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Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2013

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • JS91
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15.3% ABV
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4.1 5 Ratings
15.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

From a superb vintage, this wine introduces itself with enticing perfumy aromas of cherries and briar fruit that fill not just the glass but the space around the glass. This Merlot shines with juicy, chewy flavors of cherry pie, blackberry, strawberry, minerality and soil – an elegant, mouth-filling wine whose lengthy finish will leave you wanting more.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 91
James Suckling
Blackberry and violet aromas and flavors. Blue fruit. Spice. Medium to full body, firm tannins and a savory finish. White pepper. Merlot with hints of malbec and cabernet franc. Drink now.
WW 91
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
The 2013 Shafer Merlot is a delicious treat. Going far beyond the tried and true, winemaker Elias Fernandez produced wine with plenty of character—some known premium producers just want to make a soft version of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shafer produces their Merlot with plenty of flavors. The wine's ripe fruit and savory earth make it excellent choice with pan-fried pork chops with sautéed onions. Drinks well now. (Tasted: February 19, 2016, Napa, CA)
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
This is a robust, dense and tannic wine, with 8% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. It needs time to unravel what are now just mere suggestions of coffee and black-cherry jam, with seasonings of cedar, peppercorn and dried sage. Full bodied, ripe and highly structured, this should be enjoyed in years to come, through 2023.
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Shafer

Shafer Vineyards

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

WBW30149740_2013 Item# 146679