Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet
at The Post House, NYC (3/14/2005)

Photos are here.

Bill Lawrence organized this mass tasting of Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet though the Mark Squires Wine BB. His very special guest was Doug Shafer who sat at Table 1 and brought a bottle of 2001 HSS for each of the six tables! Doug was a great pleasure to talk with. His enthusiasm and charm are really exceptional. And his passion for making outstanding wines is quite evident. He even said that 1995 was the first vintage in which they knew what they were doing, which is amazing considering the quality of earlier vintages.

The Post House (28 East 63rd Street between Madison and Park Aves. Closed c. 2015) did a good job with this large group. The steaks were very large and very good.

Below are my notes and scores on the wines I tasted.


1988 Drappier Champagne
Lovely yeasty Mulchy nose. Very flavorful. Apple on the finish. Still young, tart and tasty.

1982 Dom Perignon
[brought by me] Yeasty huge complex nose. Crisp complex. Apples, tasty. Still young, but a little disappointing. 92 points David Wainwright loved it.

1978 HSS (nose only)
Quite classic, earthy. Wish I could taste it!


1990 HSS
Muted earthy red fruit nose. Gorgeous in the mouth. Completely ready now. Wow! A touch of mint. Just gorgeous! 95 points.

1991 HSS
Tight nose. Very tannic, tightly wound with super-ripe fruit. Drink 2012-2025. Needs a lot of time. Too backward now, even with steak. Great potential. 95-98 points.
Open 2 days: Still dark and backward. Amy says it's sour. This may never be great. 93-?

1992 HSS
A little sour. Disappointing. Bad bottle? 88 points.


1993 HSS
Nice mint cassis nose. A touch sour, but balanced and tasty. Lovely. 92 points.
Open 2 days: Sweet, tasty, ready now. A yummy wine. 93 points.

1994 HSS
[Brought by me. Decanted at noon.] Wow! The real deal! Expansive, fabulous, exquisite! Has black fruits that the others don't. 97 points

1995 HSS
More tannic than the 94 but forward and tasty. Quite drinkable now with steak. Silky fruit. 95 points.
Open 2 days: This the wow! That sweet, fragrant, pure fruit, cassis nose. Thick sweet ripe balanced. A great Cali cab! WOTV? Maybe! 96-98 points.


1996 HSS
Classic Napa black fruit nose. Gorgeous fruit up front, tannic on the finish. Needs time but great! 96-98 points.

1997 HSS
Extravagantly rich. Incredible depth of rich fruit. 98-100 points. WOTN for me!

1998 HSS
Good, but not after the 97. 91 points.


1999 HSS
Really tannic. Steak doesn't help here. Very promising. 93-95 points.

2001 HSS
Barrel-sample-like black fruit nose. So young, super ripe sweet barrel sample. Great length. Another winner! Thick with chocolate. Wow, what a wine! 96-98 points.


1986 Rieussec
Complex spicy nose. Smoky mellow lovely. 92 points.

1988 Rieussec
Still youthful. Medium body. Complex and spicy 90 points.

2001 Rieussec
Mammoth botrytis on the nose. Thick, rich, sweet. Exquisite and expansive. Wow! An orgasmic wine. 99-100. Gotta get me some of this!

2001 Shafer Port Stags Leap District
Hot but nice. 88 points.

1977 Grahams Vintage Port
Tasty but sharp and spicy. 92 points.



All original content © Ken Vastola