One of the perfect wines from Shafer is the 2007 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Think it over – in the first decade of the 21st century, Shafer scored three perfect scores and two 99s – that’s about as high a praise as I can give any producer in the world. Opaque purple in color, the 2007 has a stunning nose of sweet crème de cassis, black cherries, licorice, and toasty oak, a multilayered, full-throttle personality, and a texture that builds and builds. Great purity, fabulous fruit intensity and a richness without heaviness characterize this massive, prodigious effort from Shafer. It’s still very young, despite this vintage, which seems to be maturing precociously. I don’t believe this wine will hit its stride for at least another 5-10 years and drink well for at least 2-3 decades. (RP)
This won't be out until next year and will mark 25 years of Hillside Select. Nice aromas of mint, mineral, dark fruits, and delicious currants. Full bodied, with a soft beginning that just builds and builds. This is muscular and toned, very impressive. Save your money to get plenty of this. Thought provoking wine. Don't drink this for four or five years.
In keeping with the voluptuous approachability of the 2007 vintage, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is simply fabulous now for its flood of the ripest, sweetest blackberrries, cherries, cassis and chocolate imaginable. Especially noble is the tannin structure, firm and soft, dry and sweet, a combination of opposites. The depth is vast, and the spicy finish goes on for a long time, suggesting the wine’s concentration. Simply a joy to drink, it should develop over many years, but you might want to err on the side of youthfulness and open it by 2015.
Saturated bright ruby. Very deep, dark, almost liqueur-like aromas of cassis, black cherry, cocoa powder and mocha. A huge, chocolatey-ripe wine with an obvious warmth and compelling sweetness to its fine-grained cherry liqueur and dark berry flavors. Big but harmonious tannins spread out to saturate the entire palate on the very long back end. This wine is just now embarking on its plane of peak maturity and will probably remain there for quite some time. Some critics of flamboyantly ripe Napa Cabernets may find this wine a bit extreme (as is the case with numerous other 2007s) yet it manages to retain its balance--and its depth of fruit is extraordinary. (ST)
(15.5% alcohol): Deep red with ruby tones. Classic Stags Leap nose combines dark plum, black cherry, currant, mocha, dried herbs, cigar box, leafy underbrush and cocoa powder; I thought of a fresh-baked doughnut. Very densely packed and youthful but showing considerably more personality--and more consistent ripeness--than the 2006 edition. This seriously structured wine finishes with substantial but ripe tannins and excellent length. I wouldn't pull the cork for at least another few years. From a vintage featuring small clusters and small berries. (ST)
Lusty richness drives this vintage of Hillside Select, from vines John and Doug Shafer planted in the 1970s on a series of knolls tucked under the Stag’s Leap escarpment. It has the site’s trademark tannins, as soft and savory as a bittersweet chocolate cake. The dark cherry-scented fruit is hidden behind the oak and the tannin for now, needing a decade to show its detail. For the cellar.
Impressive for its richness, elegance and grace, this is spicy and supple, with full-bodied plum, currant and black licorice notes, gaining momentum and ending with a silky aftertaste of loamy earth. Drink now through 2020. (JL)
As sure to bring disapproving scowls from the low-alcohol crowd as it is to enrapture fans of hedonistic, full-blown Cabernets, the latest Hillside Select is an enormous wine that holds nothing back in terms of ripeness, sweet oak and oh-so-deep fruit. It is no shrinking violet and is, if anything, a little more extravagant than is usual, but given the remarkable aging history of its predecessors, we are comfortable in predicting a decade or two of improvement.
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