A remarkable wine, the 2010 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has gone from strength to strength since it was in cask. It is stunningly rich, with classic, fragrant notes of blackcurrants, blackberries, vanilla, graphite and spring flowers. It exhibits an opaque purple color, with a full-bodied, massive mouthfeel, but no heaviness, and again, a flawless integration of acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood. It’s classic California Cabernet, but beautifully put together, showing impeccable craftsmanship and fabulous potential. This is obviously a very young, infantile style of Cabernet that won’t hit its prime for at least another decade and last close to half a century, based on how older vintages that were less well-endowed have matured from Shafer. (RP)
One of the most impressive wines of the night, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is fabulous. Racy, exotic and flashy to the core, the 2010 delivers a classic, full-on Napa Valley experience. If I had to pick one Napa Valley wine that exemplifies modern viticulture and winemaking at its very best, but that remains relatively affordable (by Napa Valley standards), the 2010 Hillside Select would be it. Hard-core classicists might be troubled by the wine's sweetness, but in my view, this is as good as it gets within the genre of voluptuous, opulent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I have now served the 2010 at several events and it has never been anything less than magnificent. (AG)
The Shafer family has made compelling reds for decades and this one is a knock-out. Fabulous character of currants, mint, spice and wet earth. Juicy and fruity, with an intense chewy finish. September 2014 release. Needs time to age.
Saturated ruby to the rim. Primary, almost grapey aromas of cassis, tar, menthol, bitter chocolate, licorice and pungent minerality. Conveys a sappy, liqueur-like ripeness but with a distinctly medicinal quality suggesting that this hugely concentrated wine is still a baby. In fact, this extremely backward, savory wine tastes virtually like a tank sample. Its thorough ripeness, firm spine of acidity and noble tannins suggest that it will develop at a snail's pace. This may ultimately turn out to be the finest vintage of Hillside Select to date. (ST) 95+
The producer’s annual, highly anticipated 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this comes from the wilds of the appellation’s rocky hillsides. This is a burly, distinctive and sizable wine, ripe yet refined, having been given three years in barrel and another in bottle before release. Chocolaty tobacco combines with pencil shavings and dense blackberry before finishing in an explosion of black pepper. *Cellar Selection* (VB)
Pure, rich and intense, massive and well-built, with wall-to-wall ripe berry, currant, cedar and spice notes, framed by gutsy, chewy tannins and aided by the long, intense, layered finish. Drink now through 2027. *Collectibles* (JL)
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