Celebrating 30 years of consistent quality and both critical and commercial success, this family run winery remains one of the most admirable operations in California. The Shafers have had tremendous success with their Relentless, which was first released in 1999. A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah that spends 32 months in 100% new French oak, it is a remarkably consistent offering that rarely displays much oak. The Syrah is from Napa’s cool-climate Oak Knoll sector. One of the world’s most prodigious Cabernet Sauvignons is Shafer’s 2,000-case cuvee called Hillside Select. Always 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new French oak for a whopping 32 months, it boasts a gorgeous track record dating back to the early nineties, and just about every recent vintage has flirted with perfection."
Shafer Relentless 2005
Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
A blend of 78% Syrah and 22% Petite Syrah.
The flavors and aromas are immense, round, mouthfilling and long-lived with a luscious blend of rich blackberry, black plums, meatiness from the Syrah and a dose of blueberry from the Petite Sirah. The tannins are ripe and long-lived, with a lengthy, pleasing finish.
A heavyweight like Relentless complements similar concentrated flavors found in dishes such as Syrah-braised short ribs, smoked lamb with Relentless reduction, roast duck, as well as beef and game.
The Wine Advocate - "The sensational 2005 Relentless boasts an opaque purple color along with a wonderfully sweet nose of blackberries, creosote, acacia flowers, and hints of pepper and meat in the background. Full-bodied and densely concentrated with the oak component well-concealed by the wine’s extravagant richness, this gorgeous 2005 can be drunk now or cellared for 10 years.
Wine Spectator - "Brimming with spicy, zesty wild berry, pepper, mineral and fresh earth flavors presented in a tight, focused, concentrated manner. Finishes with firm tannins and good length. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Drink now through 2012."
International Wine Cellar - "Good medium ruby. Cooler, vibrant aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cocoa powder and violet, along with a meaty nuance. Suave and rather high-pitched, with a silky texture but also a firm acid spine to the flavors of black fruits, bitter chocolate and menthol. Structured, juicy wine. Winemaker Fernandez adds the petite sirah "to give color, rustic tannins and ageability" and notes that he's much more likely to have to acidify the syrah component. 90-92"
Connoisseurs' Guide - "22% Petite Sirah. Big, dense, ripe and highly extracted all at the same time, this extraordinary wine is not for the faint of heart, but those who like their Syrahs to be bold, full of first-rate fruit, focused on blackberries, coffee, roasted meats and creamy oak with no let up in sight are going to love this latest version from Shafer. One could argue that the wine gets few style points, but that would miss the point. It is brimming with flavor, has power to spare and, rather than tilt to corpulence, it is possessed of fine underlying acidity."
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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 & 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.