From a modest beginning of 1,000 cases in 1978, the winery has grown steadily until reaching its present size of 32,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sangiovese and Syrah. Today Shafer wines are available in major markets nationwide and in many foreign markets.
External Reviews for Shafer Cabernet Hilside Select
Saturated ruby. Brooding aromas of blackberry, cassis, bitter chocolate and truffle. Superripe, broad and layered; outsized and dense but not heavy. The fruit flavors are extremely ripe but not roasted. Finishes with huge, sweet, toothcoating tannins and outstanding persistence. Still a baby but already wonderfully focused. A great, full-flavored example of Napa Valley cabernet.
Has lots of richness, depth and complexity, with layers of earthy currant, anise, black cherry and blackberry fruit, showing far more depth and ripeness than most from this vintage. Drink now through 2008.
Pure, rich, intense and vibrant, with tight, sharply focused, vivid black cherry, blackberry and black currant fruit that has a nice dusty, loamy edge and ends with a pleasant burst of ripe fruit flavors that are long and persistent. Best from 2009 through 2014.
No Cabernet smells better. This is an enormously attractive, well-oaked wine constituted from the best possible fruit. In the mouth, it immediately seduces. Shafer knows it has to rise to expectations with this wine. and the 2001 does not disappoint. The fruit is spectacular, all cassis. The oak is rich, flamboyant and delicious. Structurally, the wine has the best tannin-acid structure Napa is capable of. Immediately delicious now, this wine should develop over the next 10 years.
The 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is one of the finest wines of the vintage. The 14.9% alcohol is barely noticeable given the amazing concentration and intensity. A saturated opaque purple color is followed by scents of vanilla, blackberry liqueur, crushed minerals, and a hint of white flowers. There is stunning intensity, tremendous purity, full body, and a remarkable, seamless finish (amazing given the elevated, austere tannin). Give the 1999 another 2-3 years of cellaring, and enjoy it over the following two decades or longer.
One of the world's, as well as Napa's, most profound Cabernet Sauvignons is the 2,000 or so case production of Shafer's Hillside Select. Made from their finest parcels in Stags Leap, the wine spends nearly 32 months in 100% new oak. This is a wine that usually has 20-30 years of aging potential. The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select (just released) shows some graphite and pain grille notes intermixed with creme de cassis, licorice, camphor, and some spice box. Full-bodied, powerful, with fabulous fruit, silky tannins, and an intense mouthfeel, this is a gorgeous wine to drink over the next 20-25 years.
The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Hill Select is a prodigious Cabernet. I had it at a tasting in Japan, and the Japanese were as enthusiastic about it as my rating suggested they should be. The were crestfallen when informed they probably would not be able to buy multiple cases of the wine! The 1994 combines a vintage's spectacularly ripe, luscious fruit with a rarely seen degree of elegance and finesse. The wine is extremely rich, as well as gorgeously poised and graceful. The saturated ruby/purple color is accompanied by Médoc-like, lead pencil aromas intermixed with cassis, cedar, minerals and spice. I wrote the word "great" four different times in my most recent tasting note, which mirrored every other tasting note I have. It is full-bodied and seamless, with a silky texture, voluptuous richness, and fabulous purity. The finish lasts for over 40 seconds. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2025.