1998 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)

SKU #1261133 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1998 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select was produced during a challenging vintage in Napa Valley with an incredible heat wave in mid-July, with temperatures at the Hillside Select property hitting an astonishing 114 degrees. This was brutal for the grapes, but a strict selection, and as Doug and John Shafer said, 'We make no excuses at this winery.' Certainly, this was one of the great successes in this vintage. Very tiny yields from small, rather shriveled berries produced a super-extracted, rich, intense wine that has some smokey barbecue notes along with blackcurrants, cedar wood, wet rocks and background oak and burning embers. There's almost a Graves-like, scorched earth character to this vintage. This medium to full-bodied wine is intense and undeniably one of the top ten wines in Napa Valley. Moreover, it should continue to drink well for another 10-15 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* An absolute joy, and a very great success for this vintage, which produced so many disappointing Cabernets. Unusually dark. Begins closed, but swirling brings out cassis and loads of smoky oak. Dense and lush, it’s incredibly long on flavor, with fabulous intensity. The reputation of this collector’s wine is undiminished. (SH)  (12/2002)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 While never wanting for intensity or sheer volume, this very big-bodied, massively extracted wine is now showing its ripeness and lacks the polish displayed by the very best of its kin. It is loaded with chocolate and crème caramel oakiness, but it is a bit coarse at the edges and lets palpable heat come through at the end. It is still a very good wine and one that will develop for ten years or more, but it will find favor most with collectors who like their Cabernets big and dramatic.  (3/2007)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Rich and enticingly earthy, with layers of dried currant, blackberry, anise, mineral and mocha flavors that are pure and focused, complex and long. Ends with chewy tannins. The best of two bottles tasted.--1998 California Cabernet retrospective. (Web-2009, JL)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium ruby. Black cherry and red licorice on the nose; largely avoids the herbal aspect shown by this winery other 1998 reds. Very intense flavors of black cherry, licorice and mint, but still tightly wound, even a bit clenched, and unevolved for a '98. Very long, firm finish hints at mint and exotic Indian spices. The main vineyard component for this super-cuvee produced 3.3 tons per hectare in 1997 but less than 1 in 1998. (ST)  (6/2001)

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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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