Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2006
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
This release is marked by its perfumy aromas of dark fruit that push out of the glass. The wine itself fills the mouth with opulent flavors of red and black berry fruit, licorice, spice, pepper, strawberry and plum. It's a wine that pairs so well with food, it makes me hungry just tasting it.
Wine Enthusiast - " Easily Shafer's greatest Merlot ever. Certainly its richest, with fabulously concentrated blackberry, cherry, licorice, chocolate and cinnamon spice flavors. All this is wrapped into extraordinarily sweet, refined tannins. Addictively drinkable, but not a long ager. Best now and through 2012."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "17% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7% Cabernet Franc. Heavily extracted aromas of black cherries, dark soils, hints of licorice and scads of rich oak announce this wine's serious intentions, and it continues in the mouth with deep, ripe, layered flavors whose slight tilt to ripeness is nothing more than we have seen in virtually all Shafer releases. The key, of course, is that Shafer wines have historically shown their ability to carry the style off to perfection, and, given this bottling's depth of fruit and underlying solidity, it joins the exalted ranks of its predecessors."
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com - "Inky garnet hue with a fuchsia rim. Heady blueberry and plum aromas with a secondary mineral nuance. Supple, mouth-filling black fruit laced with dusty, graphite accents. Dry, charred oak and an herbal spiciness cap the finish."
International Wine Cellar - "Very good deep ruby-red color. Medicinal black cherry, licorice and flowers on the slightly high-toned nose, along with a suggestion of cherry skin. Dense, sweet and fruity in the mouth if still a bit youthfully tight, with a slight medicinal quality to the flavors of dark berries, black cherry and licorice. Finishes smooth and long, with firm tannins. I'd give this a year before pulling the cork."
The Wine Advocate - "The red wine program includes 10,000 cases of Merlot, but that production is decreasing in favor of the other reds. The dark ruby/purple-colored 2006 Merlot (84% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Cabernet Franc) exhibits fleshy, red and black currant, bay leaf, and underbrush characteristics. Medium-bodied with sweet tannin, it should drink nicely for a decade. "
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John Shafer and his family founded Shafer Vineyards, located in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley, in 1979. From the Shafers' first wine, a 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon, their wines have won much acclaim. Today, the Shafers farm 200 acres of vineyard in the Stags Leap District, Carneros and Oak Knoll regions. Their flagship wine, Hillside Select, is produced from selected blocks of the family's hillside vineyards and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Merlot, One Point Five (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Relentless (a Syrah/Petite Sirah blend), which was named #1 wine of the year by Wine Spectator's "Top 100" of 2012. View all Shafer Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.