2003 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select
Cabernet Sauvignon - 750ML
  • WE 96
  • WA 95
  • IWC 93
  • WS 93
  • JR 93
  • W&S 93
  • CG 92

$279.94

This product is
out of stock

$279.94

This product is
out of stock

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WE 96
Wine Enthusiast, March 2008
Solidly in the Hillside Select model, this vigorous young Cab is dramatically ripe and powerful. The flavors of red and black currants, milk chocolate, figs and smoky vanilla erupt in the mouth, making the tastebuds jump... Solidly in the Hillside Select model, this vigorous young Cab is dramatically ripe and powerful. The flavors of red and black currants, milk chocolate, figs and smoky vanilla erupt in the mouth, making the tastebuds jump with joy. However, there is also the structure, among the greatest in California Cabs. The acidity is fine, but the tannins are stupendously rich, sweet and complex, practically a food group in themselves. Stunning and gorgeous now in its youth, this collectible wine will reward at least through 2015.
WA 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, December 2014
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... 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. - Robert M. Parker, Jr.
IWC 93
Stephen Tanzer's IWC, May 2007
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... 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.
WS 93
Wine Spectator, January 2013
Big and expressive, with intense notes of dark berry fruit, cedar, crushed rock and loamy earth, gaining depth, velocity and texture. Impressive on the finish, where the flavors taper and weave into the tannins. Best to... Big and expressive, with intense notes of dark berry fruit, cedar, crushed rock and loamy earth, gaining depth, velocity and texture. Impressive on the finish, where the flavors taper and weave into the tannins. Best to drink this soon.—2003 California Cabernet blind retrospective (July 2013). Drink now through 2024. – JL
JR 93
Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages, June 2008
18/20 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... 18/20 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)
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits, December 2007
Elias Fernandez produces a powerful, 100 percent cabernet sauvignon from the hillside blocks John Shafer planted in the 1970s. The 2003 vintage is about as potent as they come, its austere, mineral structure managing to... Elias Fernandez produces a powerful, 100 percent cabernet sauvignon from the hillside blocks John Shafer planted in the 1970s. The 2003 vintage is about as potent as they come, its austere, mineral structure managing to hold all the richness of tannin and crushed berry fruit. Layers of flavor begin to take shape with air, from chocolate cake to blackberries and a hint of strawberry-a complex impression that lasts. Hillside Select will reward cellaring for ten years or more.
CG 92
Connoisseur's Guide, December 2007
Our highest rated Cabernet Sauvignon of the last ten years, Shafer Hillside Select outpoints the 2003 vintage with a wine that has all the depth, size and focus we have learned to expect. Its outgoing black-cherry fruit... Our highest rated Cabernet Sauvignon of the last ten years, Shafer Hillside Select outpoints the 2003 vintage with a wine that has all the depth, size and focus we have learned to expect. Its outgoing black-cherry fruit scents gain complexity from notes of boysenberry, loam, cola and caramel, and there is not much hidden or brooding about it. Full and fleshy at entry, then plush, viscous yet balanced and full of energy across the palate, the wine has proven that it can age despite its size and forward flavors. It has the tannins to last for ten years or more but will invite drinking in half that time.
Color & Type Red
Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region North Coast
Vintage 2003

Winery

Shafer Vineyards

Shafer Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery located in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley. It was founded in 1972 by John Shafer who left a 23-year career in the publishing industry to pursue a second career in wine. After purchasing a 210-acre estate, the family faced the arduous task of replanting the existing vineyards which dated back to the 1920s.

Evolving from grape growers to vintners, the Shafers crushed their first Cabernet grapes in 1978 and began construction on their winery a year later. The first Shafer Cabernet became a benchmark, winning the acclaimed San Francisco Vintners Club taste-off upon release and, over a decade later taking first place in an international blind tasting held in Germany, where it outranked such wines as Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau Palmer.

Doug Shafer became winemaker in 1983 after graduating from the University of California at Davis with a degree in enology and viticulture. A year later, Elias Fernandez joined the winery as assistant winemaker. Together Doug and Elias have worked closely to forge the Shafer style of quality, consistency and elegance.

New vineyards have been added over the years, with acreage acquired in the Oak Knoll, Stags Leap and Carneros districts, bringing the total Shafer vineyard acreage to over 200 acres. Winery facilities have been expanded and extensive caves carved into the hillside for aging wine.

In 1994, Elias was appointed winemaker, and Doug took over the reins as president when John became chairman of the board.