1997 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1997 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a relatively evolved style for Hillside Select and seemingly more advanced than the older vintages, such as 1995 and 1994. Nevertheless, there is plenty to excite. It’s a big wine, dense purple in color with some lightening at the edge, plenty of crème de cassis fruit, lead pencil shavings, sweet vanilla and earth. It is very ripe, full-bodied, opulent and voluptuously textured. This is terrific stuff, hedonistic, showing secondary/tertiary nuances in the aromatics and essentially a full resolution of the tannin. This wine also seems to have come into its own and is clearly at its peak of flavor. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. (RP)
Fabulous. Dominated now by oak, from the smoky charry aroma to the sappy, sweet flavor. If you chew on it, you find absolutely brilliant blackberry fruit, ripe and pure. Breathtaking structure, with near perfect creamy tannins and soft but supportive acidity. Gorgeous now in it's flamboyant, fleshy youth, or worth aging-have it your way.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Saturated ruby. Inky aromas of black and bitter cherry, menthol and nut skin. Dense, thick and supple, with powerful underlying structure; still rather imploded on the palate but this possesses explosive fruit. Great fat and richness. Essence of Stags Leap cabernet. Finishes very long, with lush, thoroughly ripe tannins. A great young California cabernet. (ST)
A bit of dusty spice tags this one as just a wee bit different in the nose, but the wine's deep, curranty fruit, accents of milk chocolate and close-to-plush feel are very much the stuff of its winemaker and provenance. While never abrasive, this year's version comes with an extra measure of fine-grained structural tannins, and the wine will benefit from be buried in the back of the cellar for at least another five years.
Aging nicely, mature yet structured, with dried currant, mineral, sage and dusty cedary oak. Keeps its focus on the core earth and currant flavors. Still deep and intense, with persistent flavors. Not up to its usual standards. Tasted twice.--'97 California Cabernet retrospective. (Web-only 2008) (JL)