2001 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1017359 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 I should not be surprised that the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select merited a perfect rating since I rated it 99 eight years ago...The 2001 is a big wine (14.9% natural alcohol), but the alcohol is buried beneath an avalanche of creme de cassis, wood smoke, toast, licorice and spring flower characteristics. Super full-bodied with fabulous fruit purity, a broad, expansive mouthfeel, lots of glycerin and a huge upside, this 2001 is still an infant at age ten, but it is approachable as well as compelling to smell and taste. It has at least another three decades of aging potential ahead of it and is one of the great young, legendary classics from Napa Valley. It was a privilege to taste. There are approximately 2,000 cases of this cuvee which comes from Shafer’s hillside vineyards in the Stags Leap area and is aged 32 months in 100% new French oak.  (6/ 2011)

98 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* No Cabernet smells better. This is an enormously attractive, well-oaked wine constituted from the best possible fruit. In the mouth, it immediately seduces. Shafer knows it has to rise to expectations with this wine, and the 2001 does not disappoint. The fruit is spectacular, all cassis. The oak is rich, flamboyant and delicious. Structurally, the wine has the best tannin-acid structure Napa is capable of. Immediately delicious now, this wine should develop over the next 10 years.  (12/ 2005)

96 points Wine Spectator

 Amazing for its richness, depth and concentration, with a wealth of flavors extending to espresso bean, mocha, dark berry, raspberry and cedar, intense and persistent on the long, detailed finish. An immense wine that's gracefully balanced. 2001 California Cabernet blind retrospective (June 2011). Drink now through 2020. 2,500 cases made. (Web-2011)

95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Three stars* Dramatic, immensely oaked and highly ripened Cabernets such as this may well bring a frown to those who are simply cannot abide powerhouse wines. And, while there exist more than a few wines that test our limits when it comes to oak and runaway ripeness, the only line crossed here is the one that defines the very best of the genre. Intense and deeply fruited, this stunning bottling delivers a dazzling display of unabashed richness, but never once are its varietal credentials in doubt, and it exhibits an uncanny sense of balance despite its considerable size. How long wines of this style will last is a question that can only be answered by time. We do not see this one peaking for at least seven or eight years, and it could easily hold for twice that time and more.  (12/ 2005)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated ruby. Brooding, pure aromas of cassis, dark chocolate, tobacco, smoke and licorice. Conveys a powerful impression of solidity, and yet the very primary flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate, graphite, tar and minerals are also quite fresh. This unfolds slowly and builds impressively on the back half, finishing quite suave and fresh. The tannins are firm but not stern, and the persistent fruit flavors are red and quite bright. Possesses a superb structure for long aging in bottle. Expect this one to evolve for 15 to 20 years. A great Napa Valley cabernet, but in need of at least a few years of cellaring.  (6/ 2006)

94 points Wine & Spirits

 From vines the Shafers planted in the early 1970s, these volcanic knolls at the foot of Stags Leap offer the family's best wine, distinctive both for its texture and the grace with which it ages. It's hard to find a better example of SLD tannins, a combination of dusty earth and chocolate richness so refined that it's hard to tell where the fruit tannins end and the oak begins. The wine is neither overtly fruity nor in any way super-ripe. The power seems to come right out of the ground. This is a great vintage of Hillside Select that will need years to reach its peak, perhaps from 2010 through '15 or later.  (12/ 2005)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.