x
  • Country ranking ?

    128
  • Producer ranking ?

    9
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Rib Eye Steaks with Demi-Glace and White Bean Purée

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

The Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon has that warm, classic Californian flair to it – loads of ripe and jammed black fruits, smooth tannins and mellow acidity. The wines are always big and as Doug Shafer points out “Napa wines are big wines, no point hiding it.” Still baring the Stag’s Leap District’s smooth style, with tannins that are always very gentle and fine-grained, the Hillside Select is voluminous, but in a discreet manner, making it a very enjoyable and flirtatious wine when young.

Terroir
The legendary Hillside Estate Vineyard is comprised of 14 vineyard blocks, varying from one to nine acres in size, on the slopes of an amphitheatre-like hillside. The thin, volcanic rocky topsoil stands on top of bedrock that forms a very low amount of nutrients for vines, thus yielding small grapes with intense flavours. Due to a series of knolls and outcroppings, the vineyard blocks enjoy various microclimates, which generate grape material with complex flavours. Every afternoon the breeze from San Francisco Bay cools the vineyards, allowing the fruit to retain acidity. The vines suffer and have not
 

Philosophy in winemaking
The Shafers are the pioneers of sustainable vine farming, with over 20 years experience. The production is operated using 100% solar power, recycled water and no chemicals.

In the early 1980s we followed the advice of our textbooks from the U.C. Davis winemaking programme and picked early, added acid, etc. Over time we learnt that wine needs to taste good. And we threw out our textbooks and learned to taste the fruit and let the fruit tell us when to pick and also what style of wine it wanted to become. Obviously I hope the future will be about wines that are produced with authenticity, wines that remain true to their site of origin. However, the fact is the future remains, as always, in the hands of consumers.” Doug Shafer comments.

History 

The winery was established by John Shafer, a former book publisher from Chigago, in 1972. In 1978 the Shafers became vintners after crushing their first wine, Shafer Cabernet, themselves. It was released in 1981. This wine was ranked, ten years later during an international blind tasting in Germany, better than legendary Bordeaux wines like Latour, Margaux and Palmer.

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Wine Information

Parker 99 points: The current release, the 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside 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. They were crestfallen when informed they probably would not be able to buy multiple cases of the wine! The 1994 combines the 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 Medoc-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.

Since the 1991 vintage, one of the stars of the Cabernet Sauvignon sweepstakes has been Shafer's Hillside Select. Approximately 2,000-2,200 cases of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon are produced. The wine is aged in 100% new oak for 30 months. Recent vintages have all been spectacular. In short, attempting to decipher qualitative differences between them is akin to splitting hairs. I just hope that Cabernet lovers have the discretionary income and accessibility to cellar a few bottles

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

12 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Purple and Bright

ending

Endless, Extensive and Pure

nose

Wide, Ripe, Generous and Refined

taste

High in Acidity, Perfectly balanced, Well-Integrated, Well-structured, Developing, Full-bodied, Refined, Perfumed, Fruity and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and Masterpiece

Written Notes

Vintage with loads of rain in California. Nevertheless Cabernet Sauvignon did very well. This is one of the great examples. These Cabernet Sauvignon grapes enjoy the great hillside location in Stags Leap District known for its wines’ especially generous tannins. Decanted one hour. Moderately intense garnet colour with mahogany tints. Very complex developing nose – creme de cassis, cedar, cigar, lead pencil. Rich full-bodied taste stands out being very ripe and intense but at the same time very elegant. Ripe pure cassis flavours are married with lovely velvety tannins and delicate acidity. Very refined and stylish – resembling Médoc style with its richness and elegance. Extremely well-balanced long aftertaste. Aristocratic wine.
  • 95p

Blackish crimson. Very full and slightly less appetising. Quite lively. Full, round and slightly blowsy. Tea. Inky. Slight rusty nail taste on the finish.

  • 90p

A spectacular wine, the 1994 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select begins a succession of profound Hillside Select cuvées that continues nearly uninterrupted (1996 misses slightly) to the present day. It is a further indication of just how impressive this team’s performance has been at this winery. The fully mature 1994, which has another 15-20 years of drinkability ahead of it, exhibits a complex, nearly flamboyant nose of subtle oak, blue, red and black fruits, graphite and licorice. The gorgeous aromas are followed by an opulent, full-bodied, multidimensional mouthfeel that coats the palate.

Shafer’s Hillside Estate Vineyard consists of 54 acres all on steep, amphitheater-like, rocky outcroppings and knolls. It receives the full benefit of southeasterly sunlight, and enjoys the afternoon breezes that blow up from the San Francisco Bay channel. An unusual geographic feature, this vineyard is basically a box canyon. The top soil is virtually non-existent as the bed roots that go into the white tofu volcanic soil base rarely extend more than 18 inches before hitting bedrock. This no doubt is a significant reason for the intense flavors achieved by the Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, and why it is able to spend 32 months in 100% new French oak without a woody taste.

  • 96p
Good looking normal size bottle, is in a excellent condition and has bottom neck level. Colour is ruby red, and looking bright, deep and full. On the nose it is intense, wide, fresh, seductive and charming. The taste is vivid, refined, fruity, with silky tannins, full-bodied, with perfectly balanced, multi-dimensional, good texture and concentrated structure. The finish is long, extensive, flavorful, pure and vibrant. This wine is transparent, impressive and masterpiece. I paid around 500-1k€ a bottle. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2t before tasting.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Napa, Napa Valley

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Best buy

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

None

Highlights

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