Zachys/Mana tasting (Mana Contemporary (in Jersey City)): Drank next to the 1997 and I liked the skelaton on this one a bit more although both are just much too young to really drink now. Lots of fruit here - boysenberry mostly. It's spicy. Decent acidity. If we had a bottle I'd say check in again in another 10 years.
Dark inky purple in color. On the nose, hints of minerals, lead pencil, plumbs and cassis - subtle but complex nose. On the palate this is a well structured and Balanced wine. Big extracted blue fruit and still strong tannins. This wine is still fairly young and just starting to develop secondary flavors. Finish is smooth and long.
Decanted for an hour and wine improved over the next 2 hours. Very balanced; full mouth feel; nice flavors though more muted at this point; not a fruit bomb but beautiful balance between fruit and spices. Has a long way to go, in a good way.
One hour decant, was still really tight so aerated into glasses. Really good.....but, wanted and expected more for the price. Has many years of life left in it, so it may get even better over next 5-10 years. Just not sure we would go after another one on that hope.
Decanted and consumed over 4 hours, and it needed all 4. Massive wine, with a potent cassis aroma. Hints of Christmas spice and dried flower accompany. Extremely round tannin structure leads way to a stunning sweet blackberry palate. Shafer HHS has always been a favorite of mine, and a bottle of a challenging vintage like 2006, proves that they can yield amazing results even in the tough years.
I have to say that Shafer Hillside Select is one of my favorite wines. We did not decant on this night as we purchased the bottle at Hutch's in buffalo. Lighter color, nice nose of raspberry jam. Had Cherry cola and milk chocolate flavors though out. Not heavy. Lighter in body and color. The downside is We drank this right after a 2012 Caymus Special selection and the Caymus made it look silly. The Caymus was $140 and the Shafer Hillside was $345. The Caymus is so massive it made this amazing bottle of Shafer Hillside look weak and flabby. Bummer.
Outstanding bottle of wine. Lighter in color, full flavor of cherry and raspberry, milk chocolate, spices, and a 30 second finish. Much better than the last bottle we drank a few months ago. No decant. This was a pop and pour. It was outstanding.
I love the focus and black currant fruit of this wine. Heavy on the oaky size and the flavor just explodes out of the glass. I can see this wine being much more balanced as it gains time in the bottle. One of the best Shafer HSS's I've ever tasted.
Had with friends at dinner at a local restaurant. Had Kosta Browne while waiting this to open up, so we were in good company. The Hillside was in great form; opened nicely and kept evolving. Not a bad sip in the bottle. Full but beautiful balance; black fruit, a hint of cedar; tannins there but in control. What a pleasure with our meal.
Un viejo amigo bien conocido. Contenido opulenta, denso. Plenamente aromática y larga, bien larga. No es tu Cabernet de todos los días y está dando pura satisfacción en este momento. Segunda posición entre los tintos.
I must be in the minority (for a wine I typically love). It possesses all the right ingredients, possibly a flawed bottle (though cellared properly)... still young notes with astringency that didn't want to hide quite yet... the 3 hour decant might have improved with at least 6 more hours, but I'll wait another couple of years before next opening.
Wonderful bottle. Great bouquet of flowers and red fruits. Dark color. Very inky. It was not as smooth as the 2004. Although this was a great bottle of wine it needs more time. A few more years and it will be spectacular. This rating my be lower than it deserved as we drank this immediately after finishing a bottle of 2004. Quite frankly the 2004 blew it away. Though that said the 2004 had a 4 hour decant. The 2006 did not have any decant. Great bottle though. This may be an unfair review.
Dark purple color turning violet at the rim with transparent edges. The nose is deep with luscious dark fruit, vanilla and lavender. The palate is opulent with a velvety texture. Flavors of blueberry, currant, chocolate, espresso, and toasted oak form the core. The finish is long with hints of leather and spice. Remarkable concentration, purity, freshness, depth and balance. Drink now until 2026.
As others have said, Shafer is the most reliable cab I get, year in and year out. No rough edges here, well balanced and good flavors. Perhaps a little less fruit than the highest scoring Shafers, but still a class act.
Some Napa CS (Vila Viniteca - Madrid): Elegant to the bone. Profound. Thick. Candy crush. Compote of mature black fruit but with that freshness that truly allows to enjoy it. Little alcohol can be felt in my unrefined opinion. Liquor chocolate. Extreme bottle. Wood well-integrated. Balanced. Little dusty cause is eight years old only. Humid earthy. Aninal fur. Can be all nite long... Palate is enormous. Long. Delicate yet gentle. Heat is on anyway. Parkerizated? Who cares...
Elegante hasta la médula en nariz. Profunda. Gruesa. Festival de dulces. Compota madura de fríos negros pero con una frescura que permite disfrutarla de verdad. En mi opinión, se puede sentir un poco de alcohol. Bombón de licor. Una botella extrema. Madera bien integrada. Equilibrada. Un poco polvorienta por tener sólo ocho años. Tierra mojada. Pelo animal. Puedo estar toda la noche... Enorme en boca. Larga. Suave aunque elegante. De todos modos se nota el calor. ¿Parkerizada? A quién le importa...
Year in and year out one of the most consistent wines in California (my last note not withstanding ;) A bit of camphor, some cigar box, bitter chocolate. The palate is delicious with a hint of mint, currants, and a hint of citrus. A bit clipped on the finish but otherwise great.
Initially upon opening it's a bid mid-light bodied but silky texture which is nice. Oak is fairly noticeable and the fruit is just barely keeping it in check. Nose is a bit muted but dark fruit, casis, cigar box and toast are noticeable. After 4 hours in the decanter the wine is in much better balance, great red and dark red fruits, minerals, salty blue stone, rhubarb and tar. Great fresh taste that I just love and didn't expect form a HSS. Nice wine. Tannins even after 4 hours in a decanter are pretty massive but tolerable, I would wait 4-5 years.
Occasional dinner group; Bordeaux 2003 plus some extras.: Beautiful and complex bouquet with ripe dark forest fruits, chocolate and menthol. Sameimpressions on the palate. A lot of sweetness balanced by good acidity and silky soft tannin and soft bitterness. The alcohol shows a bit, but this is nevertheless a real beauty. Early maturity now and a future of at least another decade.
2006 The bottle opens to aromatic beauty followed in the mouth with a core of juicy, black fruit, chocolate, black plums, cassis, black and red cherry, black tea, and vanilla and spice. Ripe tannins put together good structure for very long term aging. Drink now – 16 years
Almost purple in color. Nose of dark chocolate, plums and dark berries. Wonderful harmony between tannins and sweetness. This wine is long, very long yet at the same time so elegant considering it has almost 15% of Alc. A true beauty...Hold at least 5 more years.
What has happened here?? A year since last bottle (third bottle one of this vintage that was), and this is my fourth. This used to show a completely different profile, being one of the best and most balanced and expressive US cabs I’ve had . Do we have a case of the infamous tunnel here, or? A bad bottle? (No signs of that, perhaps except for the touch of plastic on the nose) Well, here is the story: On the nose there is alcohol and plastic ? and liquor. The palate is much more muted and much shorter and falling off much faster than in the previous bottles I’ve had. Still has a good core of dark and deep fruit, with primarily some plums and cassis. My theory is that we have a wine in the tunnel here, and that the honey moon is over. This will however hopefully and likely come out on the other side as a fullgrown, showing it’s true colors. 90 – 91 P
Fantastic wine but needs a few hours in the decanter. Lots of great, dark fruit and excellent structure from start to finish. Didn't really get much hint of the alcohol on the nose that some others are referring to. There is a fair amount of tannin on the back end but that will integrate nicely with some time.
Decanted for two hours before tasting; at the two hour mark this was closed and backwards, with very little fruit coming forward. Four hours after decanting this still has some time to go before coming into its own. Shows good structure, dark fruit is beginning to become noticeable, but its like a pimply-faced teenager that needs more time to see if it grows into its frame. While I didn't include a community rating, I'd say its 90 now with room to grow. Won't retaste until 2016+. Hope this was an off-bottle or that I'm better impressed in the future.
Day 2 - Reserved and gassed-off 1/3 of the bottle. Day two was no different, may have been even more backward. Weird.
Very tight for about an hour. After that the nose opens up with luscious blackberries, beef, currants, mocha notes, and some savory herbs. The palate is full with strong grilled beef notes, currants and a sage like note. Some oak makes itself known but seems to mellow out in the long finish. Tannins to spare, long life ahead. It continued to improve for hours.
Another SHS that does not impress, I must not be decanting long enough or something. The tarriff for the wine is too high, I have never had an ah ha moment with this wine and I should for the price tag.
A fantastic bottle of vino that just got better and better as the night unfolded. Decanted for 2 hours to start and it evolved well for another 3 hours where sweet notes just started to surface in the midpalate. Full bodied, voluptuous, mouth coating texture, well balanced with depth and complexity. In terms of fruit, my sense is black currant, plum and dark cherry dominant, earlier in the evening tobacco, smoke and charcoal dominated the midpalate but as the night progressed just subtle hints of vanilla and dark chocolate started to surface, the finish was long lasting. This has several years to peak but is very approachable now. Mid 90s. -S
WOW! what a wine. My best Napa Cab ever. I think it will be even better with a few years in the cellar. Im so sad that I have no Hillside in my own cellar. I had the chance and missed it. Will not miss them the next time we get them to sweden.
Second time I’ve had this magnificent wine. Best US Cab I’ve tasted so far. Very nice on the nose, without the typical “overdone” California trademarks that often is the normal case with wines from this region. I brought it to the tasting and had to throw it in as a replacement to the Guigal I originally had planned, since that was corked. So it was a quick change, and the wine was to cold when first served. It came along very nice when it reach a better temperature, and opened up allot as the evening went by. Had it blind in a eight wine tasting and immediately pinned it down as the Shafer. Last time I tasted this was more than a year ago, and it has developed allot since then. Great complex nose, with mint tones and some eucalyptus, chocolate, cedar. On the palate it’s very soft and nice, with clean and rich, expensive, dark non typical over exaggerated California fruit. A very, very well made wine! Drink now, since it’s so damn good!, or keep it as I believe it will continue to develop further. This ended up as wotn, I had it as my second wine tonight (with a 96 Margaux as the winner for me).
The nose did change during the evening and at the start the wine was slightly too cold. After a while the explosion in the glas was a fact. Fruit, chocolate, some hints of mint. On the palate some hints of chocolate, eucalyptus, blackberry and cassis. The tannins are well integrated and the taste is nice and long. A really nice wine that was woted as the "Wine of the night" 3 out of 7 votes.
wow. what a bottle this was tonight. decanted 4 hours. perfect color with a nose that literally jumps from the glass. full of rich fruits and chocolate with a hint of minty. initial attack is smooth and sweet and tastes of perfectly ripe fruit. the palate really blossoms and becomes a full masterpiece loaded with a beautiful blend of dark ripe fruits, coffee, chocolate, ripe tannins, cassis and wonderful cedar. easy to hold this on the palate for minutes - never becomes hot - just lingers like the perfect blanket. seamless to the back palate and finish. then the finsih just lingers inviting you bck for more and more and more.
Had this wine along-side a 2007 Caymus Special Select and 2004 David Arthur Elevation 1147. The Shafer was the clear winner - it was awesome!! It had the big fruit and cherry nose of the Caymus together with the body and finesse of the Arthur. Needless to say, it was an awesome wine night and the Shafer made it even better.
Decanted 4 hours. Dense purple color, slightly reticent dark fruit nose. Concentrated, mouth filling dark fruit and cassis, chocolate with a touch of mocha. Big but fine structure. Balanced and integrated. Smooth transition to soft tannin and medium long finish. Delicious.
Another prodigious effort from John Shafer and Elias Fernandez. Big structured wine. Very smooth around the edges. Just enjoyable right now but has soo much potential ahead of itself. Will forget my other bottles for a few years to see how this one develops.
Gave this a 3 hour decant with some tastes along the way. I actually preferred the wine within the first hour. It's huge and rich with lot's of structure but the tannins never get in the way. Very dark black fruit with bitter chocolate, cedar and spice. Waves of power roll through the mid palate and finish. The extended air tamed the mouthfeel and some of the complexity so I would give this a little air or short decant and follow it in the glass. I've normally found the HSS to need 2-3 hrs to show it's best but this was not the case for the 06. Outstanding. Drink now or hold for years.
This is a big, structured wine that is velvety and rich. That pretty much sums it up for me. Still quite youthful but very approachable, this was a very enjoyable follow on to the '94 Harlan. We ended up having a second bottle because, well, the first one was pretty tasty and we wanted more. I normally prefer to open something different for variety, but in this case preferred more of the same. Shafer Hillside Select is to me the model of consistency, year in and year out a tremendous wine, seemingly unaffected by vintages. I am glad I have a lot of this. This has a lot of years ahead of it, but very fun to drink now.
I had it decantered for about 3 hours and wow what a velvety amazingly structured wine this is. I love the elegance of this wine and the eucalyptus tones are wonderful. Very clean fruit. There is no real sign of the sweet red fruit that a lot of american cabs can have. Thats the beauty of this. A class wine!
Pop and pour, drink over a couple of days. During the 48 hours that this bottle was opened, it was only dull, slightly harsh, too ripe, especially for a 2006, and too oaky. Where is that beautiful Shafer fruit? And don't say because it is 2006. By my palate preferences for recent Napa vintages, this should be their best wine of the decade. This is/was the last HSS for me. I do believe the modern wines are a far cry from the wines from the mid 90s and earlier.
Purple color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of smoke, roasted meat, currants, black cherries and plums. Flavors of black currants, plums, black cherries, black berries and black raspberries. Medium acidity, firm tannins, full bodied. Hold.
It was good right out of the bottle but had quite a bit of bite to it. Waited a few hours and it smoothed down a bit but never really blew me away. Still a great wine though, definitely mid 90s type of bottle. Just not that "wow this is the best thing Ive ever had" type of wine.
Gave this a one hour decant, and tasted over two more hours. Midnight black/purple in color. A little shy on the nose, but also very classy and complex with red, blue, and black fruit mingling with cream, and licorice fragrance. Has a good impact and silky texture on the palate, with the dark and complex fruit character up front. Got some pretty pronounced oak shavings on the back end, before a good, but lower impact finish for a HSS. Due to the relatively high alcohol content, I would try to serve this in the lower 60's.
A really great wine. Decanted for 2 hours before drinking with dinner with friends. Great nose, very smooth taste and a long finish. While I thoroughly enjoyed this fine Cab, I'm not sure the value is there... and I'm that glad I've now had a Shafer HSS, but for the price it is not a re-buy for me.
Great Grapes pre dinner. Opened about 3PM and tasted a few times before finishing the bottle at midnight. Upon opening, this was as black as midnight with no signs of age; very primary on the nose with notes of black fruits and licorice; full-bodied, with great concentration of fruit, a velvety texture, and long and chewy finish. After 8+ hours, the boquet blossomed, with much more complexity and even more velvet on the palate -- a great wine!
Pop and pour..initial impression: french kitchen had overpowering smells and nose on wines did not stand out tonight. beautiful brilliant colors. front and middle were on lighter side, well balanced fruit and finished with a sharp oak tannic bomb. overall very dry wine. not so balanced...a lot of wood. overweighted tannins and wood. 2005 was less dry, creamier and well balanced and more weight on palate.
hour later with food: tannins became rounder, start to finish became more balanced, slightly more full but more on high mids. still less weight and dryer than 05 with much tannins....but it's a great dry tannic feel. good long lingering finish. taste/nose became fruitier, crisp and more distinct. oak turned into a fragrant cedar...very smooth finish and a lovely addicting finish. WOTN for me.
This is probably my favourite Californian Cab. This wine never let me down. Some vintages have been absolutely glorious.So is this I think. Beautiful velvet structure with a beautiful length. This was tasted at Shafer´s.
Shafer Vineyards Seminar with Doug Shafer (Lincoln Park Binnys Tasting Room): Explosion of aromas on the nose, from spice to dark red and blackcurrant fruits. Deep dark violet and perfume. Tongue coating finish that lasts for well over a minute. Very viscous on the palate. A behemoth of a wine. Powerfult but elegant tannins. The flavors are intertwined. Deep, intense concentration of refined fruit. The wine is in its infancy, and yet, it is still an incredibly pleasing glass.
90 might be a bit conservative but in fairness I popped/poured out of a cold cellar (53ish) and the wine just seemed in a deep slumber. The wine was smooth but there was virtually no aromatics-again probably the fault of the temp but such is life.
Shafer Dinner with Doug Shafer at Murphy's, Atlanta, GA. I have to agree with Parker on this one; this wine was fabulous. We tasted through all 5 of Shafer's current release wines, and while they were all very good the Hillside Select was in a whole different class from its ripe and extracted cousins. This is the most elegant CA Cab I have ever tasted. Highly recommended.
Dark and opaque. The nose has a refined cassis and black cherry with some sweet undertones that are very nice indeed. The first thing you spot on the nose is the purity and class. This has some plush creme de cassis, Kirsch Royal, black cherry & cola. A very lilty balance with a lush under-body and velvety feel that really makes it shine. Long and precise, this is focused and full of Grandeur.
DEcanted two hours, needed more. Very big young California Cabernet. Rich dark fruit, cedar notes, some black licorice. Long, long finish. Big, heavily fruited wine that really needs some time to shine. 14.9% abv.
A visit to Shafer (Shafer Winery, Napa CA): Well sure this was too young. Ruby/purple in color, mostly opaque and bright. The nose has cassis, cherry cough syrup, slight iodine and mint notes. On the palate, this is so silky and smooth. Sweet cassis. Tightly packed layers of interest. Lots of tannins. Long finish. This is flat out delicious now, if in desperate need of air. Down the line, it will be stunning I have no doubt.
California Cab Tasting, USQ Wines; 11/10/2010-11/12/2010 (New York): Color is between ruby and purple. Nose is very pretty, with a floral and perfumey sense, as well as fruits nicely framed by unobtrusive oak. Seamless nose and palate is very balanced, and not overly spicy. Very sweet fruits with just a hint of pepper on the finish. Elegant and polished, holding its beauty in reserve rather than overpowering you with it - similar in that way to 07 Sassicaia tasted a few weeks ago. An accomplished, balanced wine that is already pleasing. 94-95.
Stylistically this is one of the most elegant and stunningly well made Napa Cabernets I've ever tried. The nose is very expressive with loads of cassic, campfire, tea leaf, licorice, and underlying graphite and wet stone. Give it some time in the glass and vegetal and floral notes (crushed violets) start to show. The palate is superbly well balanced with restrained fruit and oak for a Shafer wine (I find most of there wines to be overly extracted) and very velvety tannins, all framed by a perfectly tuned acidic grip. Dark fruit with some kirsch and licorice. Longer than average finish, but not the syrupy, confection-like sticky finish that tons of the big Napa cabs slap you with but an almost sensual caress of the tongue. Unfortunately since it lacks the concentration that other vintages show this vintage will not win many fans, but in my humble opinion, this is the best enterpretation of what a Napa Valley Cabernet should aspire to. This wine is sexy and sophisticated with curves in all the right places.
Napa Cabernet (Waterford Wine Co., Milwaukee): comes from the upper part of SLD. SE facing hillside. doug shafer has been the winemaker since 1991. on sheer pts, this outperforms all other cult napa cabs. the nose shows opulent fruit. a supreme difference in fruit quality between the 1.5 and the hillside select. palate ripeness shows as such lovely textured svelt and slutty fruit. grip and nice acid, but structure is more of an afterthought in the face of this wine. brown sugar makes a long face on a long finish.
I found this more approachable than wino_tim. Popped & poured with massive cassis and cherry and a bit of espresso. Tannins were inoffensive for such a young HSS with no decant. There was a vegetal streak that softened by day two. Even more fruit on day two. Structure keeps up with the fruit extract, fairly well balanced but definitely on the fruit forward side. I'll split hairs here and call it one of the less-strong HSS's of the 2000's to date, but it is still hands down an outstanding wine.
Backwards and unresolved, this offers a lot of depth and extract with briary currant, black cherry, grape drink, spice, and new barrel flavors. Silky, round, full bodied and frankly sexy on the palate, showing immense concentration. This needs time. 90-94
I was blown away by the 2005 back in May but the same thing happened here last year. We hit this table first and it just did not get enough air on top of the fact that it is just too young to drink. Needs 3 or 4 years in the bottle. Has a lot of great fruit and structure but those tannins need to round into form. Would need at least an 8 hour decant right now.