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Harlan Estate 2016
13 July 2020

When Bill Harlan first began his search for land in the Napa Valley he started a chain of events that were to lead to the creation of a true California ‘First Growth’. Today, Harlan Estate is the winery so many aspire to; a true icon in the valley. A man naturally instilled with the pioneering spirit, it is perhaps unsurprising that Bill Harlan sought out a part of the valley previously deemed unacceptable for vine growing. In the almost 40 years since its inception, Harlan Estate has gone on to position itself at the very pinnacle of American wine, all the while leading a charge into the Mayacama foothills hills, dozens of wineries following in the path laid down by one man’s pursuit of a dream.

The estate was officially founded in 1984, with the clear vision to build and establish one of the finest winegrowing estates in America, using virgin hillside land to create something separate from the past. A purchase was made of some pristine forest above the famed Oakville Benchlands, directly above Martha’s Vineyard. At the time, this represented completely unexplored potential – an uncharted wilderness. But in Harlan’s eyes, this was the most exciting part of the valley, where the natural chaos of the forest spills down to the manicured valley below and the activities of nature are at their most evident and untamed. This previously unexplored transition zone turned out to be a melting pot of soils, climate and elevations that duly gave rise to an estate wine of enormous natural complexity, power and elegance.

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