#65 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011
Shafer's single-vineyard Carneros-grown Chardonnay is produced from small-clustered clones of grapes selected for their low yields and distinctive flavors. Fermentation takes place within individual oak and stainless steel barrels using native yeasts. The wine matures on the lees for 14 months and since it undergoes no malolactic fermentation this Chardonnay retains a lively natural acidity. The vineyard is named for its Red-shouldered Hawks and other birds of prey,
who play an important role in Shafer's natural farming practices.
The 2009 offers lush, luxurious aromas and flavors of melon, honeysuckle, apricot, pineapple and flint all held together with bright acidity, good structure and elegant balance.
"Shafer consistently produces one of the biggest, fruitiest Chardonnays in California, and yet the wine remains balanced and interesting. The 2009 Red Shoulder Ranch is gigantic in pineapples, pears, mangoes, tangerines and honey, yet so minerally and crisp that somehow it finishes dry. Editors' Choice."
"Pure, ripe and richly flavored, with tiers of nectarine, fig, honeysuckle and smoky oak. Full-bodied, with touches of citrus blossom and lemon peel. Drink now through 2017."
"The 2009 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch is a gorgeous wine laced with expressive fruit and an open, radiant personality. Subtle hints of French oak and flowers are nicely layered into the finish. The 2009 was aged 75% in French oak and 25% in stainless steel. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015. "
Vinous / Antonio Galloni
"The lighter-style 2009 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch does not have the intensity of the 2008, but those who enjoy more European-styled Chardonnays will adore it. This mid-weight white exhibits notes of lemon butter, tropical fruits and poached pears in a fresh, lively, crisp style.
The Wine Advocate
"Bright, pale yellow-gold. Aromas of lemon drop, citrus blossom and fresh herbs. Juicy, intense and light on its feet, with a strong floral character providing lift to the flavors of lemon, apple and spices. Just a touch of alcohol on the back end."
International Wine Cellar