Harlan Estate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Harlan Estate
Location Oakville, California, USA
Appellation Oakville AVA
Founded 1984
Key people Bill Harlan, Proprietor
Bob Levy, Director of Winegrowing
Don Weaver, Estate Director
Cory Empting, Winemaker
Mary Maher, Vineyard Manager
Cases/yr 1100-1800
Known for Harlan Estate
The Maiden
Tasting by appointment
Website www.harlanestate.com
Harlan Estate 1997 vintage

Harlan Estate is a California wine estate producing Bordeaux style blends. The estate is located on the west hills of Oakville, California within the Oakville AVA, in the Napa Valley AVA zone.

Harlan Estate has been described as "the ultimate cult winery",[1] with its limited availability, prices and status akin to those of Screaming Eagle. In addition to the estate wine, there is produced a second wine named The Maiden.


In 1984, H. William Harlan, a real estate developer and Napa Valley resort owner,[2][3] purchased a 240-acre (97 ha) property, a forested area, with steep hillsides, multiple elevations and exposures, west of Martha's Vineyard in Oakville, and proceeded to clear 40 acres (16 ha) for viticulture,[4] with Harlan's expressed ambition to "create a first growth wine".[5]

The first Harlan Estate wine label, a design inspired by a 19th-century engraving which was overseen by retired U.S. Treasury engraver Herb Fichter, was 10 years in the making, from when Bill Harlan first started his search for an engraver to the release of the 1990 vintage in 1996.[5] On its qualities, Harlan has stated, "It was a label designed for a bottle that would sit on a table in candlelight, not on a store shelf."[5]

Described by Jancis Robinson as "one of the ten best wines of the twentieth century",[5] and consistent acclaim from Wine Spectator,[6] and Robert Parker, including four scores of 100 "parker points",[3] have further contributed to the wine's high prices and long waiting lists. Released at $245 per bottle, the price soon rises on the speculative market,[2] and the cost may range from $650 and up.[3][7] A 10-vintage vertical selection of magnum bottles sold at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction for $700,000.[5]

The Director of Wine Making, Bob Levy, has worked with Harlan since 1983 when Harlan took part in founding the Merryvale Winery,[2][4][5] and since 1989 the estate has retained Michel Rolland as consultant enologist.[1][3][8] Construction of the current winery was completed in 2002.[2]


The estate extends 240 acres (97 ha), of which approximately 15% of the land, 40 acres (16 ha) is cultivated with the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.[8][9]

Most vintages from 1990 through 1997 have been Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux blends, but since the 1998 vintage, the estate wine has been 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.[4]

Production averages 1,800 cases annually.

BOND Estates[edit]

Beginning production in 1997, Harlan founded BOND Estates,[2] in collaboration with winemaker Bob Levy, with the intent to identify and produce wine from "grand crus" of Napa Valley.[10] Erroneously described as second wines of Harlan Estate, the BOND winery is located on the western hills of Oakville.[10]

BOND: A portfolio of wines that are diverse in their geographic representation and 'Grand Cru' in quality, all under the umbrella of one philosophy, one team, one mark.

Sourced from select hillside estates, the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines of BOND vividly demonstrate the range of Napa Valley's finest terroir-specific Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

MELBURY originates from a spectacular property on the slopes north of Lake Hennessey, in the hills east of Rutherford.

QUELLA is the name for the wine from a 9-acre site located in the eastern hills overlooking the heart of the Napa Valley.

ST. EDEN is based upon an 11-acre rocky knoll that is part of a beautiful estate located just north of the Oakville Crossroad. Eden is an historical reference to this region's designation on nineteenth century maps.

VECINA is coined from the Spanish word for neighbor. This property is situated directly southeast of the BOND winery.

PLURIBUS expresses the character of an estate located at an elevation over 1,100 feet on the dramatic slopes of Spring Mountain.

The blend, offered under the MATRIARCH label, is evocative of its pedigree and distinct in its hillside character.


  1. ^ a b Kamp, David & Lynch, David, Vanity Fair (November 2005). "The Wine Snob's Dictionary". 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brook, Stephen, Decanter.com (February 16, 2007). "Bill Harlan - Decanter Interview". 
  3. ^ a b c d Parker, Robert M. Jr, BusinessWeek (September 10, 2007). "A Perfectionist Fulfills His Dream". 
  4. ^ a b c Laube, James, Wine Spectator (April 30, 2000). "Harlan Estate". 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Teague, Lettie, Food & Wine (March 2001). "California's Cult-Cabernet Visionary". 
  6. ^ Suckling, James, Wine Spectator (August 31, 2006). "I Have Joined the Cult". 
  7. ^ Heimoff, Steve, steveheimoff.com (November 24, 2008). "Upsetting applecarts: Blind tasting as a revolutionary act". 
  8. ^ a b Napa Valley Wine Library Association. "Fall Field Seminar". 
  9. ^ Appellationamerica.com. "Harlan Estate". 
  10. ^ a b Eklund, Kurt-Inge (2008). "Harlans Imperium". Mat & Vänner Vin (Helsingborg: Mat & Vänner Förlag AB) (2): 48–54. ISSN 2000-0200.  (Swedish)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°24′54″N 122°24′30″W / 38.41500°N 122.40833°W / 38.41500; -122.40833