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Shafer Relentless 2012

Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
  • RP97
  • JS95
  • WS94
15.8% ABV
  • V92
  • RP95
  • V95
  • TP93
  • WS91
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • W&S93
  • CG92
  • RP96
  • WE94
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  • 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 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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Syrah Relentless, which has not yet been bottled, is a blend of 89% Syrah and 11% Petite Sirah. In keeping with this amazing year, it’s full-bodied, juicy, succulent, flamboyant, with blueberry and blackberry fruit galore, lots of glycerin and a massive mouthfeel, but no heaviness or astringency characterize this stunning wine. This should turn out to be a great, great Rhône Ranger when released in a year or so. Range: 94-97
JS 95
James Suckling
This is very fresh and balanced with a dense and silky texture plus lots of violet, berry and hints of sandalwood. It’s full and very silky. Long and intense. Hints of smoky, spicy, wonderful fruit. Lots of tannin but shows an intensity and power. Needs time to soften, but beautiful. 89% syrah and 11% petite sirah.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
A deeply structured blend that combines power with richness. Aromas of blackberry and crushed rock open to layered, complex flavors of black cherry, espresso and smoky cracked pepper. Tannins are big but fleshy. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2017 through 2028.
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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.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

PBC9184307_2012 Item# 146882