The Shafer Story
Shafer Vineyards, like a number of other Napa Valley vineyards and wineries, was started by an individual who left a successful career and ventured into the wine business. John Shafer, founder of Shafer Vineyards, is such an individual. In 1972 he left a 23-year career in the publishing business in Chicago to pursue a second career in the wine business…after reading a Bank of America Investor’s Report about the bright future in the California wine industry. In 1978 the first Cabernet was produced and the rest is history. Since the beginning Shafer Vineyards has achieved cult status in the world of wine. Their Hillside Select Cabernet is an especially sought after wine.
Today the family operation continues to make highly ranked wines under the watchful eyes of John and his son Doug Shafer, and long-time winemaker Elias Fernandez. For more on this vineyard and winery you can visit their website at www.shafervineyards.com.
If you are interested in purchasing Shafer wines, you can sign up for their mailing list while you are on their website. Shipping to Indiana can be tricky and expensive if you need to use a third-party shipper. You’ll need to check out what states they ship to and make the necessary arrangements before signing up for the mailing list. If you need help on this drop me an email and I’ll share my third-party shippers (DDC Shipping’s) contact information. It will increase you shipping costs by about $50.00 a case. Not good but at least you’ll be able to get the wine.
In today’s post, I am reporting on Shafer’s 2004 Relentless blended Syrah. This vintage is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petite Syrah that spent 32 months in 100% new French Oak barrels before bottling.
If you like Syrahs as I do, this one was pretty good. The original ratings on this wine were not very high. Robert Parker rated it at 91 points back in 2008. Wine Spectator Magazine gave it an 87-point rating. Stephen Tanzer was at 90 points while Wine-Searcher.com’s average was 90 points.
This was one of the types of wines that improved with age. It will never make the top of the rating scale, but is a nice, pleasant wine to drink. If you like Syrahs you will like this one.
As usual, I decanted this wine and strained it as I was pouring it into my decanter. I let sit for about half an hour. The wine was a ruby/purple color in the glass. On the nose, the wine had aromas of black fruit and hints of vanilla, and maybe a little pepper. On the palate, I could taste the fruit and liked the hints of blackberries and cherries. This is still a full-bodied wine with sweet balanced tannins and a silky mouth feel. The finish has some light pepper and is of a nice length, perhaps 10-15 seconds.
Shafer made 2,000 cases of this wine. Wine-Searcher.com has the average price at about $73.00 a bottle with a range of $67.00 to $80.00 per bottle. They also list five different wine shops around the U.S. that you can purchase the wine from. I recommend Shafer wines, however they can be a little pricey. They most likely fall into the category of “Special Occasion Wines” because of their pricing.
Shafer Vineyards does host tastings and tours of the winery. If you are in Napa Valley and want to visit the winery, you will need to call ahead as tastings are by appointment only and there is a cost of $55.00 per person. That might sound a little steep but you do get to taste a lot of wines and you’ll have a great time at the winery. The number for Shafer Vineyards is 707.944.2877.
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Until next week,
Upcoming ToutSuite Social Club Programs:
Below are the upcoming programs you might be interested in viewing on our wine country media partners site at http://www.toutsuite.com. ToutSuite programs are always informative and interesting.
October 16, Sake Drinker with Morimoto Beverage Manager Eduardo Dingler. Event starts at 8:30 pm EST
October 19, Simple Confident Cooking with Anna: Stews. Event starts at 10:30 p.m. EST
November 19, Renwood Winery Live with Winemaker Joe Shebl. Event starts at 4 p.m. EST