2003 Shafer "Hillside Select" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1032869 96 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark Solidly in the Hillside Select model, this vigorous young Cab is dramatically ripe and powerful. The flavors of red and black currants, milk chocolate, figs and smoky vanilla erupt in the mouth, making the tastebuds jump with joy. However, there is also the structure, among the greatest in California Cabs. The acidity is fine, but the tannins are stupendously rich, sweet and complex, practically a food group in themselves. *Best of 2008, Cellar Selection* Inner quote mark (3/2008)

95 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2003 is a singular style of wine, but by no means wimpy or undernourished. The 2003 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has a dense, purple color, notes of creosote, graphite, blackberry and cassis fruit, charcoal and scorched earth. It has a full-bodied mouthfeel and excellent purity, while some rather noticeable tannins kick in on the finish. (RP) Inner quote mark (12/2014)

93 points Int'l Wine Cellar

Outer quote mark Medium ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, currant, cocoa powder, cedar, graphite, violet, licorice and sweet oak. Lush and very sweet but with lively mint and naphtha notes lifting the flavors of black cherry, dark berries and dark chocolate. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins and acids and yet this wine should give early pleasure. I find a wider range of ripeness here than in the supernal 2002. (ST) Inner quote mark (5/2007)

93 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark Elias Fernandez produces a powerful, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the hillside blocks John Shafer planted in the 1970s. The 2003 vintage is about as potent as they come, its austere, mineral structure managing to hold all the richness of tannin and crushed berry fruit. Layers of flavor begin to take shape with air, from chocolate cake to blackberries and a hint of strawberry-a complex impression that lasts. Inner quote mark (12/2007)

93 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Big and expressive, with intense notes of dark berry fruit, cedar, crushed rock and loamy earth, gaining depth, velocity and texture. Impressive on the finish, where the flavors taper and weave into the tannins. (JL) Inner quote mark (11/2013)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

Outer quote mark Our highest rated Cabernet Sauvignon of the last ten years, Shafer Hillside Select outpoints the 2003 vintage with a wine that has all the depth, size and focus we have learned to expect. Its outgoing black-cherry fruit scents gain complexity from notes of boysenberry, loam, cola and caramel, and there is not much hidden or brooding about it. Full and fleshy at entry, then plush, viscous yet balanced and full of energy across the palate, the wine has proven that it can age despite its size and forward flavors. It has the tannins to last for ten years or more but will invite drinking in half that time. *Two Stars* Inner quote mark (12/2007)

92 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Black raspberries, creamy new oak, liquorice and cherry compote meld in an expressive bouquet, introducing a ripe, open-knit and flamboyant palate. While a large-scaled, full-bodied wine, this ranks as a comparative middleweight in the context of Hillside Select. (WK) Inner quote mark (6/2017)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark The style – powerful, ultra-rich and hedonistic – is not for everyone, yet it agrees with many American palates. It’s a fine example of how a big, ripe wine can remain surprisingly balanced for all its opulence. Aromas of forest floor, cedar, cassis and black cherry lead to a palate awash in ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit. Tannins are velvet-soft, yet background toast and brisk acidity keep the wine remarkably fresh. At 14.9 per cent alcohol, there is very little heat. 18/20 points (LM) Inner quote mark (5/2008)

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Price: $299.99
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