2008 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
I can't wait to taste this in bottle. Bright fruit, with currants and plums on the nose. A powerful and structured palate, with plenty of tannins and a long flavorful finish. This is precise, a combination of the 2006 and 2007. Barrel sample.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The estate’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is one of those rare wines that looks like it will be absolutely delicious pretty much at any point in its life. Super-refined and silky, the 2008 caresses the palate with layers of deeply expressive dark fruit. The 2008 is a wine of exceptional textural finesse and pedigree. According to Doug Shafer, cool weather in the spring resulted in small clusters with high skin to juice ratios, always a plus for high quality wines. Today the 2008 does not look like a huge Hillside Select, but is rather a wine built on polish and elegance. It will be interesting to see if the 2008 fills out in bottle, or it remains more restrained in its personality. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.
Muscular and tightly wound, yet beautifully focused and proportioned, dense and chewy, delivering rich layers of dried currant, blackberry, spice and licorice flavors. Demands cellaring. Best from 2014 through 2028.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(still in barrel): Ruby-red, a bit less saturated than the 2007. Crystallized black cherry, cassis, licorice and violet on the nose. Leaner on entry than the 2007, then broadens impressively in the middle, offering a dense, silky texture with a lovely light touch. The dark fruit, espresso and menthol flavors are slightly liqueur-like but boast excellent definition and lift. Finishes with firm tannins that will require bottle aging.
Another great Hillside Select from selected blocks in Shafer's vineyard. It's a perfect illustration of the 'iron fist in a velvet glove' description of Stags Leap Cabernet, with perhaps more emphasis this year on the velvet glove that the iron. With smooth tannins and luxurious, oak-influenced blackberry and black cherry jam flavors, it's delicious now and will provide plenty of pleasure over the next 8-10 years.