The sheer rock towers of the Stags Leap palisades reflect the afternoon sun creating small berries and tiny yields, resulting in the lush intense Cabernet Sauvignon that is the hallmark of Hillside Select. Always a favorite of ours with its crushed black cherries, dried rose petals, and baking spice. The powerful fruit and sublime tannins constantly leave us breathless.
“Year in year out, [Shafer] is one of the superstar wineries, not only in Napa Valley and all of California, but in the entire world...Today, this is a winery that does everything about as perfect as can be. They have kept their feet, heads and egos grounded, and continue to kick proverbial ass with every vintage.” – Parker In 1972 John Shafer departed his 23 year career in publishing and moved to the Napa Valley to pursue a second career in wine. Fortuitously, he found a 210 acre parcel in the Stags Leap District and set up shop. His first task at hand was that of replanting the vineyards, some of which dated back to the 1920s. The Shafer family crushed their first Cabernet in 1978 and began building their winery the next year. Needless to say, that first release became not only a benchmark but a legend in its own right. Eventually they expanded their beautiful hillside acreage and in 1983, John's son, Doug Shafer, became winemaker after graduating from U.C. Davis with a degree in enology and viticulture. Since then, Doug has stepped up to becoming the company's president and has passed the winemaking reins over to Elias Fernandez. From their somewhat modest beginnings, Shafer has blossomed into a world-class estate that is nationally and internationally renowned.
Very deep purple-black in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select comes bounding out of the glass with gregarious scents of crème de cassis, warm black cherries, plum preserves and Indian spices with hints of lilacs, garrigue, stewed tea and cigar box plus a waft of charcuterie. Full-bodied, rich, boldly fruited and wildly decadent, it has a rock-solid frame of grainy tannins and compelling freshness, finishing with loads of earthy and savory layers.
There’s an intensely ripe, fresh and vibrant edge to this focused, elegant and assertively pure cabernet that delivers attractive blueberry and cassis aromas in stylish form. The palate arrives as a precise and focused suite of ripe blueberry and blackberry flavors, building smoothly to an attractively crisp and even-paced finish. Another superb edition of this wine. Drink or hold.