Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2011
Chardonnay from Carneros, California
The cooler vintage has produced lively, elegant aromas and flavors of kiwi, pineapple, lime, papaya, apricot and citrus zest on an underlying richness of caramelized fruit tart and creme brulee. The abundance of exotic fruit gives way to a long, delicious mouth-coating finish that lingers on and on.
Tasting Panel - "Nectar of the Napa Valley Chardonnay gods .. it drips with a lemon oil and yet unfolds with an amazing show of acidity. Maple on stone, biscuit on bone, it's a puzzle of lean and lush. "
International Wine Cellar - "Bright yellow. Cool, almost Chablis-like aromas of lime, white pepper, nettles, mint and menthol, plus a savory whiff of chicken broth. Dense and intensely flavored, with superb acidity and penetrating minerality giving this wine an amazingly racy quality for its 14.8% alcohol. The long, rising finish features terrific lingering spice character. My favorite chardonnay to date from Shafer, this beauty offers a great combination of weight and intensity."
Wine Enthusiast - "A huge Chardonnay, so full-bodied and rich, it’s almost like a red wine, but that’s the Red Shoulder personality. With flavors of buttercream, jammy tropical fruit, orange custard, vanilla, buttered toast and brown sugar, it would be over the top, except for vibrant acidity and a deep minerality."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2011 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch has a similar aromatic and flavor profile as the 2010 with more textural richness and oiliness because of the presence of botrytis in this vintage. I have to say, the 2011 is highly intriguing. It will be interesting to see where the wine goes over the coming years.
Wine Spectator - "Offers complex, Muscat-like scents, with a trim mix of green apple and pear. Shows impressive balance and subtle integration of the smoky oak."
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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 CarnerosView a map of Carneros wineries
Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Notable FactsBoth Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
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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1 rating, 1 with reviewWilfred Wong (of Wine.com) - San Francisco, CA57/7/2014
Unquestionably, one of California's very best Chardonnays! The 2011 Shafer delivers green apples an mineral in spades; long and crisp on the palate, with a tremendous al dente bite on the palate. This is a grown-up wine. 94 Points Wilfred Wong
- Rich & Creamy
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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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
- 5 Stars: