2003 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1032869 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* Solidly in the Hillside Select model, this vigorous young Cab is dramatically ripe and powerful. The flavors of red and black currants, milk chocolate, figs and smoky vanilla erupt in the mouth, making the tastebuds jump with joy. However, there is also the structure, among the greatest in California Cabs. The acidity is fine, but the tannins are stupendously rich, sweet and complex, practically a food group in themselves. Stunning and gorgeous now in its youth this collectible wine will reward at least through 2015.  (3/2008)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2003 is a singular style of wine, but by no means wimpy or undernourished. The 2003 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has a dense, purple color, notes of creosote, graphite, blackberry and cassis fruit, charcoal and scorched earth. It has a full-bodied mouthfeel and excellent purity, while some rather noticeable tannins kick in on the finish. This wine seems to be moving from adolescence to that early mature stage, where I would expect it to hold for at least another 10-15 or more years. Clearly not one of the superstars in what was a rather astonishing qualitative lineup, but it’s outrageously good Cabernet Sauvignon, and I expect myself, as well as any of my readers, would drink this 24/7. (RP)  (12/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, currant, cocoa powder, cedar, graphite, violet, licorice and sweet oak. Lush and very sweet but with lively mint and naphtha notes lifting the flavors of black cherry, dark berries and dark chocolate. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins and acids and yet this wine should give early pleasure. I find a wider range of ripeness here than in the supernal 2002. (ST)  (6/2007)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Elias Fernandez produces a powerful, 100 percent cabernet sauvignon from the hillside blocks John Shafer planted in the 1970s. The 2003 vintage is about as potent as they come, its austere, mineral structure managing to hold all the richness of tannin and crushed berry fruit. Layers of flavor begin to take shape with air, from chocolate cake to blackberries and a hint of strawberry-a complex impression that lasts. Hillside Select will reward cellaring for ten years or more.  (12/2007)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Big and expressive, with intense notes of dark berry fruit, cedar, crushed rock and loamy earth, gaining depth, velocity and texture. Impressive on the finish, where the flavors taper and weave into the tannins. Best to drink this soon.--2003 California Cabernet blind retrospective (July 2013). Drink now through 2024. (JL, Web-2013)

Jancis Robinson

 The style -- powerful, ultra-rich and hedonistic -- is not for everyone, yet it agrees with many American palates. It’s a fine example of how a big, ripe wine can remain surprisingly balanced for all its opulence. Aromas of forest floor, cedar, cassis and black cherry lead to a palate awash in ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit. Tannins are velvet-soft, yet background toast and brisk acidity keep the wine remarkably fresh. At 14.9 per cent alcohol, there is very little heat. 18/20 points (LM)  (7/2008)

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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5
Organic: