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Professional Ratings: 100 The Wine Advocate, 97 Wine Spectator, 97 Wine Enthusiast, 96 International Wine Cellar, 95 Wine & Spirits
Region: Napa Valley, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Other Info: Collectible Wines
Alcohol By Volume: 14.9%
Item no. 90456
Blend:100% Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the world’s greatest wines year in and year out is Shafer’s Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. The 2002 was a candidate for perfection the first time I tasted it. The estate keeps this cuvee 32 months in 100% new French oak, so I had a number of chances to see it from barrel. Moreover, I purchased the wine for my own cellar and have had it at least a half dozen times since bottling, and it just gets more profound with each sip. This wine is beyond belief for how it balances its extraordinary richness, purity of personality, and the elegance and finesse of the Stags Leap District with massive cassis fruit, spring flowers, toasty oak and earth. The wine is fabulously concentrated, multidimensional and built like a skyscraper, yet nothing is out of place. The wood, alcohol, acidity and tannin are all in perfect balance. This offering is a tribute to the greatness of Napa Valley, which was recognized by men and women hundreds of years ago, and to the modern day genius of the Shafer family. This 2002 has 50 years of life ahead of it - but why wait!
Very young, rich and extracted, this boasts a dense, powerful presence and tannic core flavors of blackberry, black licorice, cedar, mocha, roasted coffee, loamy earth, vanilla and dried herb. A tour de force of flavor, ending with ripe, muscular tannins.
The impression is of a young, tannicly closed but enormously promising Cabernet. Floods the mouth with dramatic black currant, cherry and chocolate flavors, masses of toasty, caramelized new oak, and a rich, minerally earthiness. For all the power, there’s elegance and refinement.
Saturated full ruby color.Brooding aromas of cassis, black raspberry, smoke, chocolate, graphite and minerals. Thoroughly ripe, rich and tactile, but with captivating lift to its flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, cassis and flowers.Highly impressive mounting finish saturates the palate with flavor. Already shows great sweetness, but the wine's tight core of fruit suggests it will develop slowly and gracefully in bottle. Boasts a combination of lushness and energy that's rare for California cabernet.
The vines that produced John Shafer's first cabernet in 1978 now form the core of Hillside Select, from the small knolls surrounding the winery. They grow in a sweet spot of the Stags Leap District, farmed since the mid-eighties by Doug Shafer and winemaker Elias Fernandez; since 1991, they have consistently produced one of the top wines of the Napa Valley. Those vines yielded an intensely structured 2002, posh with supple cabernet fruit and dark minerality in the tannins. It feels sleek even as the delicious berry flavors burst out of the tannins and last. Extremely young and fresh, this will start to reach peak drinking 10 to 15 years from the vintage.
In what has proven to be a sometimes difficult year, Shafer shines once again with this spectacular, immensely extracted Cabernet . Underpinned by a wealth of concentrated cassis-like fruit, shot through with rich, loamy spice and awash in altogether extravagant oak, it is a wine that does not speak in hushed tones but comes with plenty of drama. For all of its very considerable weight and undisguised power, it still shows a fine sense of overall balance, and the evident tannins and heat that emerge in its very long finish are beautifully buffered by its deep and wholly compelling fruit.