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  • 2003 Shafer - Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select

2003 Shafer - Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select

UNITED STATES / CALIFORNIA / NAPA
abv 14.9%
  • 95 WA
  • 93 WS
  • 93 IWC
  • 90 JR
  • Variety
    Cabernet Sauvignon
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SKU: 59032-2003-750-3A
  • International Wine Cellar | Rating: 93

    (bottled in the spring of 2006) Medium ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, currant, cocoa powder, cedar, graphite, violet, licorice and sweet oak. Lush and very sweet but with lively mint and naphtha notes lifting the flavors of black cherry, dark berries and dark chocolate. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins and acids and yet this wine should give early pleasure. I find a wider range of ripeness here than in the supernal 2002.
    Author: Stephen Tanzer
    Issue: May/June 2007
  • Wine Spectator | Rating: 93

    A big, rich, bold and expansive style, with tiers of dense currant, mineral, earth, black cherry, anise and cedary oak flavors that are intense and concentrated, with the tannins showing a raw edge. Young and rambunctious. Needs lots of air or a little time in the cellar. 2,200 cases made.
    Author: James Laube
  • Wine Advocate | Rating: 95

    The 2003 is a singular style of wine, but by no means wimpy or undernourished. The 2003 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has a dense, purple color, notes of creosote, graphite, blackberry and cassis fruit, charcoal and scorched earth. It has a full-bodied mouthfeel and excellent purity, while some rather noticeable tannins kick in on the finish. This wine seems to be moving from adolescence to that early mature stage, where I would expect it to hold for at least another 10-15 or more years. Clearly not one of the superstars in what was a rather astonishing qualitative lineup, but it's outrageously good Cabernet Sauvignon, and I expect myself, as well as any of my readers, would drink this 24/7.
    Author: Robert Parker
  • Rating: 18

    The style - powerful, ultra-rich and hedonistic - is not for everyone, yet it agrees with many American palates. It's a fine example of how a big, ripe wine can remain surprisingly balanced for all its opulence. Aromas of forest floor, cedar, cassis and black cherry lead to a palate awash in ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit. Tannins are velvet-soft, yet background toast and brisk acidity keep the wine remarkably fresh. At 14.9 per cent alcohol, there is very little heat. (LM)$200
    Author: Linda Murphy
    Issue: 06/23/2008
  • Self | Rating: 95

    Drink Dates: (06-31)
    Author: winefolio
  • Self | Rating: 92

    Author: jt27
  • Self | Rating: 95

    Author: WineStorm
  • Self | Rating:

    Drink Dates: 2007-2037
    Author: Tallydoc
  • Self | Rating: 94

    Deeply hued with thick, lightly colored legs. A quite rich but restrained nose of chocolate brownies and cherry liqueur. Acidity is high and jarring at this stage of the wine?s evolution. Regardless, the wine still has strong flavors and big, velvety tannin. Flavors echo the nose. A bit simple for a barrel sample of HSS. Extremely doubtful that this 2003 will ever scale the heights set by the great HSS.
    Author: Daniel B
  • Self | Rating: 91

    Drink slowly...this wine changes with every glass. Be patient early.
    Author: BoxsterVino
  • Self | Rating: 100

    Early
    Author: marv
  • Self | Rating: 97

    Great finish, legs for days. Needs a ton of decant time before it starts opening up.
    Author: G
  • Self | Rating: 92

    Retail purchase at release. Massive, closed and impenetrable, so into the decanter it went for 3+ hours. So dark it even obscured the candle! Deep, port-like, very rich, powerful. Has it moved since bottling? 14.9%... a wine to overwhelm and dominate. Drink now or hold 10 years and see whether it ever moves. Huge cab!
    Drink Dates: 2013-2025
    Author: Miguel L
  • Self | Rating: 98

    This wine is perfectly in balance right now. I would say the window is this year for harmony in this wine but should last 15 plus years. The nose brings out rich chocolate and sweet jammy flavors. Tannins are not even noticeable when it hits the palate. Some chocolate, mixed with fuits and leather, and a hint of cigar tobacco. Truly a profound wine
    Author: Raymond Joe
John Shafer began working and replanting steep, rocky vineyards in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District in 1972, and has since built Shafer into one of the most sought-after labels from Napa. John, his son Doug, and winemaker Elias Fernandez call themselves farmers, and are proud of it. Doug took over the vineyards in 1989, and within a year began to integrate organic techniques into his vineyards while the term "organic" still elicited sideways looks. "My soils were getting tired," Doug says. "They had been farmed since 1922." He installed solar panels in 2004, and now enjoys watching his batteries send power back to the grid. Elias was hired by Shafer in 1984 and named winemaker in 1994. Shafer Hillside Select is a benchmark wine of the Stag's Leap District, with a string of awards too long to list. Aged a full four years prior to release, it is, in the words of Robert Parker, "One of the world's, as well as Napa's, most profound Cabernet Sauvignons."

Click here to listen to GrapeRadio's podcast about Shafer (Show #93, 32:01 min 15 MB)

California is the heartland of wine production in the US, and the state that brought prestige to American wine thanks to the pioneers who built early wineries like Staglin, Beringer, Ridge, Mayacamas and Chateau Montelena in the 1800s. Its large geographic area ensures a great diversity in growing sites, varieties grown, and quality levels. Generalizations about the state's wines have numerous exceptions; however, a few key facts generally hold true—ample sunshine, dry weather during the growing season, and moderate winters prevail. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon continue to dominate the state's production—albeit in continually smaller percentages, as growers continue to diversify. More than 100 different varieties can be found throughout the state.

Collector Data For This Wine

  • 2349 bottles owned
  • 468 collectors
  • Average collector rating: 95
    (Out of 468 collectors)