A rich elegant blend originating from a rugged, sloping vineyard planted in the chaparral foothills of the Vaca Mountains. This site produces a consistently rich and elegant wine. It has a tenacious backbone of Syrah dominated flavors with blueberry, smoke and char aromas leading to an opulent palate of bramble fruit, black pepper, and bacon. It certainly lives up to its name.
“Year in year out, [Shafer] is one of the superstar wineries, not only in Napa Valley and all of California, but in the entire world...Today, this is a winery that does everything about as perfect as can be. They have kept their feet, heads and egos grounded, and continue to kick proverbial ass with every vintage.” – Parker In 1972 John Shafer departed his 23 year career in publishing and moved to the Napa Valley to pursue a second career in wine. Fortuitously, he found a 210 acre parcel in the Stags Leap District and set up shop. His first task at hand was that of replanting the vineyards, some of which dated back to the 1920s. The Shafer family crushed their first Cabernet in 1978 and began building their winery the next year. Needless to say, that first release became not only a benchmark but a legend in its own right. Eventually they expanded their beautiful hillside acreage and in 1983, John's son, Doug Shafer, became winemaker after graduating from U.C. Davis with a degree in enology and viticulture. Since then, Doug has stepped up to becoming the company's president and has passed the winemaking reins over to Elias Fernandez. From their somewhat modest beginnings, Shafer has blossomed into a world-class estate that is nationally and internationally renowned.
While I don't think the 2017 Relentless will match the 2018, it's nevertheless a beautiful Syrah that offers lots of smoky dark berry fruits, barbecue notes, spice, and meaty nuances in a rich, pure, nicely textured, medium to full-bodied package. It's going to evolve gracefully for a solid 10-12 years.VN91
The freakish vintage notwithstanding, the 2017 Relentless retains its personality. Rich, ample and exotically ripe, the 2017 builds effortlessly in the glass, with superb textural richness and fabulous balance. It is one of the more convincing 2017s I tasted at Shafer this fall. Best of all, the 2017 should drink well upon release, as it is already quite harmonious.WA92
Composed of 86% Syrah and 14% Petite Sirah, the 2017 Relentless has a deep garnet-purple color and fragrant notes of cracked black pepper, licorice and violets over a core of plum preserves, Black Forest cake and mulberries plus an earthy waft of tar. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has lovely purity and freshness, featuring ripe, rounded tannins and lots of pepper and spice layers, finishing refreshingly savory.WE92
This is a burly, muscular yet sophisticated wine, showing complex characteristics of black pepper, clove and garrigue. Woody oak underscores a robust palate of black plum, game and savory herb, with a velvety texture throughout. It’s a blend of 86% Syrah and 14% Petite Sirah.