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1991 Harlan out of Magnum


At a recent Vinfolio staff meeting we blind tasted the 1991 Harlan out of magnum. I thought it was very well balanced and showed strong fruit on the palate despite the apparent aging suggested by the the rim variation. My guess was that the wine was from a vintage somewhere between 1985 and 1993 since I had previously tasted a 1993 Montelena Estate Cabernet out of magnum, and this tasted somewhat older than that. My guess was that the wine was 1986 Caymus Special Selection since I didn't think that it had the concentration coming from mountain fruit.

All in all, I think the 1991 Harlan is showing wonderfully and is an excellent representation of Napa Valley fruit. It reminded me of what they call "Rutherford dust" and I noted definitive Cabernet markers such as blackcurrant and leather. I also thought the use of new oak was well integrated in the taste profile.

Here are the reviews from the Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator in case you are curious:

Wine Advocate
, February 1997:

"This is a profoundly great wine. It came across in a blind tasting as one of the most remarkable wines there, with most tasters mistaking it for a first-growth Medoc. The wine revealed an opaque purple color, a fabulously complex, sweet nose of minerals, fruitcake, cedar, toasty new oak, and pure blackcurrant fruit. Although huge in the mouth, the wine is remarkably well-balanced, with its high tannin level well-concealed by copious quantities of sweet ripe fruit, as well as huge amounts of glycerin and extract. I have consistently rated the 1991 Harlan Estate in the mid to upper nineties, but in this blind tasting with so many high quality wines, it was a big-time winner. Approachable now, this wine should be at its best by the turn of the century and last for 2-3 decades. Drink: 2000-2027. -Robert Parker, 98 points"

Wine Spectator
, 2002

"Dark, rich and intense, with firm cedar, currant, leather, mineral and sage. As it opens, it shows more olive, mint and sage, and the structure is excellent, with firm, well-integrated tannins.--'81/'91 California Cabernet retrospective. Best from 2003 through 2014. 935 cases made. -James Laube, 91 points."
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Year, Name, Varietal, Country, Region, Appellation, Color Drink dates Score(s)  
Harlan
1991 Harlan
Red Bordeaux Blend
USA - California - Napa - Napa Valley
Comm: 2003-2015
98
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