2003 Shafer - Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select 1.5L

USA - California - Napa - Stags Leap District/ Red / Cabernet Sauvignon   |     Watch
2003 Shafer - Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select

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VINDEX   $430.58

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International Wine Cellar | 93

(bottled in the spring of 2006) Medium ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, currant, cocoa powder, cedar, graphite, violet, licorice and sweet oak. Lush and very sweet but with lively mint and naphtha notes lifting the flavors of black cherry, dark berries and dark chocolate. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins and acids and yet this wine should give early pleasure. I find a wider range of ripeness here than in the supernal 2002.

Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: Issue 132

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Jancis Robinson | 18

The style – powerful, ultra-rich and hedonistic – is not for everyone, yet it agrees with many American palates. It’s a fine example of how a big, ripe wine can remain surprisingly balanced for all its opulence. Aromas of forest floor, cedar, cassis and black cherry lead to a palate awash in ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit. Tannins are velvet-soft, yet background toast and brisk acidity keep the wine remarkably fresh. At 14.9 per cent alcohol, there is very little heat. (LM)$200

Drink Dates: 2010-2020
Author: Linda Murphy


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Wine Advocate | 100

One of the great so-called 'first growthsâ?� of Napa is Shafer's 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from their Stags Leap vineyard known as Hillside Select. This has been one of the top dozen or so wines in every vintage for over 15 years. A big wine at 14.9% alcohol, it is aged an atypically long time of 32 months in 100% new French oak, but at ten years of age, no oak is present. It is an utterly perfect wine, surpassing almost everything else made in 2003! It possesses everything one could desire in a Cabernet Sauvignon ' minerality, flowers, creme de cassis, blackberries, velvety tannins, a skyscraper texture, perfect balance and integration between the acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood, all well-concealed by the luxurious nature of this great wine. The finish is endless in this prodigious offering from a great family of grape growers and winemakers. It proves the point that good guys can finish first. This 2003 should continue to drink well for 25-30 years.

Drink Dates: 2013-2043
Author: Robert Parker
Issue: 207

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Wine Spectator | 93

A big, rich, bold and expansive style, with tiers of dense currant, mineral, earth, black cherry, anise and cedary oak flavors that are intense and concentrated, with the tannins showing a raw edge. Young and rambunctious. Needs lots of air or a little time in the cellar. 2,200 cases made.

Drink Dates: 2008-2013
Author: James Laube


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Score: 97
Author: G
Trust Rating: 97
Tasted On: 06/26/2014
Great finish, legs for days. Needs a ton of decant time before it starts opening up.
Score: 100
Author: marv
Trust Rating: 98
Tasted On: 06/25/2014
Early
Score: 91
Author: BoxsterVino
Trust Rating: 97
Tasted On: 04/08/2012
Drink slowly...this wine changes with every glass. Be patient early.
Score: 98
Author: Raymond Joe
Trust Rating: 100
Tasted On: 03/01/2011
This wine is perfectly in balance right now. I would say the window is this year for harmony in this wine but should last 15 plus years. The nose brings out rich chocolate and sweet jammy flavors. Tannins are not even noticeable when it hits the palate. Some chocolate, mixed with fuits and leather, and a hint of cigar tobacco. Truly a profound wine

1 of 1 people found this review useful.

Score: 92
Author: Miguel L
Trust Rating: 100
Tasted On: 01/11/2011
Drink Dates: 2013-2025
Retail purchase at release. Massive, closed and impenetrable, so into the decanter it went for 3+ hours. So dark it even obscured the candle! Deep, port-like, very rich, powerful. Has it moved since bottling? 14.9%... a wine to overwhelm and dominate. Drink now or hold 10 years and see whether it ever moves. Huge cab!

1 of 1 people found this review useful.

About This Producer


John Shafer began working and replanting steep, rocky vineyards in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District in 1972, and has since built Shafer into one of the most sought-after labels from Napa. John, his son Doug, and winemaker Elias Fernandez call themselves farmers, and are proud of it. Doug took over the vineyards in 1989, and within a year began to integrate organic techniques into his vineyards while the term "organic" still elicited sideways looks. "My soils were getting tired," Doug says. "They had been farmed since 1922." He installed solar panels in 2004, and now enjoys watching his batteries send power back to the grid. Elias was hired by Shafer in 1984 and named winemaker in 1994. Shafer Hillside Select is a benchmark wine of the Stag's Leap District, with a string of awards too long to list. Aged a full four years prior to release, it is, in the words of Robert Parker, "One of the world's, as well as Napa's, most profound Cabernet Sauvignons."

Click here to listen to GrapeRadio's podcast about Shafer (Show #93, 32:01 min 15 MB)
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