2009 Shafer "Red Shoulder Ranch" Carneros Chardonnay
*Editors' Choice* Shafer consistently produces one of the biggest, fruitiest Chardonnays in California, and yet the wine remains balanced and interesting. The 2009 Red Shoulder Ranch is gigantic in pineapples, pears, mangoes, tangerines and honey, yet so minerally and crisp that somehow it finishes dry.
*#65 in Top 100 Wines of 2011* Pure, ripe and richly flavored, with tiers of nectarine, fig, honeysuckle and smoky oak. Full-bodied, with touches of citrus blossom and lemon peel. Drink now through 2017.
High in ripeness, high in oak and deep in character, this full-bodied effort will not be mistaken for a shrinking violet. Focused on ripe pears and apples, and picking up crème caramel-like richness and layering along the way, this wine surprises a bit by turning slightly acidy and stiff in the latter palate. It will need to be partnered with flavorful chicken preparations and also has the stuffing to stand up to dishes like blackened salmon.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright, pale yellow-gold. Aromas of lemon drop, citrus blossom and fresh herbs. Juicy, intense and light on its feet, with a strong floral character providing lift to the flavors of lemon, apple and spices. Just a touch of alcohol on the back end.