Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
RP96: 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.
VM96: The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select comes across as quite classic and in need of quite a bit of time in barrel, something that won't be much of an issue, as the 2011 is likely to stay in oak for another year. Savory herbs, menthol, licorice and brilliant saline notes linger on the close. The 2011 is striking, but it is also a highly atypical Hillside Select.