2018 SHAFER Cabernet Sauvignon "Hillside Select"

SHAFER Cabernet Sauvignon

¥79,200 (incl. tax)

Hillside Select is a 100% Cabernet made from the rocky vineyard the Shafers planted in the early 1970s. Ever since the first vintage, in 1978, those hillside vines have been producing stellar wines that Robert Parker has called “… one of the New World’s most profound Cabernet Sauvignons.” As the first step in making a great wine, the vineyards are meticulously managed, requiring multiple passes during pruning, leafing, and dropping fruit that isn’t up to par. In the winery, Hillside Select is aged for more than four years – three in 100% new French oak barrels plus an additional 15 months in bottle. The result is a wine with classic richness, youthful elegance and texture. Jeb Dunnuck awarded this vintage a score of 100 points, writing “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.”


Winery Description

In the Stags Leap District, Cabernet Sauvignon is king. The well-drained volcanic soils and climate cooled by regular San Pablo Bay fogs produce cabs that are silky, supple and voluptuous: “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” While the Stags Leap District is now world class, when John Shafer moved his family there from Chicago in 1973, it was a place of rocky hillsides and rundown vineyards and orchards. At that time, “up-valley” was the focus of premium winemaking whereas this rocky corner of the valley did not even have an agreed-upon name. But as the land was affordable and had supported vineyards in the past, John Shafer decided it was the place to pursue his dream in wine.

Shafer Vineyards is a moderately-sized, family-owned operation whose pursuit of quality in both viticulture and winemaking helped define not only their own winery but the Stags Leap District as well. At the start it was just John and his son Doug doing everything, from terracing the hillsides, to planting vines, to making and selling the wine. Doug was only 17 when he began helping his father transform the old farm into a modern vineyard. He went on to study enology at UC Davis and became Shafer’s winemaker in 1983. Success came quickly to Shafer Vineyards, with its very first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon winning the prestigious San Francisco Vintner’s Club taste-off. Shafer’s Hillside Select, the winery’s showcase made from 100% Cabernet grown on the steep slopes surrounding the winery, became a benchmark that epitomized the complexity, richness and elegance of the Stags Leap District. While Shafer built its reputation on its Cabernets, the winery also produces Merlot and Syrah from estate vineyards just outside the Stags Leap District as well as Chardonnay from Carneros. Shafer’s 2008 Relentless, a blend of Syrah and Petite Syrah was selected as Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year for 2012.  Despite success and high demand for its wines, Shafer Vineyards chose to remain small enough to be manageable, capping growth at about 32,000 cases. In addition to John and Doug Shafer, that team includes Elias Fernandez, who joined in 1984 and has been winemaker since 1994. The charm of drinking a glass of Shafer wine comes from knowing that the folks who made it are so intimately acquainted with the land, the vineyards and even the individual vines. In this age of global conglomerates, it is a quality that deserves to be cherished.

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Napa Valley
Sub-Ava Stags Leap District
Winery Shafer
Vintage 2018
Color Red
Varietal(s) Cabernet Sauvignon
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 31.0
Case Size 60.0 x 35.0 x 12.5
Alcohol 15.5%
Product Code SH18HS
UPC 013528400023

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

100 points – Jeb Dunnuck; 99 points – James Suckling; 98 points – Robert Parker's Wine Advocate; 97 points – Wine Enthusiast.

The nose intoxicates with blackberry, black cherry, licorice, slate, and baking spice. The palate is powerful and expansive yet fresh and balanced, offering layers of briar fruit, red and black plums, cinnamon, and mocha with a long, radiant finish. Patience will be amply rewarded; cellaring is recommended.



Meticulous vineyard management (suckering, leafing, culling) helps ensure consistent ripening. Grapes are picked by hand, manually sorted, destemmed, and then sorted again by optical berry scanner. Different hillside vineyard blocks are fermented separately and only the best performers are "selected" for the final blend. The wine aged 32 months in 100% new French oak and a further year in bottle before release.

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