2015 Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, USA (750ml)
Hillside Select is a wine of a place, produced each vintage from carefully selected blocks of the hillside vineyards surrounding the winery. These grapes are small and deeply colored, with concentrated flavors enhanced by meticulous winemaking and extensive aging in French oak barrels. Hillside Select consistently expresses the voluptuous fruit, rich flavors and velvety texture that characterize grapes grown in Stags Leap District. The 2014 vintage opens with an aromatic wave of deep, intense fruit and spices such as black plum, blackberry pie filling, cassis, and anise, along with nutmeg, dark toast, and dried rose petals. The energy in the nose is just as dramatic in the mouth with open, beautiful ripeness, mocha, briar fruit, pomegranate, baking spice, and ripe tannins that collectors will recognize as offering the promise of sensational things to come in the cellar.
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 98+ pts
- Jeb Dunnuck, 98 pts
I tasted this as a barrel sample at Premiere Napa Valley just over two years ago, and memory holds: I still recall the dense, almost syrup-like quality of black fruit, earth, and sage. Now released into the marketplace, this heralded 100% Cabernet Sauvignon still has time to develop, but after decanting, it proved more than worthy of praise. The fruit comes from Shafer’s best hillside blocks, and given the dry conditions that year, smaller berries resulted in an extracted expression. Opulent aromas of cedar, leather, and coffee bean are almost Cognaclike, and on the palate, peppered licorice and blackberry perpetuate that syrupy density alongside teeth-gripping, chalky tannins. The elegance rises out of the glass once the wine opens up, exhibiting violets, sagebrush, and sweet meat.
- Tasting Panel, 97 pts
Having spent three years in barrel, this 100% varietal wine (from the producer’s famous hillside) is brawny in concentrated black fruit, Christmas spice and thick, firm tannin. A dusty thread of crushed rock, black licorice and flint provide exotic accents to the velvety thick grip. This will do well over time; enjoy best from 2025–2030.
- Wine Enthusiast, 96 pts
A big wine waiting to unwind. When it does, the core of steeped plum, blueberry and açaí reduction flavors should stretch out nicely over melted licorice and Black Forest cake elements. A graphite spine holds everything together, while embers of smoldering apple wood flicker through the very long finish. Best from 2022 through 2038.
- Wine Spectator, 95 pts
Tags: 2015, 750ml, 94+, AR, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, GMC, Napa Valley, Rated, Stags Leap District, USA, Wine,