TN: 2005 Harlan Estate The Maiden

(First go at a TN here, so would welcome any feedback!)

Picked up a bottle of 05 Maiden to try the style and see if it lived up to the hype, as well as see what the wine is like with some age on it. Knew this was going to be pretty tightly wound even for a 10 year old bottle so I took it to a Som friend at a nice DC restaurant who popped it about 4 hours before dinner and vigorously decanted for 3 of those hours. (He described his first impressions upon opening as it being very Spanish-like, with lots of peppery notes and little floral or fruit).

On the nose the wine had hints of pepper, black and red fruit, and some light floral notes. First taste brought nicely balanced notes of black fruit, currants, giving way to subtle yet still present tannins in the mid palate along with some light toast. The end brought strong notes of many different peppers (bell, black, and even a little jalapeno). Not the fruit bomb I was expecting it to be and the pepper really surprised me. This is a wine that is just coming into adolescence and has many more years of aging ahead. 95+/100

Thank you for the note. I bought a three pack of the 2005 when offered years ago, and had one bottle of the 2005 in 2011. After an hour decant I enjoyed it - though I don;t recall much in the way of bell pepper back then (and don’t ever recall a jalapeño note). I would say that I agree that it is a much more subdued wine and definitely I did not think it was a fruit bomb. So other than the pepper we seem to agree. I wonder if the pepper could have been hidden when I drank it fairly young. That said, your note encourages me to open another bottle soon. Thank you.

Maiden is always one of my favorite’s. I had my last 99’ about a year ago and it was still tasting great. I also have never detected a bell pepper note in any of them nor black pepper that I can recall. Crud might have to pungo one:>)

thanks for the note
still have some 97 01 02 and 04
they show great with age for sure

Sounds wonderful. Though I would hate to miss the initial and along-the-way-while-decanting samples, I find that process of watching a wine move through its phases to be quite interesting.

Please post more often, Chris.

As much grief as Harlan gets at times for being one of the most notable CCCs (Cali Cult Cabs), the sentiment (theirs and others) that they are a “Napa first growth” isn’t entirely hyperbole. The Maiden IMO was solid for the price until the cost increases of recent years, and I’ve never experienced the fruit bomb notes that people typically associate with Napa vintages right out of the gate.

Am a couple bottles into a 6-pack of the '05 Maiden bought upon release, and am quite content to pull a bottle every couple of years going forwards. No surprises or disappointments with the bottles consumed thus far.

I bought a three-pack of these (at a not insane price) after tasting one at a big wine event in NC. (The only thing worth drinking other than the Maiden was a bottle of Chave Hermitage that the itb-ers who were pouring were passing around.)
That night I found a balanced rich wine, with notable undertones of black truffle coming through on the finish. When I popped one of my own, I was less impressed–not a total fruit bomb, but young, primary, and a touch simple. Glad to hear, then, that yours is doing nicely and at least offering some of the complexity I had remembered.