A perfect score has to be considered in the context of its region. Shafer’s 2004 Hillside Select is tremendous as a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that competes with its peers at the highest levels. It’s always a fabulous wine, but in warm 2004, Shafer’s amphitheater vineyard sheltered the grapes, ripening them to perfection yet protecting the “iron fist in a…
No Cabernet smells better. This is an enormously attractive, well-oaked wine constituted from the best possible fruit. In the mouth, it immediately seduces. Shafer knows it has to rise to expectations with this wine, and the 2001 does not disappoint. The fruit is spectacular, all cassis. The oak is rich, flamboyant and delicious. Structurally, the wine has the best…
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. If you must drink it now, decant it; best 2008–2015.
In keeping with the voluptuous approachability of the 2007 vintage, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is simply fabulous now for its flood of the ripest, sweetest blackberrries, cherries, cassis and chocolate imaginable. Especially noble is the tannin structure, firm and soft, dry and sweet, a combination of opposites. The depth is vast, and the spicy finish goes on for…
Fabulous. Dominated now by oak, from the smoky charry aroma to the sappy, sweet flavor. If you chew on it, you find absolutely brilliant blackberry fruit, ripe and pure. Breathtaking structure, with near perfect creamy tannins and soft but supportive acidity. Gorgeous now in it's flamboyant, fleshy youth, or worth aging-have it your way.
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…
Shafer consistently produces one of the biggest, fruitiest Chardonnays in California, and yet the wine remains balanced and interesting. The 2009 Red Shoulder Ranch is gigantic in pineapples, pears, mangoes, tangerines and honey, yet so minerally and crisp that somehow it finishes dry.
An absolute joy, and a very great success for this vintage, which produced so many disappointing Cabernets. Unusually dark. Begins closed, but swirling brings out cassis and loads of smoky oak. Dense and lush, it’s incredibly long on flavor, with fabulous intensity. The reputation of this collector’s wine is undiminished. Cellar Selection. —S.H.