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Shafer Relentless 2005

Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • ST92
  • CG90
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Winemaker Notes

A blend of 78% Syrah and 22% Petite Syrah.

The flavors and aromas are immense, round, mouthfilling and long-lived with a luscious blend of rich blackberry, black plums, meatiness from the Syrah and a dose of blueberry from the Petite Sirah. The tannins are ripe and long-lived, with a lengthy, pleasing finish.

A heavyweight 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.

Critical Acclaim

RP 93
The Wine Advocate

The sensational 2005 Relentless boasts an opaque purple color along with a wonderfully sweet nose of blackberries, creosote, acacia flowers, and hints of pepper and meat in the background. Full-bodied and densely concentrated with the oak component well-concealed by the wine’s extravagant richness, this gorgeous 2005 can be drunk now or cellared for 10 years.

Celebrating 30 years of consistent quality and both critical and commercial success, this family run winery remains one of the most admirable operations in California. The Shafers have had tremendous success with their Relentless, which was first released in 1999. A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah that spends 32 months in 100% new French oak, it is a remarkably consistent offering that rarely displays much oak. The Syrah is from Napa’s cool-climate Oak Knoll sector. One of the world’s most prodigious Cabernet Sauvignons is Shafer’s 2,000-case cuvee called Hillside Select. Always 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new French oak for a whopping 32 months, it boasts a gorgeous track record dating back to the early nineties, and just about every recent vintage has flirted with perfection.

WS 92
Wine Spectator

Brimming with spicy, zesty wild berry, pepper, mineral and fresh earth flavors presented in a tight, focused, concentrated manner. Finishes with firm tannins and good length. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Drink now through 2012.

ST 92
International Wine Cellar

Good medium ruby. Cooler, vibrant aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cocoa powder and violet, along with a meaty nuance. Suave and rather high-pitched, with a silky texture but also a firm acid spine to the flavors of black fruits, bitter chocolate and menthol. Structured, juicy wine. Winemaker Fernandez adds the petite sirah "to give color, rustic tannins and ageability" and notes that he's much more likely to have to acidify the syrah component. 90-92

CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide

22% Petite Sirah. Big, dense, ripe and highly extracted all at the same time, this extraordinary wine is not for the faint of heart, but those who like their Syrahs to be bold, full of first-rate fruit, focused on blackberries, coffee, roasted meats and creamy oak with no let up in sight are going to love this latest version from Shafer. One could argue that the wine gets few style points, but that would miss the point. It is brimming with flavor, has power to spare and, rather than tilt to corpulence, it is possessed of fine underlying acidity.

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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.

Australia

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A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable...

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A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is often misunderstood by consumers. It is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute critters on the label, though both can certainly be found here. It is impossible to make generalizations about a country this physically massive, but most regions are concentrated in the south of the country and experience either warm, dry weather, or more humid, tropical influence. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.

Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing and there is a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes...

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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.

JCZRELENTLESS_2005 Item# 97249

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