Among the deepest, most complete Cabernets that we have yet encountered from 2006, Shafer's latest tête de cuvee wins high praise for both concentration and keen focus. Its plentiful blackcurrant fruit dovetails perfectly with its equally generous oak, and it flavors build and build en route a long and wonderfully sustained finish. There is great scale and substance about this one, yet the wine manages to avoid being too much, and it will age famously for ten years or more on the strength of its exceptional balance. *Three Stars*
Bay leaf, dark fruits, and almonds on the nose. This wine is powerful, with a full body, and with flavors of mineral, mint, and lead pencil. I'm thinking Pauillac but tasting California. A very long finish, but needs some time. Be patient with this and wait until 2014.
Like the best vintages of Hillside Select, this wine has tremendous structural power that remains almost imperceptible. On the surface, the tannins are pillowy soft, their supple richness surrounding a core of dark fruit. The wine is black but not hyperextracted—the layers of dark chocolate flavor seem to come from the soil rather than from oak.
A slightly more compact version of the great Hillside, but nevertheless youthful, the 2006 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has a dense purple color, some notes of damp earth, cedar wood, forest floor, red and black currants, and toast. Some austere tannins kick in in the finish, but the wine is full-bodied, ripe and rich. An outstanding effort, but not one of the monumental vintages for Hillside Select, it should be drunk over the next 20 years. Shafer’s Hillside Estate Vineyard consists of 54 acres all on steep, amphitheater-like, rocky outcroppings and knolls. It receives the full benefit of southeasterly sunlight, and enjoys the afternoon breezes that blow up from the San Francisco Bay channel. An unusual geographic feature, this vineyard is basically a box canyon. The top soil is virtually non-existent as the bed roots that go into the white tofu volcanic soil base rarely extend more than 18 inches before hitting bedrock. This no doubt is a significant reason for the intense flavors achieved by the Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, and why it is able to spend 32 months in 100% new French oak without a woody taste. (RP)
Young, tannic and juicy, filled with sweet blackberry, cherry and cassis flavors, and well oaked, having been aged in 100% new French barrels. Those are the raw facts. The wine itself shows the pedigree of this fine estate, and will no doubt pick up bottle nuances over the years. *Cellar Selection*
Good dark red. Stubbornly reticent, unevolved nose hints at dark fruits, coffee, tar and sea salt. Extremely backward on the palate, conveying a distinctly medicinal character to its flavors of dark cherry, tar and dried herbs. Savory more than sweet and evolving very slowly. Finishes with substantial tannins and a repeating saline character. (ST) 91+
Firm, dense and chunky, with chewy, extracted tannins and dark berry, gravelly earth, mocha and anise notes, this seems unevolved. No sign of fading or gaining. Ends with gripping tannins. (JL, Web Only-2016)
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