Extremely minty with dried flowers, dark berries and currants. Full body but refined, with super-integrated tannins. The wood, ripe fruit, tannin and acid balance is beautiful. Wonderful potential here.
Possibly the Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage is Shafer’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Last year I thought it was a strong effort, but it’s even better now that it’s been bottled. With an opaque black/purple color and notes of subtle burning charcoal embers, blueberry, blackberry and graphite, the wine has a certain Bordelais minerality, but then the richness of Napa kicks in. It’s full-bodied (somewhat unusual for a 2011) with lighter tannins, and no doubt the wine will be on a faster evolutionary track than vintages such as 2010, 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, the Shafers and Elias said this was the toughest vintage they’d ever experienced. To be able to produce a compelling wine like this is a testament to their extraordinary skills and craftsmanship. This wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15-20 years. (RP)
This mighty icon of the Napa Valley shows it can handle a cool vintage with as much power and velvety grace as in any other year, providing plenty of grippy tobacco, leather and cedar atop a tannic backbone and mouthwatering mouthfeel. A 100% varietal wine fromvarious estate-farmed vineyard blocks, it guards its minerality with a steely gaze, rationing out black currant, clove and tobacco in measured waves. *Cellar Selection* (VB)
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is gorgeous today. Sweet, floral and expressive, the 2011 speaks to finesse above all else. The 2011 is lithe and elegant, especially within the context of Hillside Select, yet all the elements are in the right place. Savory and floral notes add an attractive upper register on the close. One of the real highlights of the year, the 2011 continues to get better with time. 94+ (AG)
Openly rich and plush, with a dense core of mocha-laced blackberry, charry oak, subtle spice, hot brick and cedary, earthy notes, this hints at a rustic character and is edgy at points, yet the core intensity persists. Ends with drying tannins. Best from 2017 through 2027. (JL)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)