2009 Shafer Napa Valley Merlot
*Two Stars* It seems that Shafer can be counted on year in and year out for some of the richer, well-filled Merlots to be had, and this latest, while not wanting for ripeness, stands again with the best of the vintage. It leads with very deep aromas of black cherries, root beer and sweet cream, and its very like-minded flavors are as concentrated as they are juicy. Some might quibble about a touch of eleventh-hour heat, but we find it a small price to pay for this kind of richness and real fruity depth.
Supple, elegant and beautifully focused, with aromas of red currant and toasty vanilla that lead to ripe but sleek and layered flavors of black cherry, cinnamon and black tea. Tannins sneak in on the finish. (TF)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Merlot is an attractive, fleshy wine graced with expressive dark red fruit, flowers, sweet spices and licorice. The wine reveals gorgeous radiance and a supple, inviting personality ideally suited to drinking over the next few years. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium red. Aromas of redcurrant, tobacco leaf, fresh herbs and chocolatey oak. Not a particularly fat or sweet style of Merlot but sappy and lively, with oak spices perking up the intense currant and herb flavors. Not quite as creamy as the other two current red releases from this winery but very nicely balanced and persistent, finishing with fine-grained tannins and late notes of licorice and herbs. (ST)
Shafer’s Merlot is very vintage driven, and this 2009 shows exceptionally ripe, sweet cherry and blueberry-pie flavors, enriched by 75% new French oak that brings toasty, spicy vanilla notes. It’s flashy, opulent and delicious, but a bit forward and warm.