful in its own way. (JS, Web-2010)
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