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Flat front label of wine
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Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1992

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • RP95
13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Enjoying the full pleasures of age in its aroma and flavor profile; balanced and structured with tannins that have reconciled with the fruit. Some amber at the edges of the glass. A smooth, seamless wine. Long finish. Showing bottle bouquet. In terms of ageability this vintage benefited from the kind of masculine tannins we didn't see again until 1999.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
At the top of this estate's qualitative hierarchy are their Cabernet Sauvignons. I extolled the virtues of the 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select prior to its release, and now that it is in the marketplace, it is as fabulous as I had hoped. It possesses an opaque dark purple color, and a profoundly complex nose of minerals, ripe cassis fruit, cedar, chocolate, and subtle herbs. Full-bodied yet silky, with layers of concentrated, highly extracted fruit, this wine is exceptionally well-balanced, beautifully pure, and already delicious. It is still an infant in terms of development, but I would not fault anybody for wanting to drink it. Anticipated maturity: now-2012. Readers may remember my previous lavish reviews of the Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignons. These wines have always been high class, but the quality level since 1991 has pushed Shafer's Hillside Select into an elite grouping of two dozen or so California Cabernet producers. There are 2,000-2,400 cases made of these rich, ageworthy Cabernets. Another of Napa's finest wineries, Shafer has taken full advantage of a succession of superlative vintages during the nineties, producing a powerful portfolio of brilliant wines. Since 1991, just about everything emerging from Shafer Vineyards has been high on buyers' lists. All things considered, Doug and John Shafer are at the top of their game.
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Shafer

Shafer Vineyards

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

DISHILLSIDE_1992 Item# 120367