Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2010
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
The 2010 gives everything a Merlot should and more – lively, enticing red fruit with a core of deep, lush black fruit – red cherry and black cheery, red plum and black plum, spice and berry with hints of earth and smoke. This plush package is held together in a structure of fine, ripe tannins.
Flatter Merlot's fruit by adding a similar element of fruit to poultry, pork and meat dishes (duck breast with dried cherry-Merlot sauce, roast chicken with cranberry-wild rice stuffing). Carmelized onions, roasted garlic and mushrooms are pleasant companions.
Blend: 84% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec
The Wine Advocate - "Starting with the Merlots, the 2010 Merlot (a blend of 84% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Malbec) is sensational. Its dense purple color is accompanied by gorgeous aromas of black fruits and chocolate, a sweetness to the tannin and length that almost makes a mockery of Merlots produced elsewhere in Napa, a voluminous, chewy texture and great elegance and purity. Shafer Vineyards appears to have the Midas touch with just about any fruit they receive. The killer 2010 Merlot may be the finest Merlot they have produced in 20-25 years. It should drink well for 10-15 years. "
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "A delicious entry-level wine, the 2010 Merlot is rich, boisterous and loaded with fruit. Freshly cut flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spices all make an appearance in this flashy, exuberant red. The vibrancy of the vintage works to balance some of the wine's natural overtness. Clean, saline notes add an attractive briskness to the finish. This is a gorgeous wine that makes a compelling case for Merlot-based wines in Napa Valley. The 2010 is 84% Merlot, 10% Cabernet and 6% Malbec, a variety that seems to add a little extra juiciness, always welcome in a wine meant to be enjoyed upon release."
Wine Spectator - "Supple and rich, with ripe cherry and toasty oak aromas that lead to soft and elegant currant, dried herb and mocha flavors. Drink now through 2018. 7,900 cases made."
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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.