2005 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select continues to put on weight, and displays a Bordeaux-like personality because of the vintage's cool growing season. A black purple color, stunningly sweet fruit, and a gorgeous bouquet of underbrush, forest floor, creme de cassis, lead pencil shavings, and toasty barrique are found in this ripe, full-bodied, deep, stunningly well-balanced, substantial wine with undeniable complexity as well as richness. It is approachable now, but promises to evolve for 25 or more years.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright ruby-red. Pure, vibrant aromas of blackberry, cassis, lead pencil, violet, licorice and minerals. Wonderfully fine-grained and deep, with sharp definition and lovely floral high notes to the flavors of blueberry, cassis and spice. Finishes with noble, suave tannins and outstanding slow-building length. This 100% cabernet wine has all the elements to make an outstanding bottle. Winemaker Fernandez, who rates it with the 2002 and 2001 as his favorites among recent vintages.
Wine & Spirits
The texture is often what sets Hillside Select apart from other Napa Valley cabernets, the gentleness of its tannins managing to maintain the wine's shape and contour without flattening out. It appears to be seamless, sleek in the best sense of the word-a luxurious wine that feels authentic. Part of that is the cool, foresty mushroom flavor at the heart of the tannin; another part the beautiful balance between the tannins and the layers of dark fruit. A fine vintage of Hillside Select, this glows with the contemporary ripeness of Napa Valley cabernet without overreaching.
Nothing short of bombastic and simply brimming with very ripe currants and extravagant oak, Shafer's flagship is again a wine of admirable richness and size with little regard for subtlety or restraint. It is gloriously full and close to unctuous in feel yet is never less than remarkably balanced for the big-bodied wine that it is, and, it is on the strength of balance combined with its extract and depth that this one guarantees five to ten years of improvement.
Generous ripe plum, black cherry and currant flavors are supple and focused, complex and balanced. Full-bodied and focused, ending with a long, layered finish that picks up anise, cedar and mineral notes. Cabernet Sauvignon. Tasted three times, with consistent notes. Drink now through 2018.