1996 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #990569 95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Back on track after its relatively austere showing the year prior, Hillside Select rebounds in 1996 with one of its richest, most succulent renditions to date. Currants, black cherries and sweet oak abound still, and the wine does a fine balancing act between being slightly supple and polished and still having an appropriate backbone of varietal tannins. It outdoes the vintage in terms of its richness and range and sheer wealth of fruit, and it has the right pieces in all the right places to grow for a good many years.  (3/2007)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A drought year produced the 1996 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, which is slightly more compact than great vintages, but nevertheless impressive. It offers further evidence that even in more challenging years, the Hillside Select is a special wine. Dense plum/purple with notes of cedarwood, charcoal, underbrush and forest, the wine has plenty of cassis, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, ripe tannin, but a slightly less impressive finish than the 1995 or 1994. This wine seems to be in its plateau of full maturity, where it should hold for at least another 10-12 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated ruby-red. Dusty aromas of black cherry, currant, licorice and menthol. Sweet, lush and velvety; fat and full. A generous, fruit-driven, impressively long wine with enticing currant and black plum flavors. Very ripe tannins coat the palate. (ST)  (6/2000)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Starts out smooth, showing rich, earthy currant, hazelnut and nutmeg scents, with a hint of mocha and dense, chewy tannins. Still very youthful, firm and extracted. (JL, Web-2007)

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Price: $239.99
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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 M├ędoc 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.

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.


- 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.
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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.