2011 Shafer HSS offer

I just received my offer - has anyone tasted the 2011 at the winery? Any greenie meanies resulting from the 2011 vintage?

Who’s in?

If anyone is going to make a great wine in 2011 it will be Shafer. That being said, I’m only buying one bottle to stay on the list this time around.

What’s the release price?

$250/750ml, same as last year …

I’ll definitely buy a few bottles to stay on the list, but I’m getting old enough to wonder about how many 20-30 year wines I really need …

The price for the 2011 stayed the same as the 2010. I will buy a few bottles. Always do. Most are too young for me to drink. Didn’t start buying until 2000 but they will go to my youngest daughter who has cultivated a pretty good palate at a young age.

Any notes?

I’m honestly kind of surprised that they kept the price the same. I would have thought when your '11 wine is bookended by 100pt wines in '10 and '12, you might have a little trouble selling the 95pt '11. Not that it isn’t a great wine for the vintage, but even Dominus lowered their price on their '11. I guess Dominus didn’t want a glut sitting out there, but then with Shafer, they do have good market penetration.

My only problem is that now with many '13’s being released and '12’s in good supply, that buying their '11 is going to be a tough sell at $250/bottle.

I bought my allocation but I’m guessing that, being a slightly younger vintage, I may drink this before I’m fully gray. Shafer remains one of my favorite Cali cabs even though my palate has shifted to Burgundy and Barolo the last few years. They always do a fantastic job and I want to keep my vertical going for at least 10 more vintages. Pass on the Harlan (and related bottles).

Does anyone else get the feeling that Shafer is going to be left with a lot of unsold '11 HSS?

Not that Shafer makes anything other than excellent wines. They are truly one of my favorites, but this is about perception and economics. The '11 Vintage is just not that highly regarded, although there really are some great wines out there, and that is something that many wineries are having to work against.

The fact that Shafer releases as late as they do should have worked to their advantage. They should have seen how many wineries had a problem with selling their '11 and they could have used this to their advantage. Again, I use Dominus as a prime example with how they actually lowered their price on the '11 then raised it right back up on their '12.

Thoughts anyone?

FWIW- When I tasted the '11 side by side with the '10 & '12, I preferred it. It was more refined, elegant and aromatic. Not a huge, rich, dense wine, but I prefer more elegance.


I agree with you, I actually find many '11s to me much more approachable than '10s or '12s at the moment. Which can be a great thing. I too think the '11 HSS is a good wine, but will others think the same? Many who buy $250 wines are looking for the best, and have the luxury of buying from the vintages they choose, especially with a wine like Shafer that is readily available at retail.

I passed on this wine. Weak vintage and too pricey for a sub-par year. I’ve consumed a good amount of 2011 Napa cab over the past year and can tell a noticeable difference, even with top winemakers. I may jump back in for 2012 and 2013, but boy these are expensive. I bet prices jump next year.

If they open up a wave 2 for this 2011 For those of us on the wait list, with a three bottle minimum, they will sell out.

This will bring everybodys 2012 allocation down a few bottles though.

I doubt that very much. Doug Shafer is a very bright guy and while I don’t have any inside information, it’s probably safe to assume that they bottled less of the 2011 than normal so they’ll have less wine to sell. With their very loyal mailing list, a healthy waiting list and their well-established restaurant and retail accounts all across the country, the wine will move.

{Full disclosure: I love Shafer wines, I sell Shafer wines, and I’ll be stocking the 2011 Hillside]

Great color! I love Shafer as well. I just thought their approach to the '11 vintage to be interesting. I would also suppose that there will be a price increase coming with the '12 vintage. What do you think?

With 3 news-worthy vintages in a row coming up? It sure seems likely to me.

Does anybody know if i go to the winery for a tasting event, which i actually am, and purchase three bottles, will i get added to the list?


I know that while you can buy the HSS in person (which I have done on many occassions when I have visited), no matter how many bottles you purchase, they do not factor that into their waiting list or mailing list. So you can’t get onto the list by buying HSS in person.

Hope that helps!


I have no reservations about buying the '11. I believe that a great producer, or one you personally enjoy, will still make a good wine in a difficult vintage. Perhaps it will mature earlier than great vintages, but that is not always a bad thing. FWIW, this was my note from last May:

2011 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District (5/8/2014)
Tasting at Shafer (Shafer Vineyards): Sampled from tank as the wine is scheduled to be bottled the week of May 12th. Deep inky crimson color with aromas of cassis, black cherry, vanilla and incense. Develops floral and blue fruit qualities with air. Tannins are firm but very fine and not obtrusive. There’s plenty of fruit for the structure this wine has. Balanced and dare I say even elegant for being so young. Another terrific wine from Elias and his team. (97 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Top estates produce solid wine in virtually every vintage, and I have no reason to doubt Shafer HSS in 2011. This may be the only $200+ California Cabernet worth the price. I don’t buy this but I’ve had it, and it is indeed a cut above. My friend has the 2010 and I’ll be present for that!