2000 Harrison Cabernet, Napa

I find it so refreshing to actually be able to put a face and a name to a wine. Forget the multi-million dollar marketing budgets and gorgeous labels. Give me a friendly smile at a wine event and a name tag that says “owner/winemaker.” That’s exactly what you’ll find if you attend a tasting event where Lyndsey Harrison is pouring her wines.

Like more than a few of the small production winemakers whose juice I enjoy, Lyndsey and her late husband Michael were first landowners and then vintners. They purchased their Harrison Vineyard estate on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennesey in Napa which happened to be planted with 17 acres of mature Cabernet and Chardonnay vines. The previous owners had been in the habit of selling their grapes on the market and the Harrisons, who had no intention of becoming winemakers, decided to do the same. Over the years, with encouragement from new friends in Napa, they gradually dipped their toes into the barrel, so to speak, and starting in 1989 began to produce wines that were critically acclaimed.

Now, 15 years later Harrison Vineyards is one of Napa’s most acclaimed family run vineyards. Lyndsey has spent a lot of time working in the wine industry, and has the help of some big name consulting winemakers, but she still treats her wine and the vineyard as very much her own project, attending tastings and talking with the people who buy and drink her wine.

The production on this vintage was a mere 750 cases, all from Cabernet grown on her Pritchard Hill estate, aged in 100% French oak.

Tasting Notes:
Garnet red in the glass, this wine has a nose dominated by chocolate and ripe cherry with some hints of blueberry. In the mouth the wine starts very tight with some green stemmy elements that give way to dark cherry and blackberry flavors. This is a dense, chewy wine that has a nice medium finish, and it improves immensely with time and air. I would suggest decanting it for a couple of hours before drinking. (After a night in the fridge it was still drinking very well.)

Food Pairing:
Lyndsey recommends serving this wine with a recipe from her website called La Mazille’s Lamb.

Overall Score: 8

Price: $59

I get mine through Porthos. Incidentally, I have barrell tasted the 2001 and it is amazing. If you have the opportunity to pick some up, it’s well worth it.