2013 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • Stags Leap District

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Community Tasting Note

  • csimm1161 wrote: 94 points

    February 7, 2018 - 3-Day Napa Cab Taste-Off: Vice Versa, B Cellars, Memento Mori, Alpha Omega, Purlieu, Janzen, Realm, Myriad, MACDONALD, Maybach, and more...; 2/7/2018-2/9/2018 (Napa): Classic meets modern. Tight and coiled-up, like a snake ready to strike. Pretty massive overall, but also displaying an intriguing sophistication that draws one back for another sip. Needs air! Lots and lots of air! Specific notes of black and red currant, black cherry, black (and some red Kauai) rock, tobacco leaf, and asphalt.

    Currently, this wine is painfully backward, needing 7-10 years before it is even worth having the conversation. Clearly this is the flagship wine of the house, but this pissed-off bear needs to hibernate for a while before it should come back out into the world. 94+ points for now, with the stuffing to make a convincing argument for some upside after 2025.

    7 people found this helpful 7,021 views


  • TXRDW commented:

    2/17/18, 5:03 PM - Great note CSIMM. It’s been my experience that HSS needs to be put down for a while, even more so for this vintage. I’m glad you took one for the team, so now I’m not quite as tempted to open one of my three bottles that have been like sirens calling out my name.

  • Cabernet4me2 commented:

    2/17/18, 9:25 PM - Thanks CS... any educated guess where u think this might end up score-wise in the ‘decade’ slumber??

  • rustyRudy commented:

    2/18/18, 7:56 AM - Into killing babies this weekend ;) ?
    Appreciate the note and heads up! I will keep mine laying quietly in the cellar and not be tempted to open anytime soon.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    2/18/18, 9:00 AM - Definitely hold for a while. This thing is built to last. Unfortunately I have no real historical experience with HSS, so it would be a total uneducated guess as to where it might go. Given the vintage and what I know about how this wine is constructed, I’d say it could top out in the mid-upper 90’s (96-ish?)...but it seriously needs 7-10+ years to get there. I don’t know if this will be a “perfect” wine for me. The pros seem to put it in the 98 point arena. I’m cautiously optimistic on this wine, but emphasis on “cautiously” for the moment. The showing it had for me wasn’t enough to make me run out and buy a case of it, but it did shed some light on the interesting vision and intention of the winemaker in crafting this classic animal. I think those who have holdings of this wine will be pleased... Patience, patience, patience is the key in my humble opinion.

  • Yack Man commented:

    3/9/18, 10:24 AM - Nice accurate note, I agree 100% - I didn't give the 2013 a score, but you couldn't have nailed it any better. Typically, I don't favor this type of wine (other than Alpha Omega), but I won't be trying this vintage any time soon.

  • Jonathan T commented:

    3/11/18, 12:25 PM - Great note! I have been on the HSS mailing list since the 2002 vintage and they’re my favorite place to tour+tasting in Napa. But, every time I’ve gone, the new release HSS they pour is always painfully tight shut, and frankly, not that enjoyable. Even though they always decant it in the morning prior to the visit. Within the first couple years of release is always too young. After about 10 years from vintage date, it’s the greatest Cabernet in Napa to me!

  • csimm1161 commented:

    3/12/18, 8:21 AM - Hi Jonathan. I certainly wish I had the historical experience to know how this wine behaves over time, but it sounds like a decade+ of cellaring has produced some pretty notable juice in past vintages. I know a lot of folks such as yourself have some great insight into this iconic wine. I hope to have the opportunity in the future to try earlier years to better gauge what will become of this particular wine. The HSS definitely does not seem to be one of those wines that shows you too much of what’s under the hood when it’s young.

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    10/17/18, 10:20 PM - We tasted in March (4 of us) and not one of us bought a single bottle from the lineup- never happens. Either Shafer changed through the years or we all have.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    10/18/18, 9:57 AM - Unfortunately I don't have a worthy historical knowledge of the HSS personally to compare it to much of their previous vintages. I know this sample just wasn't enough to compel me to get overly excited about it at the time.

  • Cabernet4me2 commented:

    10/18/18, 10:17 AM - Been getting the various posts on the thread, and though id put in my $0.02. I only have a few recent releases of HSS, resting comfortably, but have been very lucky to have some very gracious - sharing friends that go deep with HSS, and totally agree with JT.

    Would say in my top five wines of all time 3 have been HSS, but all were 15+ years from the bottling. The 2002 being maybe the best of the best.

    Bummed by the time i realized that I should have been collecting the earlier years of HSS (in my younger years), picking them up now... well maybe my grand kids will be enjoying them and saying the same thing!!

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