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Shafer’s signature wine, Hillside Select, is made entirely from the best lots of Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the winery’s hillside estate vineyards in Stags Leap District. The hillside fruit is small and deeply coloured. A reserve wine of limited production, it is undeniably a wine of place, exemplifying the rich, concentrated flavours and velvety texture of Stags Leap District fruit.
Aged a full four years (32 months in French oak) prior to release, it is a collector’s wine.
In the glass you’ll find rich, opulent aromas of blackberry, cocoa, black cherry, rhubarb, rose water, and espresso. The mouth is a juicy, energetic cascade of summer bramble fruit, cassis, black liquorice, red plum, fresh cracked pepper, and baking spice with a lengthy, compelling finish. All this decadence comes wrapped in ripe tannins for long-term aging in your cellar.
“So much black licorice in this, together with tar, blackcurrants, blackberries and slate. Full-bodied, but very toned and focused, with polish and energy. Extremely fine tannins and wonderful length. All about balance and purity. Gorgeous now, but this will age for decades to come. Great finish. Better after 2026.”
99 points, JamesSuckling.com, Feb 2022
“Incredible purity and precision, as well as opulence, define the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, and this is as good as any Cabernet Sauvignon in the world today. Revealing a deep purple hue as well as a thrilling bouquet of pure crème de cassis, black raspberries, spring flowers, lead pencil shavings, and an incredible minerality, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, seamless texture, ample mid-palate depth, and a great finish. This is classic 2018 Napa Valley with its purity, freshness and precision as well as sensational concentration and perfectly integrated acidity, tannins, and alcohol. It delivers pleasure today yet warrants a solid 4-5 years of bottle age and is going to be a 30- to 40-year wine.”
100 points, Jeb Dunnuck, May 2022
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a total knock-out, just as it was last year. Fresh, vibrant and wonderfully nuanced, the 2018 is simply magnificent. Red cherry jam, rose petal, cinnamon, violet, lavender and new leather all race out of the glass. More than anything else, I am so taken by the wine’s energy and freshness. I find less bombastic intensity than in some previous years. In fact, the 2018 might be the most polished, elegant Hillside Select I have ever tasted. In a word: dazzling.”
97-99 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Jan 2021