94

Shafer

$72

2010 Stags Leap District Napa Valley One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon

Shafer cabernet has helped define the supple richness of fruit from the Stags Leap District, particularly Hillside Select, which comes from the estate’s higher knolls nestled into the escarpment at the eastern edge of the Napa Valley. One Point Five grows on lower ground; a small portion is purchased fruit and the balance comes from the family’s Oak Knoll estate just over the SLD border. In 2010, 30 percent of the blend came from Shafer’s Borderline Estate in Stags Leap, where the team dropped half the fruit to ripen the rest in the cool season. They harvested at 24.5 Brix two days before a late October storm dropped five inches of rain. The fortuitous timing created a wine with that SLD satin texture in the tannins, saturated red fruit and riper notes of dimpled grapes. If there’s raisining here, the fruit is plump enough to fill out the skins, tasting black and earthy, hinting at volcanic dust. This is elegant enough to bridge the gap between terroir expression and luxury wine. Decant it for the holidays with beef Wellington, or cellar it for a decade.

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Oct 2013 | Add a comment

94

Shafer

$230

2008 Stags Leap District Napa Valley Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon

Rich and fragrant, this wine has all the succulent depths of black currant fruit and layers of savory, chocolate-scented tannins that cult cabernets have tried to emulate and perfect. Since 1978, this series of rocky knolls under the Stag’s Leap Escarpment have produced one of Napa Valley’s signature red wines; the generosity and concentration come naturally. This is a vibrant 2008, one that reaches over the top while staying grounded, earthy and real. (2,400 cases)

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Dec 2012 | Add a comment

91

Shafer

$50

2011 Carneros Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay

There’s intriguing power in this chardonnay, as much about spice as it is about warmth. The oak presence is balanced by full-on lees character, as if you can taste the floral pear aspects of the grape skins, the dusted almond flavor of happily exhausted yeast. Those scents merge into the vanilla stretched tight over lemon acidity, which lends elasticity to the texture. A substantial white to serve with roast veal.

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Oct 2013 | Add a comment