Hot Dish

Vintage Cellar Returns, Toasting Harlan Estate

BY September 14, 2016

Ladies and gents, if the name "Harlan Estate" means something to you, you won’t want to miss the 2017 Vintage Cellar on Jan. 26 at Bleu Provence.

The annual wine tasting seminar and lunch kicking off the Naples Winter Wine Festival started a few years ago as a new event to get the party uncorked a day early for those attending the weekend’s three-day oenophile opus, but it has become a big draw itself. 

Attendance doesn’t come cheap. Tickets this year are $2,500 a pop ($10,000 per couple for the festival). But if you’re serious about wine and like the idea of supporting the Naples Children & Education Foundation, it’s not hard to justify a seat knowing you’ll be getting a vertical of 10 Harlan Estate Bordeaux-style reds (including two rare 100-point vintages). The tasting will be led by critic Antonio Galloni, the wunderkind who trained under Robert Parker and went on to start And the winery’s core team will be also be in seats of honor, including its founder, Bill Harlan; his son, Will Harlan; the estate director, Don Weaver; and the winemaker, Cory Empting. Because of the intimate nature of the event (only 50 people can attend), the men will first speak to the guests and then attendees can directly interact with anyone present during the open forum and following lunch—which, it’s worth noting, is at one of the country’s leading wine-focused restaurants, as Bleu Provence has held Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for two years now.

Last year’s Vintage Cellar was a celebration of the Judgment of Paris, the blind tasting held in the City of Light in 1976 that opened the door for California wines to be seen in the same playing field as Old World titans (how Harlan’s releases can be compared to First Growths today and fetch at least $750 per bottle).

“California has the most consistently good wines anywhere. I do love Burgundy and Bordeaux and Italy—I enjoy them all—but I think consistency is the benchmark of California wines,” said NCEF trustee Dave Gibbons at the 2016 Vintage Cellar luncheon.

We’re sure to expect more of that “wow” factor in January.

For more information and to reserve seats, call (239) 514-2239.


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