Shafer Relentless 2017
The elegant 2017 offers a wealth of aromas and flavors – black plum, herbs, grilled game, vanilla, leather, herbs, river stone, and spice. The richness, balance, and vibrancy of the wine is mouth-filling and soul-satisfying on every level with ripe, silky tannins that offer the promise of greater pleasures with years of cellaring.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
We taste this proprietary blend of Syrah (86%) and Petite Sirah (14%) almost every vintage, and this time we admired the elevated elegance of its structure, with silkier tannins than we recall in former bottlings. Grown on a small ridgetop just south of the Stags Leap District, the grapes experienced a lengthy hang time, and the result is stunning: Chocolate, black plum, slate, black olive, and leather reveal themselves in the opaque, carmineblack–hued liquid, which aged 30 months in 100% new French oak and has an ABV of 15.8%.
While I don't think the 2017 Relentless will match the 2018, it's nevertheless a beautiful Syrah that offers lots of smoky dark berry fruits, barbecue notes, spice, and meaty nuances in a rich, pure, nicely textured, medium to full-bodied package. It's going to evolve gracefully for a solid 10-12 years.
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 Doug Shafer, son of winery founders John and Bett Shafer. Elias Fernandez is winemaker. The winery team cultivates more than 200 acres of Shafer-owned vineyards, sources for the winery's celebrated Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, TD-9, One Point Five, Relentless, and Hillside Select.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.