RP100: In contrast to the more linear, structured, but massive 2001, the 2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is pure fruit-bomb material, but stunningly proportioned, beautifully pure, with notes of melted chocolate, blackcurrant jam, sweet black cherries, licorice, camphor and charcoal. Very full-bodied, like the 2001, but much more lavishly fruited, it is more accessible and hedonistically, as well as intellectually, satisfying. If the 2001 is the long-distance runner, this comes across more like a middle-distancer. It had performed fabulously well since it was released by the winery, and even though it�s still an adolescent in terms of its evolution, this wine is a head-turner in wine tastings, and a spectacular effort from Napa. Drink now or drink in 20-25 years.
VM96: Saturated full ruby color.Brooding aromas of cassis, black raspberry, smoke, chocolate, graphite and minerals. Thoroughly ripe, rich and tactile, but with captivating lift to its flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, cassis and flowers.Highly impressive mounting finish saturates the palate with flavor. Already shows great sweetness, but the wine's tight core of fruit suggests it will develop slowly and gracefully in bottle. Boasts a combination of lushness and energy that's rare for California cabernet.