Harlan Estate   Proprietary Red

2003 Proprietary Red

By Harlan Estate

2003 Proprietary Red by Harlan Estate, Napa Valley, USA

The 2003 Proprietary Red from Harlan Estate is a standout in the pantheon of fine wines from the USA, notably revered as an iconic Californian Cabernet Sauvignon blend. Known for its extraordinary expressions year on year, this particular vintage contends markedly within this illustrious lineage.


A Masterstroke in Moderation

Favourably weathered under a clement Californian summer, this vintage blends the richness of Cabernet Sauvignon with the softer layers of Merlot, allowing a symphony of profound complexity with well-balanced nuance. The early summer's heat was tempered by an invitation of cooler days towards harvest; an opportunity the grapes seized to muster optimal ripeness imbuing a unique character to this 2003 expression.


Ravishing Red, Refined Investment

Smartly, tangy blackcurrant and succulent dark plum notes lead on the palate, gracefully accompanied by whispers of liquorice and delicate wafts of cedar spice. The elegant dance between fruit and tannin is impeccably choreographed, lending a graceful mouthfeel that hums with exquisite harmony. This is indeed a climate's gift to grapes and winemakers alike. The value of such an expressive wine aligns perfectly with the discerning gaze of wine investment.


Napa Valley's Gift to Connoisseurs

The imprint of Napa Valley's terroir is generously loaned to the glass, its loamy soils and coastal influenced climate conspire to intensify complex layers synonymous with Harlan Estate. This wine perfectly encapsulates the essence and character elicited from these esteemed lands.

In conclusion, the 2003 Proprietary Red from Harlan Estate serves as a valuable inclusion to any fine wine investor's portfolio. It stands as a testament of Californian winemaking, bravely straddling the divide between power and elegance, an exemplar of Napa Valley's contribution to the world's stage of discerning vintages.

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Scores and tasting notes


One of the most backward yet promising wines of the vintage is the 2003 Harlan Estate. Its dense opaque plum/purple color is accompanied by a sumptuous bouquet of graphite, camphor, creme de cassis, smoky barbecue wood and a hint of forest floor. Similar flavors hit the mouth with full-bodied splendor, a multidimensional mouthfeel and texture, and the sensational finish lasts more than 45 seconds. Some tannins are still present, and this wine seems much younger than expected at ten years of age, so give it 4-5 more years of bottle age and consume it over the following 20-25 years. One of the most stunningly beautiful vineyards in all of Napa Valley, Harlan Estate is located in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the Oakville Corridor. Harlan has been making world-class, first growth quality wines since the debut vintages of 1990 and 1991. Virtually nothing has been changed by winemaker Bob Levy, owner Bill Harlan and globe-trotting consultant Michel Rolland. The wine is largely all Cabernet Sauvignon and the production from the 40-acre vineyard is usually under 2,000 cases. The vineyard has a surprising composition of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Most blends lean heavily on the Cabernet Sauvignon with slightly more Cabernet Franc being utilized over recent vintages. Following the great 2001 and 2002 vintages, 2003 is the type of vintage that has a tendency to be forgotten, but the two 2003s prove that the site’s great pedigree is never easy to dismiss. Tel. (707) 944-1441

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 27 June 2013

Vintage performance