The 2018 Promontory is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; the estate has some Cabernet Franc planted, but it hasn't yet been utilized in the blend. Scents of crushed mint, ripe cherries and river stones mingle easily on the nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate is tense and fresh. This has what is fashionably described as "tension" in spades, then finishes long and silky. Give it some time in the cellar, and my rating my look stingy in a decade.
The newest of the Harlan-related projects, Promontory is based on an 840-acre parcel of largely forested hills located south of Harlan Estate. Purchased in 2008, it's virtually a valley unto itself, with fewer than 84 acres under vine. The winery itself is situated just north of Harlan. From a slightly higher elevation and virtually surrounded by nature, the wine is more taut and structured, accentuated by its élevage in Austrian oak foudres from Stockinger, which range from 1000 to 5000 liters in volume. This is always released later than the other Harlan projects, with the 2019 slated for release in March 2023. Availability at retail is extremely limited, so the best option is to sign up for the mailing list. Unlike Harlan Estate and Bond, Promontory does offer visits by appointment, so at least there is a chance to try the wine for yourself.
During a visit to Promontory in December, I tasted the four latest vintages with winemaker David Cilli, Cory Empting and Will Harlan. The current release is the 2015 vintage, recently offered on the domestic market with the international offer coming out this spring. It was an absolute joy to taste the perfect 2016 Promontory again, a wine that Cilli mentioned "so clearly shows the characteristics of Promontory." Of the 2017 (now in bottle), Cilli said, “We were not able to pick the last few Promontory blocks because of the fires, so it was a very small harvest this year. We had picked a few lots just after the heat spells, and we were able to maintain that freshness in the wine." The 2018 vintage was tasted as a barrel sample, due to be bottled in early 2021. Cilli said, "We picked for six weeks at Promontory. I picked maybe 90 different lots!" Given the many, incredibly varied aspects, altitudes and soil types at this remote vineyard, this kind of parcel separation is critical to producing a wine of exceptional quality. This 2018 is truly a wine achievement to behold.
Drink date 2025-2045