It is no exaggeration to say the 2007 version may just be the best Relentless to date, but even if not, it is a deep and formidable wine by any standard. Its inky appearance correctly implies a wine of great weight and extract, but, what separates this bottling from its equally well-filled predecessors is its terrific sense of structure and balance. It is tough to be sure, but it never lets go of its plentiful, peppery, blackberry fruit, and it will not come close to showing its best until at least another decade has passed.
The current release, the 2007 Relentless, exhibits a dense purple color as well as notes of grilled herbs, tar, blackberries, cassis, pepper and jus de viande. This full-bodied powerhouse should last at least 15-20 years.
"One of the world's greatest wineries."
- Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate
Shafer Vineyards traces its beginnings to 1972 when John Shafer left a 23-year career in the publishing industry and, with his family, moved to the Napa Valley to pursue a second career in wine. After purchasing a 210-acre estate in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District, the Shafer family faced the arduous task of replanting the existing vineyards, which dated to the 1920s, and terracing the steep and rocky hillsides, eventually expanding vineyard acreage to its current 50 acres.
Evolving from grape growers to vintners, the Shafers crushed their first Cabernet grapes in 1978 and began construction on their winery a year later. The first Shafer Cabernet became a benchmark, winning the acclaimed San Francisco Vintners Club taste-off upon release and, over a decade later taking first place in an international blind tasting held in Germany, where it outranked such wines as Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau Palmer.
Doug Shafer became winemaker in 1983 after graduating from the University of California at Davis with a degree in enology and viticulture. A year later Elias Fernandez joined the winery as assistant winemaker. Together Doug and Elias have worked closely to forge the Shafer style of quality, consistency and elegance. From a modest beginning of 1,000 cases in 1978, the winery has grown steadily until reaching its present size of 32,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
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