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The 2001 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is the first of these back-to-back perfect wines from Shafer that, at age 13, is still a baby, but, wow, what an amazing wine. A fabulous growing season produced a wine with inky/purple black color, stunning crème de cassis notes, with additional hints of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, cedar wood and forest floor. It is full-bodied, sensationally concentrated, with a seamless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol. This is a great, monumental Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that is still an infant, at age 13, going on 14. This has got at least three decades of life left in it, and probably won’t hit its peak for another 5-7 years.Robert Parker | 100 RPNo 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 tannin-acid structure Napa is capable of. Immediately delicious now, this wine should develop over the next 10 years.Wine Enthusiast | 98 WEAmazing for its richness, depth and concentration, with a wealth of flavors extending to espresso bean, mocha, dark berry, raspberry and cedar, intense and persistent on the long, detailed finish. An immense wine that’s gracefully balanced.—2001 California Cabernet blind retrospective (June 2011). Drink now through 2020. 2,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSImpressive bright ruby-red to the rim. Sexy, complex nose melds scents of plum, currant, dried herbs, game, coffee bean, Baker’s chocolate and tobacco; smells sweet! Plush, sweet and broad from entry through to powerful, building finish. Strong plum, currant, tar, graphite, chocolate and spice flavors are complicated by soil and mineral nuances. Quite generous and thick without going over the top. This has reached its peak but should hold for at least another 10 to 15 years owing to its firm, claret-like spine of fully ripe, broad tannins. Actually less sweet on the palate than the nose suggests--and an answer to those tasters who consider Shafer’s flagship wine to be a bit too sweet and exotic. This is downright classic.Vinous Media | 95 VMFrom vines the Shafers planted in the early 1970s, these volcanic knolls at the foot of Stags Leap offer the family’s best wine, distinctive both for its texture and the grace with which it ages. It’s hard to find a better example of SLD tannins, a combination of dusty earth and chocolate richness so refined that it’s hard to tell where the fruit tannins end and the oak begins. The wine is neither overtly fruity nor in any way super-ripe. The power seems to come right out of the ground. This is a great vintage of Hillside Select that will need years to reach its peak, perhaps from 2010 through ’15 or later.Wine & Spirits | 94 W&S
Silky red fruit and plum dot the landscape of this powerfully soft and velvety wine. Blended with 23% Merlot and 1% each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, it exudes classic structure, integrated oak and floral beauty, finishing on a fig note. Enjoy from 2028–2032.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WEThe 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon SLD Estate is rich, ample and so inviting. This creamy, expressive Cabernet is sure to delight readers pretty much upon release. It captures all the charm of the vintage in its gracious personality. Hints of spice, tobacco, dried herbs and mint linger.Antonio Galloni | 92 AGLots of purple fruit with raspberries and blackberries follow through to a medium to full body with chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Needs time to soften. Try after 2023.James Suckling | 92 JSA blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District has a medium to deep garnet-purple color and notes of baked black cherries, stewed plums and black currant jelly plus touches of garrigue, black olives and Provence herbs. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers lovely poise and expression with plenty of crunchy black fruit and a grainy texture, finishing with a lively lift.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91 RPJuicy, with an upfront personality showing açai, plum and boysenberry notes mixed together with red licorice and sweet spice accents. Fleshy finish keeps the fruit pumping through nicely, with a light briar streak for cut. Wine Spectator | 91 WSChecking in as 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Stages Leap District sports a dense purple color as well as complex notes of both red and black fruits, new leather, chocolate, and loamy earth. It’s medium to full-bodied, elegant, and nicely textured on the palate, with integrated tannins and a great finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 91 JDA blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% each Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Floral, dusty and herbal on the nose. The palate is energetic and lively with notes of pomegranates, red currants and eucalyptus. Crisp, and linear on the finish. Authentically rooted in a past era of Napa, and accurately represents the grace and subtlety that Stags Leap District is capable of. Drinking Window 2022 - 2030.Decanter | 90 DEC
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk Vineyard is fabulous. Rich, dense and explosive, the Tomahawk possesses tremendous balance and class. Inky and resonant in the glass, the 2018 builds over time as the layers open. Raspberry jam, blood orange, mint, cinnamon, cedar and new leather add the closing shades of complexity. In 2018, the Tomahawk is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGPlanted in 2002, this site produces a wine more dark-fruited and lush than the Ganymede bottling. Aged in 75% new French oak. Blackcurrants, wet cedar and fennel on the nose. The texture of the palate is stunning, splitting the difference between plush, coating, lifted and graceful. Explosive on the finish, where purple fruits combine with a clean, chalky, subtly-abrasive finish. A fantastic wine all the way around, and one to enjoy for the next two decades.Drinking Window 2022 - 2040.Decanter | 95 DECThe 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk has a deep garnet-purple color, slowly unfurling to reveal notes of baked plums, blueberry preserves and warm cassis with an undercurrent of lavender, bouquet garni, black tea and fungi. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers mouth-coating black fruit preserves and earthy layers, supported by ripe, plush tannins and just enough freshness, finishing savory.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPPowerful and earthy, this wine shows red and black cherry and currant flavors on a crisp, textured palate. Clove, cinnamon and dried herb play around the edges of elegant tannin structure and generous oak.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE
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