Shafer Relentless 2007
Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
The 2007 Relentless starts with glass-filling aromas of dark fruit, truffles and grilled meat, which is the Syrah talking. In the mouth the wine is smooth, round and elegant with meaty flavors, black cherry and plum, black tea, and black licorice. The firm, nicely ripen tannins ensure this will age magnificently.
A bold wine 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. Aged, dry cheeses such as Cheddar, Abbaye De Belloc, and Manchego also pair deliciously.
Blend: 84% Syrah, 16% Petite Sirah
Connoisseurs' Guide - "It is no exaggeration to say the 2007 version may just be the best Relentless to date, but even if not, it is a deep and formidable wine by any standard. Its inky appearance correctly implies a wine of great weight and extract, but, what separates this bottling from its equally well-filled predecessors is its terrific sense of structure and balance. It is tough to be sure, but it never lets go of its plentiful, peppery, blackberry fruit, and it will not come close to showing its best until at least another decade has passed."
The Wine Advocate - "The current release, the 2007 Relentless, exhibits a dense purple color as well as notes of grilled herbs, tar, blackberries, cassis, pepper and jus de viande. This full-bodied powerhouse should last at least 15-20 years."
Wine Spectator - "A gorgeous wine, ripe and juicy, with black cherry, plum and cur- rant flavors joined by spicy cedar, graphite, tobacco and dried sage. Full-bodied and powerful, yet retrained and ageworthy. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2012 through 2022."
Wine Enthusiast - "Relentless, a blend this year of mainly Syrah and Petite Sirah is always a very good wine. The '07 strikes one as, above all tannic and dry. Then the blackberry, black cherry, dark baker's chocolate, herb tea and smoked meat flavors kick in, impressing with their complexity. It's a distinctive wine quite unlike anything else in California. Despite the hard tannins, it's drinkable now, and will challenge chefs and sommeliers to figure out what to serve it with. The winemaker suggests braised short ribs, smoked lamb, roast duck and Cheddar cheese."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Distinctly musky aromas of dark berries and dark chocolate. Lush, sweet and concentrated, with fine-grained, rather polite dark berry and pepper flavors nicely framed by harmonious acidity. The lightly musky quality adds sex appeal to this very young wine. Finishes with broad, suave tannins and excellent length. This is built to age. (I should note that my first sample of this wine, tasted at the winery, had a more funky muskiness and seemed less sweet than this bottle.) Rating: 91+"
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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 granted 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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