2002 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1024801 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 In contrast to the more linear, structured, but massive 2001, the 2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is pure fruit-bomb material, but stunningly proportioned, beautifully pure, with notes of melted chocolate, blackcurrant jam, sweet black cherries, licorice, camphor and charcoal. Very full-bodied, like the 2001, but much more lavishly fruited, it is more accessible and hedonistically, as well as intellectually, satisfying. If the 2001 is the long-distance runner, this comes across more like a middle-distancer. It had performed fabulously well since it was released by the winery, and even though it’s still an adolescent in terms of its evolution, this wine is a head-turner in wine tastings, and a spectacular effort from Napa. Drink now or drink in 20-25 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

97 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* 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.  (9/2006)

97 points Wine Spectator

 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. (Web Only—2012)

96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 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. (ST)  (2/2007)

95 points Wine & Spirits

 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.  (12/2006)

93 points Connoisseurs Guide

 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.  (12/2006)

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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.
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