Exclusive Napa Red From the Harlan Family

Today’s Story: The Napa Valley Reserve

The Napa Valley Reserve was established by H. William Harlan in 2000 and is a private members-only club located in St. Helena of the Napa Valley. While the vineyards are overseen by the Harlan Estate viticulture team and winemaking is spearheaded by Harlan Estate winemaker Bob Levy and winemaker Marco Gressi, members are involved in as much of the winemaking process as they desire. For instance, members are able to assist in pruning during the winter months, thinning during the summer months, and harvest in the fall which is accomplished entirely by hand. Members even get to help monitor the fermentation process, top up their barrels during aging, and can help determine a custom blend for their own wines, custom bottles, and custom labels. If you would like to join this exclusive club of about 600 members, prepare to pay upwards of $100,000 for entry after receiving the necessary invite.

I highly recommend visiting the website here, particularly for the pictures of this beautiful winery and its vineyards.

Today’s Wine: 2003 Napa Valley Reserve

Blend unknown; 14.5% ABV

The 2003 Napa Valley Reserve is opaque deep garnet in color with deep ruby hues in the bowl. This is a very complex wine, with the incredibly perfumed nose changing over time to reveal aromas of cassis, plum, black raspberry, fig, licorice, lavender, mild tobacco, truffle, dried rocky earth, eucalyptus, ground pepper, and cedar. The palate is equally complex, though not as vibrant, with notes of juicy red cherry, raspberry, blackberry, crème de cassis, pipe tobacco, wet volcanic earth, black truffle, green underbrush, coffee grounds, chocolate, pepper, and iron. This utterly elegant wine drinks like liquid silk and is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, refined and mature medium tannins, and a very long finish. Stunning.

Price: Technically not for resale, though you can sometimes find this in auction or at wine stores that source from private collectors. I’ve seen this 2003 anywhere from $150 to $700 per bottle. If you can find this closer to the low end of that price range, buy any of it you can. This has all the classic Harlan characteristics you find in Bond, Promontory, and Harlan Estate but at a much more accessible level if you’re lucky.