2011 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1218634 96 points James Suckling

 Extremely minty with dried flowers, dark berries and currants. Full body but refined, with super-integrated tannins. The wood, ripe fruit, tannin and acid balance is beautiful. Wonderful potential here.  (5/2014)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Possibly the Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage is Shafer’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Last year I thought it was a strong effort, but it’s even better now that it’s been bottled. With an opaque black/purple color and notes of subtle burning charcoal embers, blueberry, blackberry and graphite, the wine has a certain Bordelais minerality, but then the richness of Napa kicks in. It’s full-bodied (somewhat unusual for a 2011) with lighter tannins, and no doubt the wine will be on a faster evolutionary track than vintages such as 2010, 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, the Shafers and Elias said this was the toughest vintage they’d ever experienced. To be able to produce a compelling wine like this is a testament to their extraordinary skills and craftsmanship. This wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15-20 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

94 points Vinous

 The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is gorgeous today. Sweet, floral and expressive, the 2011 speaks to finesse above all else. The 2011 is lithe and elegant, especially within the context of Hillside Select, yet all the elements are in the right place. Savory and floral notes add an attractive upper register on the close. One of the real highlights of the year, the 2011 continues to get better with time. (AG)  (10/2014)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Openly rich and plush, with a dense core of mocha-laced blackberry, charry oak, subtle spice, hot brick and cedary, earthy notes, this hints at a rustic character and is edgy at points, yet the core intensity persists. Ends with drying tannins. Best from 2017 through 2027. (JL)  (2/2016)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Very much reflecting the ripe and weighty bias of Hillside Select bottlings, Shafers's latest is again a big-bodied effort of enormous richness and depth. Although unabashed ripeness is its driving force, it is kept on track by a generous measure of concentrated, curranty fruit that survives the effects of its ample tannins and palpable heat. It is not and is unlikely to be an elegant wine that will find refinement with age, but time will tame its youthfully coarse edges and make for a commanding Cabernet of great substance and power.  (12/2015)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (15.5% alcohol): Dark red with ruby tones. Musky aromas of mocha, coffee, leather, licorice, creosote and herbs. Juicy and intense but without the explosive fruit of the 2010; a touch of asparagus gives the wine a greenness in the middle palate but there's also plenty of supporting dark fruit and graphite minerality. Doug Shafer noted that this fruit was picked at up to 26 degrees Brix, but I still find it a bit light. Finishes with chalky tannins and a continuing element of greenness. Shafer described 2011 as "London in Napa Valley: it would not dry out." This was the first year the estate used its new optical sorter.  (7/2016)

Jancis Robinson

 Lower ripeness register suits this style on the nose. Savoury start and some herbal (but not herbaceous) character. As though pushed to the limit – and it works. Something tarry about it. As though concentrated!  (2/2015)

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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 (%): 15.5
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