2002 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1024801 100 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark Pure perfection in red wine, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is world-class in every way, and it’s such an incredible tasting experience. Still deep ruby/plum-hued, it offers a sensational array of darker currants, truffly earth, camphor, chocolate, and assorted spices to go with a full-bodied, lavish, opulently textured style on the palate. Drinking at point, with both fresh fruit as well as plenty of secondary nuances, it shows the heights Napa Valley Cabernet can hit. It has another two decades of prime drinking, and I suspect a gradual decline after that. Inner quote mark (2/2023)

100 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark In contrast to the more linear, structured, but massive 2001, the 2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is pure fruit-bomb material, but stunningly proportioned, beautifully pure, with notes of melted chocolate, blackcurrant jam, sweet black cherries, licorice, camphor and charcoal. Very full-bodied, like the 2001, but much more lavishly fruited, it is more accessible and hedonistically, as well as intellectually, satisfying. If the 2001 is the long-distance runner, this comes across more like a middle-distancer. It had performed fabulously well since it was released by the winery, and even though it’s still an adolescent in terms of its evolution, this wine is a head-turner in wine tastings, and a spectacular effort from Napa. (RP) Inner quote mark (12/2014)

97 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark The impression is of a young, tannicly closed but enormously promising Cabernet. Floods the mouth with dramatic black currant, cherry and chocolate flavors, masses of toasty, caramelized new oak, and a rich, minerally earthiness. For all the power, there’s elegance and refinement. *Cellar Selection* Inner quote mark (9/2006)

97 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Very young, rich and extracted, this boasts a dense, powerful presence and tannic core flavors of blackberry, black licorice, cedar, mocha, roasted coffee, loamy earth, vanilla and dried herb. A tour de force of flavor, ending with ripe, muscular tannins. (JL) Inner quote mark (8/2012)

96 points Int'l Wine Cellar

Outer quote mark Brooding aromas of cassis, black raspberry, smoke, chocolate, graphite and minerals. Thoroughly ripe, rich and tactile, but with captivating lift to its flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, cassis and flowers. Highly impressive mounting finish saturates the palate with flavor. Already shows great sweetness, but the wine's tight core of fruit suggests it will develop slowly and gracefully in bottle. Boasts a combination of lushness and energy that's rare for California Cabernet. (ST) Inner quote mark (1/2007)

95 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark The vines that produced John Shafer's first Cabernet in 1978 now form the core of Hillside Select, from the small knolls surrounding the winery. They grow in a sweet spot of the Stags Leap District, farmed since the mid-eighties by Doug Shafer and winemaker Elias Fernandez; since 1991, they have consistently produced one of the top wines of the Napa Valley. Those vines yielded an intensely structured 2002, posh with supple Cabernet fruit and dark minerality in the tannins. It feels sleek even as the delicious berry flavors burst out of the tannins and last. Extremely young and fresh, this will start to reach peak drinking 10 to 15 years from the vintage. Inner quote mark (12/2006)

94 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Shafer's 2002 Hillside Select is a brazen, decadent wine, oozing with super-ripe blue and black fruits, smoke and hints of chocolate and liquorice. Sumptuous and supple, it has fine-grained tannins and massive volume on the palate. This is a particularly ripe, precocious and almost confected vintage of Hillside - not a wine for classicists, but it's a great success in its paradigm. (WK) Inner quote mark (6/2017)

94 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Perfumed, liqueur-like aromas of black plum, dark berries, licorice and cocoa powder. Dense, thick and very ripe but still a bit youthfully brooding; shows the darkest fruit character to this point in the tasting. This extremely dense, thick, youthfully brooding Cabernet finishes with serious ripe tannins and good medicinal reserve. If the 2001 is claret-like in the context of this bottling, then the 2002 is classic liqueur-like Napa Cabernet, even if it's in a bit of a shell today. Less detailed today than the 2001 but I'd love to try these wines side by side again in six or seven years. (ST) 94+ Inner quote mark (7/2016)

93 points Connoisseurs Guide

Outer quote mark In what has proven to be a sometimes difficult year, Shafer shines once again with this spectacular, immensely extracted Cabernet. Underpinned by a wealth of concentrated cassis-like fruit, shot through with rich, loamy spice and awash in altogether extravagant oak, it is a wine that does not speak in hushed tones but comes with plenty of drama. For all of its very considerable weight and undisguised power, it still shows a fine sense of overall balance, and the evident tannins and heat that emerge in its very long finish are beautifully buffered by its deep and wholly compelling fruit. *Two Stars* Inner quote mark (12/2006)

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Price: $499.99
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