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Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2011

Chardonnay from Carneros, California
  • TP96
  • WE93
  • WS90
14.8% ABV
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4.0 4 Ratings
14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The cooler vintage has produced lively, elegant aromas and flavors of kiwi, pineapple, lime, papaya, apricot and citrus zest on an underlying richness of caramelized fruit tart and creme brulee. The abundance of exotic fruit gives way to a long, delicious mouth-coating finish that lingers on and on.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
TP 96
Tasting Panel
Nectar of the Napa Valley Chardonnay gods .. it drips with a lemon oil and yet unfolds with an amazing show of acidity. Maple on stone, biscuit on bone, it's a puzzle of lean and lush.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
A huge Chardonnay, so full-bodied and rich, it’s almost like a red wine, but that’s the Red Shoulder personality. With flavors of buttercream, jammy tropical fruit, orange custard, vanilla, buttered toast and brown sugar, it would be over the top, except for vibrant acidity and a deep minerality.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Offers complex, Muscat-like scents, with a trim mix of green apple and pear. Shows impressive balance and subtle integration of the smoky oak.
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Shafer

Shafer Vineyards

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Shafer Vineyards, Carneros, 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.

Carneros

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Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. Its close proximity to the San Francisco Peninsula and the San Pablo Bay is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo Bay create a cooling effect ideal for producing wines with crisp acidity and balanced flavors.

This cooler pocket of California lends itself to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and more recently, Old-World style Syrah. While more delicate than most wines from neighboring regions, these are firmly structured, complex, and full of flavor. Carneros is also an important source of sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

WBW30098503_2011 Item# 122814