2019 embodies classic Hillside Select richness, vibrancy, and balance. The aromas push out of the glass, offering black cherry, cedar, cassis, and juicy red summer berries with lifted floral tones. Even at this youthful age, the complexity of the vintage is striking, merging dark fruit with tobacco, espresso, black olive, red plum, and black tea. The expansive mid-palate is complemented by ripe integrated tannins that add depth and structure, culminating in a long, profound finish.
“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.
Sourced from specific blocks of estate-grown fruit, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is another highly successful vintage. All Cabernet Sauvignon aged 32 months in 100% new French oak, it boasts intense aromas of pencil shavings, dark loam, cassis and plum on the nose, while the palate is full-bodied, super-ripe, rich, dense and concentrated—a truly impressive California vin de garde. Tannic but ripe, it finishes long and firm on the finish, adding a hint of mocha. To be released in September 2023, it's a strong showing and hopefully an indication that quality will remain high under the new ownership.
A beautiful nose of pitted cherries, redcurrants, fresh herbs and violets. Full-bodied with fine, structured tannins. More gravelly, mineral and dark than the nose lets on. Savory almost. Terrific depth and concentration that keeps the palate flavorful through the generous finish. Chocolate, sage, rosemary, bark and moss. Layered. Superb wine. Needs time to come together. Best after 2024 and onward.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is another magical vintage for this cuvée. All Cabernet Sauvignon from hillside vineyards on the eastern side of Stags Leap, it offers a vivid purple hue as well as extraordinary notes of cassis, black raspberries, violets, camphor, and spring flowers, with perfectly integrated background oak. Full-bodied but not massive, it’s flawlessly balanced on the palate and has ultra-fine tannins, a seamless, elegant mouthfeel, and a great, great finish. It’s another 30- to 40-year wine from this incredible team that readers will absolutely love.