Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
We wish we had more of this one in our cellar. It's gorgeous. Deep color with soft tannins and luscious fruit typical of our hillside vineyards. Aromatics offer a blend of currants, vanilla and mineral in the mouth and a long finish. This was our first vintage to perform berry selection in the vineyard ensuring that the fruit we harvested was the best of the vintage. That work shows here.
Wine Enthusiast - "An absolute joy, and a very great success for this vintage, which produced so many disappointing Cabernets. Unusually dark. Begins closed, but swirling brings out cassis and loads of smoky oak. Dense and lush, it's incredibly long on flavor, with fabulous intensity. The reputation of this collector's wine is undiminished. Cellar Selection."
The Wine Advocate - "The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a candidate for wine of the vintage. It continues to gain weight, and is better each time I retaste it. Its opaque purple color is accompanied by gorgeous aromas of graphite, vanilla, black currant liqueur, and minerals. This rich, full-bodied Cabernet offers sweet tannin, a layered texture, and a finish that lasts for 45-50 seconds. It is a splendid accomplishment in a difficult vintage."
Wine Spectator - "Rich and enticingly earthy, with layers of dried currant, blackberry, anise, mineral and mocha flavors that are pure and focused, complex and long. Ends with chewy tannins. The best of two bottles tasted."
International Wine Cellar - "Medium ruby. Black cherry and red licorice on the nose; largely avoids the herbal aspect shown by this winery other 1998 reds. Very intense flavors of black cherry, licorice and mint, but still tightly wound, even a bit clenched, and unevolved for a '98. Very long, firm finish hints at mint and exotic Indian spices.
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John Shafer and his family founded Shafer Vineyards, located in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley, in 1979. From the Shafers' first wine, a 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon, their wines have won much acclaim. Today, the Shafers farm 200 acres of vineyard in the Stags Leap District, Carneros and Oak Knoll regions. Their flagship wine, Hillside Select, is produced from selected blocks of the family's hillside vineyards and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Merlot, One Point Five (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Relentless (a Syrah/Petite Sirah blend), which was named #1 wine of the year by Wine Spectator's "Top 100" of 2012. View all Shafer Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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