1996 Harlan Estate Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #902111 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The opaque purple-colored 1996 Harlan Estate reveals extraordinary intensity, a spicy, black currant, tobacco, cedar, and fruit cake-scented bouquet, full body, a texture oozing with glycerin and concentrated fruit, and moderate tannin in the blockbuster finish. It is one of the most concentrated and complete red wines one could hope to taste. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2030. (RP)  (12/1999)

97 points Wine Spectator

 Very tight and compact, dense and focused, with vibrant blackberry, graphite and black cherry fruit that's intense, concentrated and persistent. (JL, Web Only-2010)

96 points Vinous

 It is fascinating to taste the 1996 Harlan Estate after the 1999. Tightly wound and almost Old World in spirit, the 1996 is compelling from the first taste. Although the 1996 doesn’t have the natural Napa Valley opulence that runs through so many other wines in this tasting, it’s balance is simply impeccable. Scents of tobacco, leather, cedar and spice add aromatic intensity. For a 21 year-old wine, the 1996 is still quite powerful. As good as the 1996 is, there is a perceptible aggressiveness in the tannins that are hardly, if ever, seen in today’s wines. (AG)  (9/2017)

K&L Notes

Wine Advocate's Lisa Perrotti-Brown retasted the wine in 2011: "Deep garnet with some brick in color, this is giving a spicy nose with notes of cloves, Chinese five spice and ripe plums plus hints of cherry compote and smoked game. The palate is youthful and has plenty of muscular fruit with firm, fine-grained tannins plus enlivening acid, finishing long." (11/2011)

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Price: $699.99
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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.