It's important to recognize that Shafer is still a family operation and the family remains very much hands on. The total production at Shafer is significantly less than many of the large, well known commercial brands. You can taste the difference.
About the Wine
Hillside Select is sourced from a collection of 14 small vineyard blocks planted within an eons-old amphitheater-like structure of rock and volcanic soil that surrounds the winery. Thanks to scant soil nutrients and moisture, yields at harvest are meager and the berries are small, about the size of blueberries. This Stags Leap District site’s combination of rugged, arid soil and climate results in lush Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with dark color and intense, classic flavor. Only 2400 cases produced.
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Oak: 32 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels (Allier and Tronçais)
About the Winery
Shafer Vineyards is a 30,000 case winery in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District managed by the father and son team of John and Doug Shafer. The Shafer family owns and farms 200 acres of vineyards, sources for Shafer’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, and Petite Sirah.
Very deep inky-purple colored, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is 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. ~98+ pts WA
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is 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. ~ 97+, VM
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. Drink in 2022. ~97pts, JS