2011 Shafer "One Point Five" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine & Spirits
Shafer’s estate-grown Cabernet comes primarily from two sites: the family’s original vineyard tucked under the Stags Leap escarpment on a series of knolls, planted by John and Doug Shafer in the 1970s, and the Borderline Vineyard, at the southern end of the district, with 25 acres of Cabernet planted in 2000 and ’01. As those vines have matured, they’ve provided enough fruit that Shafer could shift from a Napa Valley to an SLD designation for its Cabernet. And with each successive vintage, One Point Five seems to sneak a little closer to Hillside Select. Graced by exceptional drainage, both sites performed well in 2011, creating a silky Cabernet with succulent red fruit. There’s energy in the wine, from the floral buzz of the aroma to the racy tannins. Like the best of Shafer’s Cabernets, this will age for 15 to 20 years.
Herbs, graphite, menthol, pine and black plums meld together in the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five. The 2011 is decidedly dark, intensely mineral and savory throughout. Sage, rosemary and anise are some of the many nuances that add depth over time. In 2011, the blend includes 5% Petit Verdot, which contributes to the wine's dark, balsamic-inflected personality. Timing is everything. The 2011 harvest was the first at Shafer done with an optical sorter, a new tool that I am sure came in especially handy considering how much of the fruit had to be sorted and ultimately discarded. Although the flagship Hillside Select tends to get most of the attention at Shafer, this tasting once again confirmed that the other wines in the range are just as deserving of serious consideration. Shafer fans will want to take a look at the short video I shot at the winery earlier this year with John and Doug Shafer, and their long-time winemaker Elias Fernandez. This is another set of fabulous wines from one of Napa's blue chips.
Aromas of rosemary, dark fruit and milk chocolate. Full body, with dried red pepper and berry. Chocolate finish. Chewy tannins. Needs time to come together - slightly disjointed now. Better in 2016.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A revelation, it is hard to believe the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five (95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot) came from a challenging vintage of cool weather and rainy periods. It boasts an inky/purple color along with sweet cassis and mulberry fruit intermixed with notions of high quality toast and spring flowers. Although it does not reveal the mid-palate density and impact or finish of the 2010, the 2011 is an outstanding success for the vintage.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright ruby-red. Aromas of mulberry, licorice and graphite become increasingly musky with aeration. Pungent and tightly coiled but still supple, showing good energy and cut to the blackberry and cassis flavors. Intensely flavored even if it doesn't have the density or sweetness of a top vintage. The smoky, slowly building finish shows sweet tannins. A bit unyielding today but very successful for the year.
A substantial and imminently structured wine from a coolish vintage, this blends 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec to impressive effect. Leathery and intense it will benefit with time, its black pepper, red cassis fruit and flowery anise layers commingling in complex ways.
A tight version, with a tannic mix of dusty, cedary dried herb, berry and tobacco flavors. Fairly typical for the vintage in terms of austerity and stubbornness. Drink now through 2020. 9,000 cases made.