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Community Tasting Notes (58) Avg Score: 95.0 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.

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  • Requires some decanting for sure. Brittle cork but wine was set healthy and singing. Big wine from colour to nose to palate. Has the signature rich dark fruit core of a 90s Napa Cab. A touch too much at times but we would forgive this little excess to an otherwise beautiful wine. Still very fruit dominated and shows very few signs of any secondary character. Bold and big . A solid 94-95 and with quite a few more years of life here. Very good now and maybe at its peak. (Andreas 94 / Nicol 95)

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  • Ugghh! Corked bottle. So sad saving to close out the year tonight and then discovering this highly rated bottle was corked.

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  • Probably the best wine this year. Incredible depth and texture. A true pleasure, drink em if ya got em!

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  • Birthday Celebration (Del Frisco - Chicago IL): Brief note. Tasted alongside its 96 counterpart, both fun, but in completely different ways. This is elegantly styled and well structured with overall good balance. This should age gracefully.

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  • By Stephen Tanzer
    May/June 1999, IWC Issue #84, (See more on Vinous...)

    (Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District) Subscribe to see review text.
  • By Stephen Tanzer
    May/June 1998, IWC Issue #78, (See more on Vinous...)

    (Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District) Subscribe to see review text.

  • By Richard Jennings
    9/17/2011, (See more on

    (Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select) Very dark red violet color; corked nose; corked, tart plum palate; medium finish
  • By Richard Jennings
    3/11/2010, (See more on 93 points

    (Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select) Opaque red violet color; plush cassis, black fruit, menthol nose; youthful, berry, ripe cassis, black fruit, menthol palate; long finish 93+ pts.
  • By Richard Jennings
    8/29/2008, (See more on 94 points

    (Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select) Herbal, bay leaf and tart plum nose; nice, poised, plum and black fruit palate; medium-plus finish

Vintage Tastings

  • By John Kapon
    Cali Cabs Then and Somewhat Now plus Top 100 Weekend Teaser, 4/10/2005 94+ points

    (Shafer .Hillside Select) The second wine had a smoky, cedary nose with lots of pine and forest action. The nose was both mild and intense at the same time, penetrating like a needle in one.s jugular. There were also leather, earth, tobacco, cedar and herbs emerging. Its chocolate and black fruits also entered stage right, but in a secondary, supporting way, as did a bit of wild grass. The palate was sturdy and long with nice cedar flavors and length. The flavors were fresh in a good grassy kind of way, and this wine was my favorite of the first five

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