The 2001 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is the first of these back-to-back perfect wines from Shafer that, at age 13, is still a baby, but, wow, what an amazing wine. A fabulous growing season produced a wine with inky/purple black color, stunning crème de cassis notes, with additional hints of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, cedar wood and forest floor. It is full-bodied, sensationally concentrated, with a seamless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol. This is a great, monumental Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that is still an infant, at age 13, going on 14. This has got at least three decades of life left in it, and probably won’t hit its peak for another 5-7 years. (RP)
No Cabernet smells better. This is an enormously attractive, well-oaked wine constituted from the best possible fruit. In the mouth, it immediately seduces. Shafer knows it has to rise to expectations with this wine, and the 2001 does not disappoint. The fruit is spectacular, all cassis. The oak is rich, flamboyant and delicious. Structurally, the wine has the best tannin-acid structure Napa is capable of. Immediately delicious now, this wine should develop over the next 10 years. *Cellar Selection*
Amazing for its richness, depth and concentration, with a wealth of flavors extending to espresso bean, mocha, dark berry, raspberry and cedar, intense and persistent on the long, detailed finish. An immense wine that's gracefully balanced. (JL, Web-2011)
Dramatic, immensely oaked and highly ripened Cabernets such as this may well bring a frown to those who are simply cannot abide powerhouse wines. And, while there exist more than a few wines that test our limits when it comes to oak and runaway ripeness, the only line crossed here is the one that defines the very best of the genre. Intense and deeply fruited, this stunning bottling delivers a dazzling display of unabashed richness, but never once are its varietal credentials in doubt, and it exhibits an uncanny sense of balance despite its considerable size. How long wines of this style will last is a question that can only be answered by time. We do not see this one peaking for at least seven or eight years, and it could easily hold for twice that time and more. *Three stars*
Good dark red. Knockout nose captures the site's full aromatic range: plum, blackcurrant, dried sage, licorice, dark chocolate, musky tobacco, game, lead pencil and tar. Super-concentrated and impressively dense and thick but still held in check by a compelling juiciness; this wine wants to explode! The red fruit and plum flavors are complicated by graphite minerality and cedary oak. Finishes with serious, thick tannins that are totally supported by the wine's mid-palate material. The very long, vibrant finish suggests a long life ahead. A great vintage for Hillside Select, and still improving. (ST) 95+
From vines the Shafers planted in the early 1970s, these volcanic knolls at the foot of Stags Leap offer the family's best wine, distinctive both for its texture and the grace with which it ages. It's hard to find a better example of SLD tannins, a combination of dusty earth and chocolate richness so refined that it's hard to tell where the fruit tannins end and the oak begins. The wine is neither overtly fruity nor in any way super-ripe. The power seems to come right out of the ground. This is a great vintage of Hillside Select that will need years to reach its peak, perhaps from 2010 through '15 or later.
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