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2012 - Promontory Napa Valley Territory, Bill Harlan
- Napa Valley
The 2012 Promontory, which is the softest vintage to date, was slightly better this year than last year, as it had rounded out. It does not have the depth of the 2013, but it is a great wine on its own merits. Notes of new saddle leather, loamy soil, and crushed rock intermingle with blackcurrants, plum, tobacco leaf and spice in a full-bodied, wonderfully pure and large-scaled style with ripe, well-integrated tannin. It is accessible enough to enjoy, and in spite of its massiveness, it is certainly capable of evolving beautifully for 30 or more years. This 80-acre estate with 35 acres of vineyards high in the Mayacamas Mountains south of the Harlan Estate is another Cabernet Sauvignon project from Bill Harlan. It is hard to think of anything in Napa Valley as unexplored, pure wilderness, but Promontory Estate qualifies. I saw these wines last year, and now I’ve gotten the chance to see both the 2012 and 2013 again, and they are both even better than I had predicted when I tasted them last year. They are nearly all Cabernet Sauvignon with touches of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot in them, and probably the best way to compare them to the wines of Harlan Estate or the Bond single-vineyard projects is to describe them as more like a Napa version of a great St-Estèphe such as Château Montrose thanks to their spicy, earthy characteristics, although I’m not suggesting there is any of the rusticity that one might expect from these mountain terroirs.