Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
|Region||California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District|
Possibly the Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage is Shafer's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Last year I thought it was a strong effort, but it's even better now that it's been bottled. With an opaque black/purple color and notes of subtle burning charcoal embers, blueberry, blackberry and graphite, the wine has a certain Bordelais minerality, but then the richness of Napa kicks in. It's full-bodied (somewhat unusual for a 2011) with lighter tannins, and no doubt the wine will be on a faster evolutionary track than vintages such as 2010, 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, the Shafers and Elias said this was the toughest vintage they'd ever experienced. To be able to produce a compelling wine like this is a testament to their extraordinary skills and craftsmanship. This wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15-20 years.
This mighty icon of the Napa Valley shows it can handle a cool vintage with as much power and velvety grace as in any other year, providing plenty of grippy tobacco, leather and cedar atop a tannic backbone and mouthwatering mouthfeel. A 100% varietal wine fromvarious estate-farmed vineyard blocks, it guards its minerality with a steely gaze, rationing out black currant, clove and tobacco in measured waves. Drink now through 2021.
Openly rich and plush, with a dense core of mocha-laced blackberry, charry oak, subtle spice, hot brick and cedary, earthy notes, this hints at a rustic character and is edgy at points, yet the core intensity persists. Ends with drying tannins. Best from 2017 through 2027. 2,400 cases made.