2009 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Shafer's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is all high notes. Sweet red plum and cherry notes meld into mint, spice and new leather, all supported by silky, polished tannins that add finesse to the plush fruit. Rich, opulent and beautifully textured throughout, the 2009 is going to provide fabulous, viscerally thrilling drinking pretty much right out of the gate. This is a great Hillside Select. Frankly, I can't imagine anyone who enjoys Hillside Select not wanting the 2009 in their cellar. The persistent, resonant finish is pure sensuality. (AG)
This is mind blowing stuff. Notes of mint, minerals, currants, blackberries, with hints of cedar. Full bodied, very velvety and chewy. This won't be out until 2013. Winemaker believes this could be the best one yet, and I have to agree. Barrel sample.
*Cellar Selection* This is clearly one of the greatest Shafer Hillside Selects ever. It shows incredibly concentrated blackberry, dark chocolate and ripe cassis flavors, wrapped into impeccably rich tannins. Made from 100% Cabernet, it’s a superb example of Hillside. Tasted from the same bottle a day later, the wine was even richer and more satisfying, which is a solid indicator of ageworthiness.
A monumental effort, offering a striking crescendo of dense, rich flavors, beginning with pure dark berry, mocha, tobacco leaf, cigar box, dried herb and crushed rock notes. The tannins are full-strength as well, drying and gripping on the finish as they hold the road tar and cedar details in place. Best from 2015 through 2030.
*Three Stars* As always a decidedly extravagant wine and one that marches right to the very brink of being too much of good thing, the latest Hillside Select will be frowned upon by those who find unabashed richness and size to be faults and joyously celebrated by those of us who do not. It is powerful stuff that is marvelously deep in near-juicy fruit, and it is lavishly appointed with lovely oak, but for all of its largesse, it is solidly built with the structure to age for years. We have seen how its fully ripe predecessors have flourished with time, and we have no doubt that this one will do the same.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a more ordinarily constructed, compact effort from Shafer, but very powerful, with blackcurrants, cedar wood, vanillin and spice box. The wine is full-bodied, showing outstanding purity, a slightly more narrow framework and a linear personality. Nevertheless, it’s top-notch and a brilliant wine on its own. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright, full medium ruby. Aromas of cassis, mocha, roast coffee and licorice are complicated by a note of warm stones. Plush and opulent, showing inviting sweetness to its cassis, blackberry and sweet oak flavors. A bit fat and warm but given shape by enlivening minerality. Finishes with building ripe tannins and excellent length. This wine spent three years in barrel and one in bottle before being released but I'd still give it another five years in the cellar to absorb some of its alcohol.