Weekend cabernet: 1990 Leoville Las Cases and 2002 Shafer Hillside Select

Two very different expressions of cabernet (yes, the Leoville is a blend). One was very proper; one was decidedly not proper. I liked both. Because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.

  • 2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District (12/7/2019)
    Fruit, fruit and more fruit. Rich, dense, intense, palpable fruit. Liqueur-like blackberry, black raspberry and black currant, some smoke. I’m sure there was a ton of oak and tannin buried in there, but you can’t detect either. For all the sumptuous fruit, it somehow tasted balanced and supple with good lift and a long finish. Obviously not the most complex of wines, but that kind of fruit quality is hard to find. (94 pts.)
  • 1990 Château Léoville Las Cases - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien (12/5/2019)
    I like it. The cork was fully soaked and difficult to extract, but the wine was great. Cassis, green herbs and tobacco. Concentrated, structured (tannins still present), but so smooth and balanced, with a finish that went on and on. Just lovely. (94 pts.)

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