Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
|Region||California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District|
A drought year produced the 1996 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, which is slightly more compact than great vintages, but nevertheless impressive. It offers further evidence that even in more challenging years, the Hillside Select is a special wine. Dense plum/purple with notes of cedarwood, charcoal, underbrush and forest, the wine has plenty of cassis, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, ripe tannin, but a slightly less impressive finish than the 1995 or 1994. This wine seems to be in its plateau of full maturity, where it should hold for at least another 10-12 years.
(14.3% alcohol; from a warmer vintage, like 1992, according to Doug Shafer): Deep red. Shows a distinctly ripe, even roasted quality to the aromas of musky plum, currant and underbrush. Silky and plush in the mouth, with sweet plum and dried berry flavors complemented by a note of milk chocolate. Finishes tannic and dry, with a suggestion of black tea tannins. This is 15+% alcohol, and yet there's a faint suggestion of stemminess.
Starts out smooth, showing rich, earthy currant, hazelnut and nutmeg scents, with a hint of mocha and dense, chewy tannins. Still very youthful, firm and extracted. The first two bottles were corked.--1996 California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now through 2012. 2,000 cases made.