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 Vintage1997 Label 1 of 74 
ProducerShafer (web)
VarietyCabernet Sauvignon
DesignationHillside Select
SubRegionNapa Valley
AppellationStags Leap District

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2004 and 2025 (based on 33 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 95.9 pts. and median of 96 pts. in 111 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by aquacongas on 4/11/2015 & rated 97 points: Side by side with 1995, Blind tasting
Below the line the same rating but completely different wines. The 1997 is a typical Cal Cab from this vintage. Fullbodied, mighty with a lot of power. Fruit is still dominant, a lot of wood, but perfectly integrated alcohol, ripe and fine-grained tannins. A lively acidity, for me it will stay at this level for many years for I'M not sure it will improve. This is the difference to 1995.

1995 is elegant and not typical Cal. Many thought it could be a Bordeaux from a warmer year. The fruit is still present but more reluctant. In the foreground are cigarbox, oriental spices, mint (like Mouton and not Eukalytus like Martha's Vineyard) and pencil. 97 but with potential to 99.

Both wines are young with a very long finish and a lot of years ahead. Great wines but I would prefer the vintage 2001 Hillside select. (701 views)
 Tasted by soyhead on 1/23/2015: nose - brandy-esque smoked orange
mouth - complex bitter red fruit, raspberry, bitter cherry, very complex, licorice, great wine! (1253 views)
 Tasted by ledwards on 12/20/2014 & rated 100 points: It may be the finest wine I have ever had. Other top wines may have a bit more upfront but this is the most well-rounded and proportioned wine I have had. I simply was in awe and couldn't put the glass down. Tasted in in a lineup of a dozen highly rated, cult wines and this far outclasses them. Simply perfect. (1592 views)
 Tasted by Barbaro on 5/24/2014 & rated 96 points: Decanted for 1 hour. The wine continued to open up and evolve with more air. Lots of blue and black fruit on the nose and palate. Still has lots of power and intensity. Hint of wood on the finish which faded with time in the glass and decanter. Absolutely beautiful wine and could probably get even better with more time. (3229 views)
 Tasted by William Kelley on 5/8/2014: Shafer's 1997 Hillside Select is a magisterial wine of epic proportions, and by some margin my favorite example of this cuvée. Seriously endowed with fine-grained tannins, it needs some time in the decanter to open up, but when it does the aromatic display of blueberry, blackberry, spring flowers and woodsmoke is magical. On the palate this wine is undeniably massive, but the savory tannins give a more classical, mineral character to the wine than one finds in, say, the more super-ripe 2002 or 2007 vintages here. The 1997 Hillside is aging very gracefully indeed, without any trace of over-ripeness or heat, and may even be a few years away from its profound best. But it is a reference point for California Cabernet, and certainly one of the wines of the vintage. (3352 views)
 Tasted by AtoZ on 2/14/2014 & rated 94 points: Delicious. Needed a decant to integrate the wood. Still most primary. (3443 views)
 Tasted by slywka7 on 1/11/2014 & rated 100 points: Wine Dinner at Collyer Catering In Westport, CT. (Collyer Catering): Was very excited to try this and it did not disappoint. Aromas of dried cherry, dusty berry, clove and blackberry on the nose. As the wine sat in the glass the nose continued to evolve. The palate revealed flavors of blackberry, red currant, dried cherry, touch of pepper, earth and mineral. Did not taste like a 17 year old wine because it was still very fresh and must have been impeccably stored. This wine had no hard edges, was incredibly balanced and had a finish that approached a minute. Simply an unbelievable wine. (3576 views)
 Tasted by shaferguy91 on 11/17/2013 & rated 95 points: Decanted 1.5 hours. (3480 views)
 Tasted by Charlie Carnes on 8/24/2013 & rated 80 points: Obviously I am in the minority here based on all of the super high CT scores, but I just think this is a large scaled, overrated, over made, alcoholic, hot mess... that the rest of the world loves, including my wife. Well, she likes it just fine and compares it to Jordan et. al. I just found it heavy and cloddish and the coconut-vanilla-oak was too overpowering and covered the fruit. This is 1997? I could pass for a large scaled 2009 Cali. Cab. Also, I got that eucalyptus oil astringency that comes from wines like this. I have had this at 55 degrees since release and it is not an off bottle. Julie just read this and said she would rather have had the 2008 Jordan and that this was like a large scaled 2009 which is similar to my impressions. (3188 views)
 Tasted by Wine_lvr on 7/1/2013 flawed bottle: Shafer Hillside Select Vertical Tasting (Switzerland): Big disappointment. The 1997 was flawed! Behind the TCA there is a blockbuster wine. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to try this wine (3734 views)
 Tasted by TeamFlynn on 5/11/2013 & rated 97 points: decanted 3.5 hours at room temperature. tasted throughout and found that 3.5 was about right. wonderful "pop" this wine has for being 16 years old. very lively with good balance. acidity was perfect. very enjoyable experience. (3100 views)
 Tasted by levinml on 5/11/2013 & rated 98 points: Drank with Jeff and Nancy at Celina Tio's restaurant, Julian. This is why Shafer Hillside is my favorite wine in the world. Lots of everything, but in perfect balance and nothing over the top or exotic. Flavors are easy to enjoy, but long. Someone earlier commented this lacks secondary notes and I think that is accurate. But the primaries are so awesome who cares. Love this stuff. (3314 views)
 Tasted by Lord Rayas on 3/4/2013 & rated 95 points: MNSC - Kevin (Cepage): lush and velvety, vanilla, toffee. excellent showing. (3807 views)
 Tasted by shaferguy91 on 2/25/2013 & rated 98 points: Decanted 2 hours. (2813 views)
 Tasted by MDV on 2/12/2013 & rated 98 points: Decanted 3 hours at room temp.
Deep dark purple hue, young in appearance.
At first some youth on the nose, very strident boysenberry nose.
Well endowed, with huge gobs of intense fat fruit, boysenberry, powerful yet soft creamy blackberry, leather, slight graphite/lead pencil, with mocha hints, smidgeon of mint. Not showing too much on the secondary components but doubt that it ever will, as it’s all fruit pretty much.
Silky in texture, meticulously constructed and ready for consumption.
Nigh on perfect Napa cab. If CA cab is your thing, this surely hits it out the park, a masterpiece. Now thru 2035 (2568 views)
 Tasted by JOwzer on 12/2/2012 & rated 98 points: Purchased upon release. Wine was served straight from a cold cellar without any decanting. This wine is in a great space right now. If tasted blind, I would have thought the profile would indicate a much younger wine. Alcohol was a bit of a concern of mine for this wine in its infancy, but time has done wonders and allowed it to integrate well (though there is still very slight heat to the finish). Pronounced nose of dark cherries, sweet oak, graphite & asian spices. Definitely new world. IMHO it has hit its peak and can't imagine this getting any better. (2611 views)
 Tasted by aegerter on 6/25/2012 & rated 93 points: Everything is there, but relavite to my expectations I found it a bit underwhelming, maybe still in a closed phase, but the fruit is hidden and the complexity still owerpowered by the tannins.

Certainly very lovely, but this should be an example of mature Napa at it's finest and that it was not. (3938 views)
 Tasted by terroiristblog on 4/18/2012 & rated 94 points: Epic Wine Dinner at Bourbon Steak (Washington DC): A dense Napa Cab -- full of tart blackberries, blackcurrant jam, plums, blueberry pie, dark chocolate, and lead, with sweet herbs, and loam underneath. Quite nice. (4320 views)
 Tasted by dcwino on 12/21/2011 & rated 96 points: The 97 Cult cab/Meritage dinner at RIS in DC: Blackberries and blueberries, crèmes de cassis, coffee beans, coconut and cedar. Another impressive wine with exceptional concentration but for me a hint of alcohol at the back end. My guess Colgin.

RP 99, ST 95, CT 95.9 average, CT 95.9 Median 96 (5184 views)
 Tasted by Jeff Leve on 11/29/2011 & rated 99 points: From 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this could be the best non cult Cabernet made in America. With stunning levels of concentrated, sweet, ripe, jammy, polished fruit, velvet textures, chocolate, blueberry, smoke, vanilla, boysenberry, blackberry jam, truffle and cherry, this intense wine coats your mouth in flavor and intensity. The finish seems endless. What a treat! This is probably my favorite vintage of this stunning wine yet produced. (6098 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 9/22/2011 & rated 98 points: Drank with Steve the evening before AHG event. This wine is still very young but showing extremely well. Immense and monolithic right out of the bottle (no decanter at the restaurant). Over a three hour period it opened up beautifully. Amazing purity and balance with layers of ripe black fruits and secondary hints of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, and cassis. Sixty second plus finish still lingering the next day in our minds. What an amazing wine! If you have a few bottles pop one now because life is short! (4652 views)
 Tasted by keithgg on 9/21/2011: I gave this 98 points in 2007- my, how my taste has changed! Way too ripe and alcoholic for my palate these days. (4455 views)
 Tasted by Richard Jennings on 9/17/2011 & rated 94 points: Great California Chardonnay and Cabernet: From 1965 to Present (Le Bordeaux Restaurant, San Francisco, California): Opaque red violet color; lovely, blackberry, ripe cassis, black fruit nose; tasty, rich, blackberry, black currant, black fruit palate; still needs 3-plus years; long finish (4556 views)
 Tasted by shaferguy91 on 4/3/2011: NO rating . It was definitely good but I have a horrible cold and I could not really taste it well. It was a waste on me. Decanted 2 hours. (5243 views)
 Tasted by tarheel17 on 1/21/2011: STG End of Year (Roy's): tasted blind
apparently, I was the only person bothered by the touch of VA on this wine. I found it medicinal on the nose, with some disjointed type of midpalate. It seemed a very different beast than the 2002 tasted next to it. anyway, no real notes, except it came in last of the flight. (5922 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Jancis Robinson, MW
JancisRobinson.com (6/2/2003)
(Shafer, Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Red) Subscribe to see review text.
By Jancis Robinson, MW
JancisRobinson.com (3/12/2002)
(Shafer, Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Red) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 2001, IWC Issue #96
(Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 2000, IWC Issue #90
(Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 1999, IWC Issue #84
(Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 1998, IWC Issue #78
(Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (9/17/2011)
(Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select) Opaque red violet color; lovely, blackberry, ripe cassis, black fruit nose; tasty, rich, blackberry, black currant, black fruit palate; still needs 3-plus years; long finish  94 points
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (6/5/2004)
(Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select) Big, ripe red currant, licorice, blackberry and vanilla nose; big cassis, blackberry, vanilla oak palate, with firm tannins; long finish  94 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of JancisRobinson.com and Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

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Producer website
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.

Cabernet Sauvignon



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