2009 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Timing is everything. The 2011 harvest was the first at Shafer done with an optical sorter, a new tool that I am sure came in especially handy considering how much of the fruit had to be sorted and ultimately discarded. Although the flagship Hillside Select tends to get most of the attention at Shafer, this tasting once again confirmed that the other wines in the range are just as deserving of serious consideration. Shafer fans will want to take a look at the short video I shot at the winery earlier this year with John and Doug Shafer, and their long-time winemaker Elias Fernandez. This is another set of fabulous wines from one of Napa's blue chips.
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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is deep, racy and layered from the very first taste. A large-scaled, sumptuous wine, the 2009 impresses for its exceptional balance and pure pedigree. There is plenty of flesh here, but also more than enough tannin to help balance some of the wine’s more overt tendencies. A dazzling, utterly vivid finish rounds things out in style. This large-scaled, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon should be at its finest between the ages of 10 and 30. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2039. (AG)
*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. Drink now–2028.
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.
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.