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Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2010

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
  • WS90
15.3% ABV
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15.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's 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.
WS 90
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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Shafer

Shafer Vineyards

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley, California, is an iconic family-owned winery, named one of the top 25 vineyards in the world by wine publication Wine & Spirits and “one of the world’s greatest wineries” by wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr.

Since 1978 the Shafer family has produced wine in the Stags Leap District, one of the most highly-regarded winegrowing regions within Napa Valley.

Shafer’s wines, including its signature wine, Hillside Select, are found in collectors’ cellars and on wine lists in top hotels and restaurants throughout the world.

The small winery is managed by father and son team John and Doug Shafer. Elias Fernandez is winemaker. Shafer cultivates more than 200 acres of estate vineyards, sources for Shafer’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, and Syrah.

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 1960s, 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 1980s, 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 are 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.

PBC9162486_2010 Item# 119517