The Best Wines and Spirits of 2013, a slideshow David Honig December 30, 2013 Features 2009 Shafer Vineyards “Hillside Select” Cabernet Sauvignon◄ BackNext ►Picture 1 of 12A person made this. It will restore your faith in humanity. This is consistently one of the best wines from Stag’s Leap, one of the best AVAs in Napa Valley. Shafer’s Hillside Select gives you all the depth you can hope for in a Napa Valley Cabernet, but adds the elegance and balance, the mint and menthol and the remarkably silky tannins that all say “Stag’s Leap.” Layers of flavors start with blackberries and cassis, with a background of mint and menthol, followed by a white pepper pop. The mid-palate shows clear evolution to black currant, dark chocolate, then espresso. It also hints of violets that will come to the fore if you’re willing to let a bottle spend a decade or more in the cellar.Black fruits and dark chocolate linger with the mint, making a comeback, on the finish. Every hour the bottle is open adds a new layer of flavors and aromas. Tannins are powdery-fine, silky-smooth, and gently grip your whole mouth. The finish echoes forever. Nothing in this wine overpowers. If you equate big money with huge power, this isn’t the wine for you. But if you expect to get skilled winemaking, excellent balance, waves of flavors, delivered with power matched with grace, this is worth every penny. Drink with very good friends and very fine filet. Very highly recommended. 98.