I can't wait to taste this in bottle. Bright fruit, with currants and plums on the nose. A powerful and structured palate, with plenty of tannins and a long flavorful finish. This is precise, a combination of the 2006 and 2007. Barrel sample.
The estate's 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is one of those rare wines that looks like it will be absolutely delicious pretty much at any point in its life. Super-refined and silky, the 2008 caresses the palate with layers of deeply expressive dark fruit. The 2008 is a wine of exceptional textural finesse and pedigree. According to Doug Shafer, cool weather in the spring resulted in small clusters with high skin to juice ratios, always a plus for high quality wines. Today the 2008 does not look like a huge Hillside Select, but is rather a wine built on polish and elegance. It will be interesting to see if the 2008 fills out in bottle, or it remains more restrained in its personality. (AG)
Muscular and tightly wound, yet beautifully focused and proportioned, dense and chewy, delivering rich layers of dried currant, blackberry, spice and licorice flavors. Demands cellaring. *Collectibles* (JL)
Rich and fragrant, this wine has all the succulent depths of black currant fruit and layers of savory, chocolate-scented tannins that cult cabernets have tried to emulate and perfect. Since 1978, this series of rocky knolls under the Stag’s Leap Escarpment have produced one of Napa Valley’s signature red wines; the generosity and concentration come naturally. This is a vibrant 2008, one that reaches over the top while staying grounded, earthy and real.
Another great Hillside Select from selected blocks in Shafer's vineyard. It's a perfect illustration of the 'iron fist in a velvet glove' description of Stags Leap Cabernet, with perhaps more emphasis this year on the velvet glove that the iron. With smooth tannins and luxurious, oak-influenced blackberry and black cherry jam flavors, it's delicious now and will provide plenty of pleasure over the next 8-10 years.
Vanilla, toast, blackcurrants, graphite, earth and foresty notes are all present in the 2008 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. It has great fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, and quite a perfumed personality, but not quite the intensity and length of its predecessor. (RP)
Bright, full medium ruby. Extravagant, superripe aromas of cassis, blackberry, black cherry, graphite, minerals and espresso. Wonderfully plush, liqueur-like and sweet, showing a distinctly herbal quality that energizes the deep dark fruits in the middle palate. Very dense, thick wine with the stuffing to support its firm tannins. The extremely long, slowly rising finish conveys repeating notes of liqueur-like ripeness yet comes across as quite youthful, even backward. This wine should continue to evolve and harmonize with further aging. Incidentally, this bottle showed considerably more pliancy, sweetness and richness than a much tighter sample that was part of my extensive vertical tasting at the winery two years ago and I have extended my projected peak drinking range substantially as a result. (ST) 93+
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