2011 Shafer Napa Valley Merlot
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Shaferís 2011 Merlot jumps from the glass with dark cherries, spices, sage, mint and licorice. There is good juiciness and depth in the Merlot. The 2011 is a bit darker in tonality than the 2010. This is a terrific effort for the year. The 2011 is 76% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2023.
Shafer's Merlots are always among the richer and riper versions to be had, and, even though coming from a challenging year, this one has the fruity volume to go with its chocolaty ripeness and abundant sweet oak. It is fleshy and full, and it ends with a bit of hard-to-ignore heat, and, if arguably open to criticism as being a little too much of a good thing, it is very deep and has richness to spare. It will hold up with age yet is tasty right now, and, whether enjoyed now or later, it is one to match up with heartier, full-flavored fare.