2012 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Shafer, Stags Leap District, California, USA
100 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (October 2016)
Shafer’s flagship wine, and one of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignons, is the Hillside Select, which comes from the rocky, volcanic soils on hillsides above the winery. Vineyard production is small, and the wine an incredible example of Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in 100% new oak for 32 months and bottled unfiltered, this can generally be expected to be one of the top dozen or so Cabernet Sauvignons in virtually any vintage in Napa, and certainly possesses 25 to possibly 50 years of aging potential.
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a perfect wine. It elicits more than a few “wows” when you smell the incredible notes of charcoal, graphite and subtle toast, buttressed and dominated by blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry fruit. The purity of these fruits, the multidimensional mouthfeel, the seamless integration of acid, alcohol, tannin and wood are all flawless. The 2012 signature adds an extravagant opulence and density that is just mind-boggling, and the wine is a total hedonistic and intellectual turn-on already, although it has 30+ years of life ahead of it.
96 Antonio Galloni, Vinous (December 2016)
Shafer's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is deep, unctuous and super-expressive. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, new leather, menthol and pomegranate are some of the many notes that infuse this heady, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 is not quite as opulent in this tasting as it has been in the past, but I imagine it most likely going through a somewhat close phase.
This is textbook modern Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at its best.