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Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2007

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WS92
  • CG90
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

The 2007 Merlot is a richly aromatic, elegant wine that comes with layer upon juicy layer of lush red and black jam fruits – cherry, plum, currant – and dark chocolate, black tea, smoke and spice. The tannins are ripe and smooth with a finish that takes its time letting you go.

Critical Acclaim

WS 92
Wine Spectator

Dark and muscular, with blackberry and graphite aromas and youthful, concentrated black cherry and mocha fruit that show notes of roasted herb, with a hint of game. Drink now through . 10,000 cases made.

CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide

15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very ripe, very sweet and awash in very obvious oak, this outgoing wine embraces the Shafer style to a "tee". It is full, fat and fleshy on the palate with layers of mocha, black cherries, vanilla and cream running its length, but it is also a bit hot at the finish with a rise in last-minute tannins that says it would be wise to set it aside for a few years despite its many immediate appeals.

RP 90
The Wine Advocate

Still turning out one of California's top Merlots, the 2007 Merlot (which merited an identical rating last year) combines the elegance and classicism of the Stags Leap viticultural region with the rich berry and chocolaty fruit of Napa Valley. This sexy, lush, medium-bodied, pure Merlot will offer delicious drinking now and over the next 7-8 years.

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Shafer

Shafer Vineyards

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Shafer Vineyards, , California
Shafer
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.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

WBO30075383_2007 Item# 104414

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