2004 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1032891 100 points Wine Enthusiast

 A perfect score has to be considered in the context of its region. Shafer’s 2004 Hillside Select is tremendous as a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that competes with its peers at the highest levels. It’s always a fabulous wine, but in warm 2004, Shafer’s amphitheater vineyard sheltered the grapes, ripening them to perfection yet protecting the “iron fist in a velvet glove” structure that André Tchelistcheff defined as Stags Leap. This 100% Cabernet is tremendous in cassis, black currant and mocha flavors, and the 100% new French oak provides perfect additions of smoke and caramel. It’s soft and gorgeous enough to drink now, and should age well in a cool cellar for the next 20 years.  (3/2009)

99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 This vintage shocked me when I did my retrospective earlier this year, and the 2004 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select acquitted itself brilliantly in the vertical of Hillside Selects. It was a hot year, a relatively early harvest and there were worries that the heat had stressed the grapes, and there would be a lack of physiological ripeness and nuance. Those worries have not manifested themselves in this great Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky/purple-colored with notes of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, spring flowers, and a touch of toast, the wine is opulent, voluptuous and full-bodied with sweet tannin, just enough acidity to provide freshness, vibrancy and delineation, and a spectacular finish that goes on 40+ seconds. This is a killer, a showy and flamboyant style of Hillside Select that’s already drinking beautifully and should continue to do so for another 15-20 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

96 points Vinous

 Good deep red. Brilliantly pure, animated nose offers scents of redcurrant, spices, cedary cigar box and musky underbrush. Boasts outstanding thickness and depth of flavor and an uncanny balance of sweetness and acidity. At once bone-dry and incredibly plush, with the superconcentrated plum and redcurrant flavors complicated by sexy saline soil tones and a note of dark chocolate. Perhaps most impressive today on the suavely tannic, endless finish. This is wonderfully plush and pliant today but should continue to give great pleasure for at least another ten years. (ST)  (7/2016)

96 points Wine Spectator

 This remains a bold, opulent, fleshy style, with explosive layers of spice, blackberry, cedar and crushed rock, ending with firm, ripe tannins and touches of mocha. Tannins lock in the finish and hold the flavors in place.—2004 California Cabernet blind retrospective (August 2014). Drink now through 2026. (JL, Web-2014)

95 points Wine & Spirits

 Hillside Select has come to define Stags Leap District Cabernet; it's a luxury wine that still bears the reality of its place, in this case, a series of small knolls beneath the palisades at Napa Valley's eastern edge. Elias Fernandez coaxes a deliciously ripe wine from those hills, a combination of bright cherry and high-toned florals with bass notes that deepen to the marbled fatty richness of a grilled rib eye. It's dark, succulent and mouthwatering Cabernet, hard to resist.  (12/2008)

93 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two Stars* No wine has outranked Shafer Hillside Select over the last twenty-five years. There are those who say that the wine is too big, too direct, too heavy, cannot possibly age and typifies all that is wrong with California Cabernet Sauvignon today. We really have only one answer to that-please read our retrospective tasting of this wine covering 1978 to the present. The proof is in the glass, and we expect this current vintage to perform as well for the next two decades as it mates have done. It is deep, bold, almost heavy and heady wine, but it is layered, full of fruit and has the underlying structure to improve.  (12/2008)

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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.
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