The 1997 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a relatively evolved style for Hillside Select and seemingly more advanced than the older vintages, such as 1995 and 1994. Nevertheless, there is plenty to excite. It’s a big wine, dense purple in color with some lightening at the edge, plenty of crème de cassis fruit, lead pencil shavings, sweet vanilla and earth. It is very ripe, full-bodied, opulent and voluptuously textured. This is terrific stuff, hedonistic, showing secondary/tertiary nuances in the aromatics and essentially a full resolution of the tannin. This wine also seems to have come into its own and is clearly at its peak of flavor. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. (RP)
Fabulous. Dominated now by oak, from the smoky charry aroma to the sappy, sweet flavor. If you chew on it, you find absolutely brilliant blackberry fruit, ripe and pure. Breathtaking structure, with near perfect creamy tannins and soft but supportive acidity. Gorgeous now in it's flamboyant, fleshy youth, or worth aging-have it your way.
A bit of dusty spice tags this one as just a wee bit different in the nose, but the wine's deep, curranty fruit, accents of milk chocolate and close-to-plush feel are very much the stuff of its winemaker and provenance. While never abrasive, this year's version comes with an extra measure of fine-grained structural tannins, and the wine will benefit from be buried in the back of the cellar for at least another five years. *Two Stars*
Healthy saturated dark red. Very deep, musky, alluring aromas of roasted plum, dark cherry, nutty oak, mocha, leather and truffle. A seriously outsized Napa Cabernet with a compellingly plush texture but still with a juicy shape to it. This slightly warm wine can't quite match the 1995 for complexity or energy but it makes for a mouthfilling meal substitute. Slightly dusty tannins reach the incisors. (ST)
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