The 2015 vintage was released last fall and like with each vintage, it comes from 100% of Shafer's hillside estate vineyards including the vineyard blocks Sunspot, John's Upper Seven, Venado Ilegal and Firebreak. " The 2015 gave us smaller berries packed with an immensity of pure, opulent aromas and flavors. This rich, polished hillside Cabernet Sauvignon overflows with briary black fruit, juicy black cherry, racy dried cranberry, black licorice, and freshly cracked pepper with elegant touches of cedar, baking spice, and wet stone. The finish is generous and persistent, while the tannins are ripe and integrated offering both a pleasurable experience now and the kind of structure that promises even more beauty with time.” — Elias Fernandez, winemaker.
Sheer rock walls tower along the easternboundary of Shafer’s hillside estate vineyards, reflecting the warming rays of the afternoon sun and channeling cool breezes off the bay. These are the Stags Leap palisades from which this small appellation takes its name. They create a craggy amphitheater that is home to Shafer Vineyards and stand as a silent testament to the eons-old history of the place. On this remote site Cabernet Sauvignon vines prod their roots through thin, volcanic soil before hitting weathered bedrock below. Thanks to scant nutrients and soil moisture the yields are meager; the berries at harvest time are small, about the size of blueberries. They’re dark and intensely flavored. Shafer’s property has been the site of vineyard cultivation since the 1880s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when John Shafer came to Napa Valley looking for a hillside site, that vines were planted on these rock-choked slopes.