Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon "Hillside Select" 2012 (Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California) - [RP 100] [JS 98] [WS 96] [VM 95] [ST 94+]

Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon "Hillside Select" 2012
(Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California) - [RP 100] [JS 98] [WS 96] [VM 95] [ST 94+]


Regular price $850.00 Sale price $489.98 Save $360.02
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RP100 JS98 WS96 VM95 ST94+
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About this wine:

Shafer Vineyards is an iconic family-owned winery, named one of the top 25 vineyards in the world by wine publication Wine & Spirits and “one of the world’s greatest wineries” by wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr.

Since 1978 the Shafer family has produced wine in the Stags Leap District, one of the most highly-regarded winegrowing regions within Napa Valley. Shafer’s wines, including its signature wine, Hillside Select, are found in collectors’ cellars and on wine lists in top hotels and restaurants throughout the world.

The small winery is managed by Doug Shafer, son of winery founders John and Bett Shafer. Elias Fernandez is winemaker. 

Hillside Select is sourced from a collection of 14 small vineyard blocks planted within an eons-old amphitheater-like structure of rock and volcanic soil that surrounds the winery. Thanks to scant soil nutrients and moisture, yields at harvest are meager and the berries are small, about the size of blueberries. This Stags Leap District site’s combination of rugged, arid soil and climate results in lush Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with dark color and intense, classic flavor.

2012 Growing Season:
This was a classic Napa Valley vintage filled with warm, sunny days and perfect, chilly nights from spring through early autumn. The consistency of heat and coolness created a model growing season in which we harvested fruit at ideal ripeness brimming with rich color and flavor.

Vineyard Location: 100% Shafer's Hillside Estate Vineyards in Stags Leap District including the vineyard blocks Sunspot, John's Folly, Venado Ilegal and Firebreak

Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Brix at Harvest: 24.0° - 26.0°
Alcohol: 15.5%
Cooperage: 32 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels (Allier and Tronais)

Tasting Notes

Energetic aromas of juicy, dark fruit and white flowers are completed by complex, youthful core-flavors of blackberry, cassis, and black cherry along with delicate herbs, graphite, and smoke. The wine is smooth and balanced as it moves through the mouth. The texture is seamless and light on its feet with classic Stags Leap District tannins that are ripe and ready for aging. There’s a lot of lush, vivid pleasure in the bottle now with more to come with a few years in a good cellar.

Food Pairing: Grilled or roast lamb, duck, beef and game; dishes featuring roasted red peppers or carmelized onions; seasonings of basil, mint or rosemary; aged, full-flavor cheeses

Ratings & Reviews

100 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"Shafer's flagship wine, and one of the world's greatest Cabernet Sauvignons, is the Hillside Select, which comes from the rocky, volcanic soils on hillsides above the winery. Vineyard production is small, and the wine an incredible example of Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in 100% new oak for 32 months and bottled unfiltered, this can generally be expected to be one of the top dozen or so Cabernet Sauvignons in virtually any vintage in Napa, and certainly possesses 25 to possibly 50 years of aging potential. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a perfect wine. It elicits more than a few 'wows' when you smell the incredible notes of charcoal, graphite and subtle toast, buttressed and dominated by blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry fruit. The purity of these fruits, the multidimensional mouthfeel, the seamless integration of acid, alcohol, tannin and wood are all flawless. The 2012 signature adds an extravagant opulence and density that is just mind-boggling, and the wine is a total hedonistic and intellectual turn-on already, although it has 30+ years of life ahead of it.

There are very few wineries in California where you can say that the original wine owners and winemaking staff are totally intact and have been, in this case, since 1978. The estate was founded by John Shafer and run with great precision by himself and more recently by his son Doug and Elias Fernandez. The team has been working together for 38 years since the first vintage in 1978. Six years earlier in 1972, John Shafer bought the property and established the vineyard in the hillsides of Stags Leap. They produce about 30,000 cases of wine - all of it noteworthy. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is true first-growth quality and their Rhone Ranger wine made from Syrah and Petite Sirah, called Relentless, is about as profound as you can get from those varietals." - Robert M. Parker, Jr. (Oct 2016)

98 Points - James Suckling:
"A wine with incredible finesse and elegance. Blackberry, blueberry, mineral, violet and lavender aromas. Wet earth floor and stone. Full body, very fine tannins and fabulous freshness. The length and polish is truly exceptional. The hint of austerity makes it irresistible. A joy to drink. But has a great future ahead of it." (January 2016)

96 Points - Wine Spectator:
Amazing from first sip to last, remarkably complex, layered and textured, smooth and supple, with a seductive creamy mocha oak presence to the long, expansive aftertaste, where the flavors cascade on top of one another and excite with anise and cedar. Drink now through 2032. 2,400 cases made.“ - JL (Nov 2016)

95 Points - Vinous Media:
"A total hedonistic turn-on, the 2012 has developed beautifully since I tasted it last year. The 2012 is not especially subtle. Instead it bursts from the glass with intense raciness and voluptuousness. Dark red cherry, pomegranate, spice and new leather flesh out on the opulent finish. Hints of torrefaction, mocha and French oak are evident and suggest the 2012 doesn't quite have the density or richness of the very best years. In exchange, though, the 2012 will drink well with minimal cellaring and is not likely to shut down." - Antonio Galloni (October 2015)

94+ Points - Stephen Tanzer:
"(15.5% alcohol): Bright red-ruby. Very sexy aromas of black cherry, cassis, mocha and spices, plus a whiff of caramel. Wonderfully fleshy, inviting and sweet, boasting highly concentrated flavors of currant, licorice and narcissus. For all its early mid-palate creaminess, this is quite powerful and youthful, and yet its full, ripe tannins are perfectly supported by its intense dark fruit flavors and impression of extract." - Stephen Tanzer (Jul 2016)