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Shafer Relentless 2011

Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
  • RP96
  • WS94
  • WE94
15.8% ABV
  • RP95
  • WE94
  • WS93
  • RP95
  • TP93
  • WS91
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • W&S93
  • CG92
  • RP97
  • JS95
  • WS94
  • RP97
  • WS95
  • WS95
  • WS96
  • RP95
  • TP94
  • CG96
  • RP95
  • WS94
  • WE93
  • CG95
  • RP94
  • WE94
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • CG90
  • RP92
  • W&S90
  • WS94
  • RP93
  • RP92
  • RP93
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15.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This latest Relentless is all about rich, ripe elegance offering alluring aromas and flavors of classic Syrah meatiness along with black plum, black pepper, black fig, smoke, forest floor and subtle black truffle. The mouthfeel is seamless and round from the front of the palate through the finish with a texture that is liquid silk. The finish lingers on and on. This vintage will continue to offer new pleasures with more time in the cellar.

This wine honors long-time Shafer Winemaker Elias Fernandez and his relentless pursuit of quality. Sourced from a single ridgetop vineyard adjacent to the southern border of Stags Leap District, the grapes for Relentless are a proprietary blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah.

A bold wine 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. Aged, dry cheeses such as Cheddar, Abbaye De Belloc, and Manchego also pair deliciously.

Blend: 91% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
From a more challenging vintage, the 2011 Relentless exhibits a similar opaque blue/purple color as well as remarkable concentration and balance. With stunning perfume, purity, texture and full-bodied richness, the 2011 is slightly more evolved and softer than the 2010, but it offers much of the same character. This compelling effort is one of the superstars of the vintage in 2011.
Range: 94-96
WS 94
Wine Spectator
This big red brims with dark, rich, chunky blackberry and wild berry fruit, with notes of black licorice that edge toward prune. Maintaining a fine balance for its size, this is extracted, with firm, chewy, peppery tannins. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2015 through 2028.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
There’s no denying the power in this wine, which contains Syrah and Petite Sirah sourced from one ridgetop Stags Leap District site. But in this case, power is a beautiful thing, sinewy and contained. Complex in plum, gamy meat and a lingering suggestion of coconut, it has size offset by the acidity, and a beguiling finish of cracked black pepper. Things will get more interesting in the cellar, through 2021–2026.
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Shafer

Shafer Vineyards

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Shafer Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
Video of winery

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.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

HNYSVSSRS11C_2011 Item# 134325