Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The aromas of blackberry, black cherry and spice combine power and perfume while the wine fills the mouth with a rich abundance of cassis, blackberry, toasty vanilla, mocha, herbs, and a seamless integration of soft, ripe Stags Leap District tannins. Expansive and juicy in the mouth with flavors that remain long after the glass is empty.
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The Wine Advocate - "One of the great so-called “first growths” of Napa is Shafer’s 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from their Stags Leap vineyard known as Hillside Select. This has been one of the top dozen or so wines in every vintage for over 15 years. A big wine at 14.9% alcohol, it is aged an atypically long time of 32 months in 100% new French oak, but at ten years of age, no oak is present. It is an utterly perfect wine, surpassing almost everything else made in 2003! It possesses everything one could desire in a Cabernet Sauvignon – minerality, flowers, creme de cassis, blackberries, velvety tannins, a skyscraper texture, perfect balance and integration between the acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood, all well-concealed by the luxurious nature of this great wine. The finish is endless in this prodigious offering from a great family of grape growers and winemakers. It proves the point that good guys can finish first. This 2003 should continue to drink well for 25-30 years. "
Wine Enthusiast - "Solidly in the Hillside Select model, this vigorous young Cab is dramatically ripe and powerful. The flavors of red and black currants, milk chocolate, figs and smoky vanilla erupt in the mouth, making the tastebuds jump with joy. However, there is also the structure, among the greatest in California Cabs. The acidity is fine, but the tannins are stupendously rich, sweet and complex, practically a food group in themselves."
Wine Spectator - "A big, rich, bold and expansive style, with tiers of dense currant, mineral, earth, black cherry, anise and cedary oak flavors that are intense and concentrated, with the tannins showing a raw edge. Young and rambunctious. Needs lots of air or a little time in the cellar."
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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 granted 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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