Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon is primarily made from estate fruit coming from the hilly vineyard blocks near the winery, in the Stags Leap District AVA, and a much flatter estate vineyard, Borderline. It lies about 2 miles away, still in the AVA but near the southern boundary. The 2014 Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon includes 3% Merlot, 1% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot and aged for 20 months in 100% new French oak barrels from Allier and Troncais.
Shafer Vineyards is one of Napa Valley’s best-known Cabernet houses and among the gems born from the rugged, volcanic terrain of the Stags Leap District. John Shafer began planting Cabernet Sauvignon vines there in 1973. But the area has a long history and was one of the first in the valley with vines. The land that is now Shafer’s estate first bore grapes in the 1880’s.
The first release of a Shafer wine came in 1981, a 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon made by John himself. Doug Shafer, now president but equipped with a degree in enology and viticulture from UC Davis, took on the winemaking in 1983. in Since 1994, the wines have been made by Elias Fernandez, also a UC Davis grad, who joined as assistant winemaker fresh from college in 1984. Doug Shafer wrote an excellent book, A Vineyard in Napa, about moving to Napa Valley in the early 1970’s at 17, the amazing evolution of the region and real stories about running a winery.
Shafer Vineyards’ most-recognized wine is Shafer Hillside Select, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the craggy slopes of the estate. In addition to that and the Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, a blend of Syrah and Petite Syrah called Relentless and Chardonnay from Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch Vineyard in Carneros.
2014 Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Napa Valley 93 15.3% 750ml $90
Its inky purple-black color foreshadows the intensity of this wine’s dark, attractive scents and flavors. Over-flowing aromas of earthy spice, black plum, leather and tarragon set up the palate of juicy, jammy black fruit, sweet herb, oak, rare beef and ferrous minerality. It’s very full-bodied in the mouth and packed with flavor, yet disciplined. That structural backbone comes from thick, velvety tannins: fine, very soft and persistent.
The 2014 Shafer One Point Five is a vinous bear hug—simultaneously powerful, dense, approachable and comforting. It will age well, but decanting isn’t necessary. Enjoy now through 2030.
Copyright Fred Swan 2017. Photo courtesy of Shafer Vineyards. All rights reserved.