x
  • Country ranking ?

    105
  • Producer ranking ?

    4
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2045
  • Food Pairing

    Grilled Beef Tenderloin with roasted bellpeppers, Aged Manchego & Roasted venison

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 2014 Hillside Select is a classic, balanced, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from our rugged hillside vineyards in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District.

“… incredibly intense and impactful on the nose, revealing notes of crushed black cherries, blackberries and fresh black currants with underlying notions of charcoal, sautéed herbs, black soil, chargrilled meat and pencil lead, plus a waft of violets. Very full-bodied, very rich and wonderfully concentrated, the wall of fruit is well matched by a firm structure of ripe, grainy tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing with great length and depth.” 
— Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“A fascinating nose of licorice, tarte tartin, blackcurrant compote, orange rind, ivy, holly, pine needles, ash, Christmas cake and even raspberry cheesecake as well as a slight minty/herbal note. The palate is so well-knit but powerful; it's the sort of wine that takes no prisoners. Yet the vintage shines through, and it remains always fresh and balanced. Layers upon layers of fruit and a long, decadent finish.” 
— James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

“… one of the more restrained, understated versions of this wine I can remember tasting. Medium in body (in relative terms) and beautifully persistent, the 2014 makes its case more with a total sense of harmony rather than with bombastic power, as is sometimes the case. Moreover, the 2014 has really come together beautifully since I last tasted it. In 2014, Hillside Select is a wine of precision, with expressive aromatics and finely-knit tannins that support the mid-palate and finish nicely.”
— Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com

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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

The 2014 Growing Season: This was the third in a string of warm, sun-soaked vintages from spring through early autumn.The consistency of daytime heat and evening coolness created a model growing season in which we harvested fruit with abundant color and concentration, along with enticing, rich aromatics.

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Average Bottle Price

2020
290€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A fascinating nose of licorice, tarte tartin, blackcurrant compote, orange rind, ivy, holly, pine needles, ash, Christmas cake and even raspberry cheesecake as well as a slight minty/herbal note. The palate is so well-knit but powerful; it's the sort of wine that takes no prisoners. Yet the vintage shines through, and it remains always fresh and balanced. Layers upon layers of fruit and a long, decadent finish.

  • 97p

Pure and pleasantly focused, driven by a supple core of dark berry, licorice, sage, underbrush and mineral notes that stand up to the cedary oak. Ends long, deep and persistent, echoing the core flavor themes.

  • 96p

“The 2014 vintage opens with an aromatic wave of deep, intense fruit and spices such as black plum, blackberry pie filling, cassis, and anise, along with nutmeg, dark toast, and dried rose petals. The energy in the nose is just as dramatic in the mouth with open, beautiful ripeness, mocha, briar fruit, pomegranate, baking spice, and ripe tannins that collectors will recognize as offering the promise of sensational things to come in the cellar.”

Inky garnet in color, this wine has a lovely nose of cedar, cocoa powder, and stony, mineral aromas. In the mouth it is a monster of rocky, mineral, earthy qualities married with a core of cherry and cocoa powder. Incredible acids and powdery tannins wrap like taut sinews around this core of fruit that is welded to a wet, crushed stone quality that continues through a very long gentle finish.

  • 97p
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Information

Origin

Napa, Napa Valley

Grapes

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Drinking temperature

17-18C

Inside Information

Elegant Cabernet Sauvignon Flavors From Rugged Vineyard Site


Sheer rock walls tower along the eastern boundary of Shafer’s hillside estate vineyards, reflecting the warming rays of the afternoon sun and channeling cool breezes off the bay. These are the Stags Leap palisades from which this small appellation takes its name. They create a craggy amphitheater that is home to Shafer Vineyards and stand as a silent testament to the eons-old history of the place. 

On this remote site Cabernet Sauvignon vines prod their roots through thin, volcanic soil before hitting weathered bedrock below. Thanks to scant nutrients and soil moisture the yields are meager; the berries at harvest time are small, about the size of blueberries. They’re dark and intensely flavored. 

Shafer’s property has been the site of vineyard cultivation since the 1880s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when John Shafer came to Napa Valley looking for a hillside site, that vines were planted on these rock-choked slopes. 

Napa Valley viticulture was a different world in the 1970s, when Shafer acquired the neglected vineyards planted 50 years earlier by a farmer named Batista Scansi. White varietals sometimes grew side by side with red, modern trellising was unknown, and existing vineyards had been planted with little regard to what is now known about the relationship between terroir and varietal. On the Shafer property, vine spacing of the original hillside vineyard was on an 8 x 8 foot grid and cross cultivation by tractor proved perilous, as the machine side-slipped down the rocky slope. 

Planting the steep upper vineyard called for dynamite to uproot truck-sized boulders and clear the land for planting, actions that earned the precipitous vineyard block its name of “John’s Folly.” Today, John’s Folly is the grand-dad of the hillside Cabernet blocks, an important component of Hillside Select Cabernet. It comes as no surprise that many of the vineyard blocks bear the names of favorite ski runs, one of them Sunspot, named after a challenging slope in Alta, Utah. 

Made from a single varietal, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Hillside Select gains complexity from the variety of clones and rootstocks planted in the vineyards, each of which adds its individual characteristics to the finished wine. 

The exposure of each vineyard block is also part of the complexity equation. Upper and Lower Sunspot blocks, for example, obtain maximum sunlight because they face southwest, ideal in most vintages because the vines receive the last warming rays of the setting sun, but requiring close monitoring for sunburn if a heat spike occurs. Other blocks like John’s Folly, Rattler and Lookout have a southern exposure and are shaded by the contours of the hills earlier in the evening, ripening slowly and evenly, ensuring long hang time. 

The range of vineyard exposures and diversity of clones, each ripening on a slightly different schedule, ensure that Hillside Select will be produced each year regardless of the vagaries of the weather, although quantities will vary by vintage. 

Until recent years, a well-tended vineyard was notable for its neatness: the earth cleared of any other greenery that might compete with the vines. Along with the risk of toxicity to humans and other life forms, the herbicides used left the vines as even greater targets to voracious insects. Fighting these pests took another layer of chemical treatment. And the meager soil of hillside vineyards was vulnerable to loss from winter runoff, depleting an already precious resource. 

In the 1980s, Doug Shafer, John’s son, began a program of sustainable agriculture, planting native cover crops to offer cover to beneficial and predacious insects, control erosion, and serve as compost when the greens were turned into the soil at the end of their growing cycle. Above ground, Shafer erected hawk perches and barn owl boxes to attract birds of prey to naturally control unwanted rodents (this eliminated the need for rodent poisons). Each year, the thin soil of the hillside vineyards is enriched, and the reliance on chemicals in the vineyard is eliminated. 

From the first vintage, the wine from the hillside vineyards showed the same intense fruit and velvety texture year after year. It was an expression of the land, a wine of a place, and it became Shafer’s signature wine, Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The hillside grapes are picked into small bins, so they arrive at the crush pad intact, not crushed under their own weight. Culled early in the growing season, the grapes are meticulously sorted again by hand in the field prior to harvest, arriving at the crush pad clean. At the winery, state-of-the-art crushing equipment continues the sorting, with a cage sized just for the diminutive hillside grapes removing the fragile stems, which tend to separate easily from the small hillside-grown berries. 

Once in the fermenter, the hillside juice is given special treatment. The maceration and gentle pumping-over are designed to extract every nuance from the grapes. Even the barrels used for aging are selected individually from a shipment of the finest tight-grain 

French oak; winemaker Elias Fernandez smells each barrel to choose the most aromatic for the Hillside Select Cabernet. 

The wine ages in new French oak barrels for 32 months prior to bottling. The Cabernet rests for another year in the bottle before it is ready for release. 

In the end only about 2,400 cases of Shafer’s signature wine are produced each year, offered on a limited basis to lovers of fine wine and to top restaurants and hotels in selected markets throughout the world.

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Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2014,
Shafer Vineyards

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BWW 2020 Competition

VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVOURITE WINES FOR THE BEST WINE OF THE WORLD -TITLE

 

BWW- The Best Wine of the World 2020 -competition

"We believed the opinion of 10,000 consumers or 1,000 professionals to be more correct and more significant than a small group of wine professionals.”

 

BWW-The Best Wine of the World-competition is by far the toughest wine competition on this planet. Unlike any other industry competition, only 1% of the wines involved will be awarded. 

BWW is also the largest wine competition: The BWW competition 2019 was held in the world's largest wine information service - tastingbook.com. 18,477 wines received in total 2,354,989 votes from 416,000 wine professionals and wine lovers from 116 countries during the three months voting period.