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Shafer Hillside Select Bottle

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2009 Hillside Select® Cabernet Sauvignon

Release date: September 1, 2013
Suggested California retail: $240

“… one of the New World’s most profound Cabernet Sauvignons …” – Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

“Shafer, of course, has been one of Napa’s most reliable wineries, routinely producing great wines, chief among them its Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet from Stags Leap.” – James Laube, Wine Spectator

We are thrilled to offer 2009 Hillside Select, a 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from our rugged hillside vineyards in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. This release offers classic richness, youthful elegance and texture. The wine introduces itself with alluring, perfumy aromatics followed by flavors of blackberry, cassis, black cherry, dark chocolate, smoke, peppery spice and a touch of vanilla. The tannins are ripe and refined, holding out great promise for decades of cellar age.

Truly a "wine of a place," this Cabernet Sauvignon exemplifies the extraordinary richness and suppleness consistently produced in our little valley within a valley in the heart of Stags Leap District.

Hillside Select is aged a full four years prior to release (three years in Alliers and Tronçais oak barrels and 15 months in the bottle). While enjoyable today, this wine will gain richness and maturity with up to 20 years of careful cellaring.


Growing season
The summer of 2009 was cool, long and mild. To keep the grapes on track for ideal ripeness we pruned away more fruit more fruit than in most years. As the vintage moved closer to harvest, daytime temperatures rose into the 90s while nighttime temperatures dropped dramatically. This see-saw of heat and cold kept sugar levels climbing at a steady pace, while holding acidity in the fruit, creating at ideal balance.

Winemaker’s Notes
“The long cool vintage has endowed this wine with inky, midnight color, perfumy aromas and elegant flavors of black fruit that are rich and juicy down to the core, with enticing layers of cocoa, black tea, spice, subtle toast and the kind of mouthfeel you only get with ripe, silky Stags Leap District tannins. A pleasing overall balance keeps the elements together giving the wine a delicious sense of completeness.”
– Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez

Related Links
2009 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon Fact Sheet
2013 Current Releases
The Hillside Select® Story
Shafer Brochure
Hillside Select Brochure
Finding Our Wines
Robert M. Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate,
October 2013

Hillside Select – A Complete Video Collection

Parker and Galloni revisit 2002 Hillside Select
Hillside Select – History and Pedigree
John Shafer gives an overview of what it took to create his family winery and produce his first Cabernet Sauvignon. That first Shafer wine, sourced from his first hillside vines, set the tone for today’s Hillside Select.

Parker and Galloni revisit 2002 Hillside Select
Hillside Select in the Vineyard
Doug Shafer and Elias Fernandez go in depth on the specific techniques we
use to begin making Hillside Select in the vineyard.
Part 1: Pruning, planting cover crop, trellising
Part 2: Fruit thinning, leafing, berry selection
Part 3: Tasting, testing, harvesting

Hillside Select in the Cellar
Hillside Select in the Cellar
Doug Shafer and Elias Fernandez discuss the continuation of the winemaking process as the work moves into the cellar after harvest.
Part 1: Sorting, destemming, crushing
Part 2: Fermenting, pressing, barrel aging


Show all VintagesHillside Select® Tasting Notes

  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998
  • 1997
  • 1996
  • 1995
  • 1994
  • 1993
  • 1992
  • 1991
  • 1990
  • 1989
  • 1988
  • 1987
  • 1986
  • 1985
  • 1984
  • 1983
2009 The long cool vintage has endowed this wine with inky, midnight color, perfumy aromas and elegant flavors of black fruit that’s rich and juicy down to the core, with enticing layers of cocoa, black tea, spice, subtle toast and the kind of mouthfeel you only get with ripe, silky Stags Leap District tannins. A pleasing overall balance keeps the elements together giving the wine a delicious sense of completeness.” Drink now – 20 years.
2008Perfumy aromatic elegance leads to rich, focused flavors of blackberry, black cherry, dark chocolate, cola, cassis, juicy black and red cherry, black tea, with spice and warm toast. Ripe, silken tannins result in a pleasing, lengthy finish, smooth texture, and a refined structure which offers the potential for very long term aging. Drink now – 18/20 years.
2007 Our 25th vintage of Hillside Select offers aromatic elegance and classic Stags Leap District flavors of black fruit, mocha, black plums, cassis, juicy black and red cherry, black tea, with spice and warm toast. Ripe, silken tannins result in a pleasing, lengthy finish, smooth texture, and a refined structure which offers the potential for very long term aging. Drink now – 18 years.
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
2005 From a year of abundant fruit we selected only the best-of-the-best from our small vineyard blocks. Enticing aromas of blackberry and cassis followed by flavors of black cherry, currant, cassis liqueur, black plum, dark chocolate, spice and tobacco. The juiciness of these flavors comes in a knitting of ripe, round tannins. Drink now – 16/18 years
2004 This Hillside Select offers a striking balance of dark, lush fruit with the elegance of nearly a decade of age. These are the enduring aromas and flavors of our hillside grapes –blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate, juicy black cherry, black pepper integrated nicely with oak, char and vanilla all tied up in a bow of silky, firm, easy-to-enjoy tannin. Drink now – 15 years
2003 The aromas of blackberry, black cherry and spice combine lushness and perfume while the wine fills the mouth with a rich cassis, blackberry, toasty vanilla, mocha, herbs, and a seamless integration of soft, ripe Stags Leap District tannins. Expansive and juicy in the mouth with flavors that remain long after the glass is empty. Drink now – 13 years
2002 This Hillside Select is classic Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon from a justly celebrated Napa Valley vintage. The movement from nose to mouth to supple tannin to lengthy finish is harmonious, offering a round, expansive, silky liquid feast of black cherry, rich plum, black fruit, cassis, and dark chocolate shot through with toasty vanilla, blueberry, and cedar. Drink now – 15 years
2001 From a legendary vintage this Hillside Select offers aromatic, elegant black berry, currant, black cherry, cola, and cassis; rich, stylish dark fruit flavors, with a balanced seasoning of minerals, smoke, vanilla, tobacco, and herbs; a core of sweetness is the prelude to a long finish of chocolate and spice surrounded by the classic silky tannins of the Stags Leap District. Drink now – 10/11 years
2000 Shows a pleasing range of aromatics — black fruit, pepper, mineral, sweet-spicy vanilla and dense purple-midnight color. Beginning to show age characteristics of cedar and tea. A core of sweetness and supple, mature tannins from our small-berried hillside fruit spread a rounded, rich feel in the mouth and a lengthy finish. Drink now – 4/5 years
1999 Still offers aromatic brightness and in the mouth plenty of raspberry, blackberry, cola and a richness of fruit; showing more mature notes of tobacco, herbs and minerals and a core of sweetness. This generously proportioned wine offers a long, lingering after taste. Drink now – 8 years
1998 We wish we had more of this one in our cellar. It’s lovely. Deep color at the core of the glass with soft tannins and luscious fruit typical of our hillside vineyards. Aromatics offer a blend of currants, vanilla and mineral in the mouth and a long finish. This was our first vintage to perform berry selection in the vineyard ensuring that the fruit we harvested was the best of the vintage. That work shows here. Drink now – 4/5 years
1997 After an extended youth, this Hillside Select is moving past primary fruit with elegant characteristics of cedar, tea and tobacco. It continues to offer rich mouthfeel, dark color, with flavors of chocolate and black fruit. A long finish of mocha, vanilla and spice is tied up with the classic tannins of the Stags Leap District. Drink now – 10 years
1996 With more herbs, cedar and tea than its ’97 sibling, this one offers alluring aromatics and elegantly balanced fruit flavors. In the glass you’ll find deep color with a ring of brick at the edge, as well as a silky texture and maturing fruit, showing elements of black currant and dark spice with a long finish. Drink now - 3/4 years
1995 Shows richness, composure and lovely, dark-fruit complexity. Powerful, elegant and composed, with velvety brick color and maturing Cabernet flavors. Rich with great depth of flavor and a lingering finish. Drink now – 4 years
1994 From one of the watershed years where a great vintage and winemaking experience came together. Showing delicate, complex layers of tea, cedar, tobacco and leather. This is bottle bouquet in a delicious phase. Drink now – 3/4 years
1993 A very complete wine in a more subtle way than 1994; this one almost seems like it belongs in a line-up of our Hillside Selects from the late 1980s. Showing mature color with a brick-red rim; oak toast, plums and nice earth/mineral notes in the nose. Refined fruit that has pleasing depth and finesse. Drink now
1992 Enjoying the full pleasures of age in its aroma and flavor profile; balanced and structured with tannins that have reconciled with the fruit. Amber at the edges of the glass. A smooth, seamless wine. Long finish. Showing bottle bouquet. Drink now
1991 Deep color in the center of the glass with red/orange at the edges, dense flavors, juicy fruit, great length, and richness. Complexities are still developing. Drink now
1990 Beautiful color with flavors and aromas of  tea, herbs, spice, blackberries, cedar and developing mushroom. Mature and balanced with a silky texture and pleasing finish. Drink now
1989 A complete, complex wine. Mature Cabernet aromas that lead to herbal, tea and cedar flavors and soft tannins. Still sweet with nice length. Drink now
1988 Medium dark color, floral notes in the nose. Medium bodied, mature Cabernet flavors and moderate tannins.       Drink now
1987 Mature, herbal aromas. Complex Cabernet Sauvignon flavors balanced by soft tannins. Drink now
1986 Developed aromas of earth and mature fruit. Complex bottle bouquet. Drink now
1985 Mature color with restrained, mature medium/full-bodied flavors. Still some vibrancy and liveliness. Drink now
1984 From a warm vintage this Hillside Select is still showing sweetness (not dried out) with nice color, herbal aromas. The only year that wasn’t 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (7% Cabernet Franc added). Medium body, mature flavors. Drink now
1983 Fully mature color and aromas. Nice acidity complements mature flavors and resolved tannins. Drink now

2009 Hillside Select® Reviews

“… deep, racy and layered from the very first taste. A large-scaled, sumptuous wine, the 2009 impresses for its exceptional balance and pure pedigree. There is plenty of flesh here, but also more than enough tannin to help balance some of the wine’s more overt tendencies. A dazzling, utterly vivid finish rounds things out in style. This large-scaled, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon should be at its finest between the ages of 10 and 30.”
Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate (Dec. 2012)

“This is clearly one of the greatest Shafer Hillside Selects ever. It shows incredibly concentrated blackberry, dark chocolate and ripe cassis flavors, wrapped into impeccably rich tannins. Made from 100% Cabernet, it’s a superb example of Hillside. Tasted from the same bottle a day later, the wine was even richer and more satisfying, which is a solid indicator of ageworthiness.”
— Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast

“As always a decidedly extravagant wine … powerful stuff that is marvelously deep in near-juicy fruit, and it is lavishly appointed with lovely oak, but for all of its largesse, it is solidly built with the structure to age for years. We have seen how its fully ripe predecessors have flourished with time, and we have no doubt that this one will do the same.”
Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine

“Another classic, tight, pure and dense, with vivid blackberry, raspberry, mocha, anise and crushed rock.”
— James Laube, Wine Spectator

“ … very attractive, intense, cassis and blackberry fruit aroma that developed depth and some complexity with airing in the glass; full body; big, rich, concentrated, textured, mouth-filling, cassis and dried herbs; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Firmly structured and showing distinctive varietal character … very highly recommended.”
— California Grapevine


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