A rich elegant blend originating from a rugged, sloping vineyard planted in the chaparral foothills of the Vaca Mountains. This site produces a consistently graceful wine with plenty of power. 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.
A blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Petite Sirah, the 2018 Relentless looks to be just about sensational, offering a dense purple color as well as rich, loaded notes of blackberries, currants, smoked meats, peppery spice, and violets. Reminding me of a great Cornas on steroids with its gamy, exotic character paired with beautiful richness, it has fabulous purity, ripe, polished tannins, and a great finish. This will undoubtedly be a great vintage for this cuvée, and my money is on it being one of the best yet.