Profile: John Shafer founded his namesake winery in 1972, nearly two decades before Napa Valley hit the big time. His son, Doug, became winemaker in 1983, although he worked the vineyards since the winery's beginnings. Today Doug acts as the winery's president with the winemaking team led by Elias Fernandez. Shafer is considered one of California's leading wineries, producing Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Chardonnay and the acclaimed Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon.
Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon Varietal/Style: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: Napa Valley, CA Vintage: 2006 Winemaker: Elias Fernandez Rating:16.5/20 Retail Price: $215
While it's always a good idea to cellar wine for a bit to give all of its components a chance to meld together and express themselves, the Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon can age for much longer. It is aged for three years in the barrel and another year in the bottle before release, so you can experience its vivacity and complexity immediately. Longtime Shafer Vineyards winemaker Elias Fernandez pulls another winner with the 2006 Hillside Select. Its fragrant nose bursts with black fruit, smoke and pepper aromas that continue long on the palate. Sturdy tannins provide depth and structure.