ertParker.com #216 Dec 2014 Robert M. Parker, Jr. RATED 91 Drink: 2014 – 2022 The first wine of a new era, the 1989 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is the finest produced since the debut vintage in 1978. It still reveals a deep ruby/plum/garnet color to the rim as well as notes of graphite, cedarwood, blackcurrants and forest floor. Medium-bodied with excellent richness, soft tannins and an authoritative finish, it was a revelation in a vintage I generally do not find appealing. Shafer Hillside Estate Vineyard consists of 54 acres all on steep, amphitheater-like, rocky outcroppings and knolls. It receives the full benefit of southeasterly sunlight, and enjoys the afternoon breezes that blow up from the San Francisco Bay channel. An unusual geographic feature, this vineyard is basically a box canyon. The top soil is virtually non-existent as the bed roots that go into the white tofu volcanic soil base rarely extend more than 18 inches before hitting bedrock. This no doubt is a significant reason for the intense flavors achieved by the Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, and why it is able to spend 32 months in 100% new French oak without a woody taste. Add to Print List Wine Advocate #99 Jun 1995 Robert M. Parker, Jr. 90 Drink: 2000 – 2020 This has turned out to be one of the finest wines from this austere, tough-textured vintage. Although it exhibits some hard tannin in the finish, it is not excessive. This is a youthful, subdued, impressively-endowed wine with a multi-layered, cassis fruitiness, good spice, excellent purity (a characteristic of all the Shafer Hillside Select Cabernets), and fine balance and length. While it will remain a narrowly-constructed wine, it is not light or insubstantial. This is an authoritatively-flavored, rich, structured California Cabernet Sauvignon that should hit its peak by the end of the century and last for another 20 years. A sleeper!
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