2016 Firebreak Dessert Wine

In 1981, a wildfire threatened to engulf John Shafer’s house, which overlooks the winery. After successfully battling the blaze, Shafer planted grapevines on the knoll around his home, creating a natural Firebreak. Produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grown on this and other prized blocks of Shafer’s Hillside Estate Vineyards, this wine is made in the style of late-bottled vintage dessert wine from Portugal. Aged in barrel for three years, it is approachable on release and will age gracefully over the next 20 years.

“The wine’s rich color provides the first hint of the deep, lush aromas and flavors that follow, offering a banquet of warm blueberry pie, carmelized brown sugar, vanilla, concentrated berry syrup, fried plantains, damp earth, and a pleasing minerality. Ripe, structured Stags Leap District tannins provide the perfect counterbalance to the natural sweetness that comes from our hillside fruit.”
— Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez

Vintage and Production Notes

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Vineyard Location: Shafer’s Hillside Estate Vineyards


The 2016 Growing Season: Plenty of rain in winter and spring ended a series of drought years and kicked off a long, warm growing season that produced clusters of fruit with deep color, pure flavors, and enticing aromas.

Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Brix at Harvest: 25°

Cooperage: Aged in 100% once-used French oak barrels for 30 months

Alcohol: 20%

Suggested CA Retail: $95

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