This is one of the views H. William Harlan aka ‘Bill’ saw of Promontory back in the 1980s. When he first set his eyes on what would be one of the best places to grow his coveted wines. Untamed, wild, and undiscovered, this would be a place he’d return to again and again.
The very first wine endeavor Bill Harlan was Merryvale. His first personal wine project was Harlan. His goal was to create 1st growth or Cru of California. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. Bond encompasses five single vineyards around the valley, grape properties are on long term lease. Vine Hill Ranch is part of it. The goal of Promontory was to create a relatable experience. The acquisition of 800 acres took 3-4 different time periods. The Harlan vineyards consist of less than 10% under vine allowing this property to truly stay connected with nature. 40% of the vine growth is directly for Promontory.
The Promontory tasting rooms are a study of meditation of Napa Valley.
Austere, peaceful, and private you may feel like you are the only one at this luxury wine destination. Some may call this a “Cult Wine”, but it’s so much more than that. This wine is iconic. Much like the man that built this dynasty.
The design harkens from a no-nonsense industrial aesthetic. When you’ve experienced the ground shaking in any wine region, protecting wine is a non-negotiable goal. And the rock-solid nature of the winery, as well as the barrel room, attests to this. But this takes it a step further. Views from almost every angle of the vineyards under not only the Promontory watch but Bond and Harlan as well.
Promontory stands at the top of a series of ridges on the Mayacamas in Oakville. The lookout has views of each of Harlan’s adventures in wine. Bond and Harlan Estate are a stone’s throw away. These spectacular views and vineyards are part of the Mayacamas prefecture. The Mayacamas in the Western mountain range of Napa Valley runs parallel to the Sonoma Coast. The coast is less than 50 miles as the crow flies and has a distinct impact on the grapes. Combined with the San Pablo Bay climate influences (just 11 miles from the marsh) also impacting Napa Valley weather and you have the formula for Napa Cru wine.
Nothing happens by accident under the watch of Bill Harlan. The planning, execution, and care of these wines and the wineries is hands down one of the best I’ve seen to date. From selecting vineyards decades ago to growing vines without releasing a wine for 8+ years. It’s all by design and the desire to create some of the most coveted wines in the Valley.
I’m with David Cilli, winemaker for Promontory. Our tasting begins with a sip at the precipice of Promontory and its expansive view of Oakville and the Harlan and Bond wineries. Ensuring a proper palate-cleansing, Cilli opens a stunning bottle of Dom Perignon.
Bill Harlan’s phone rang in 2007. It was a friend telling him that the property now known as Promontory was likely coming on the market . The property in May of 2008. The acquisition was for the second generation of the family. This is where the Director of Promontory, Will Harlan steps in.
The growing philosophy for these special wines is predicated on an 8 year minimum growth time, before release. Hence, 2008 was the first vintage. The team who works these lands has been together for almost 20 years. That’s running a tight ship of experience that is paying off in the production.
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