2001 Shafer "Relentless" Napa Valley Syrah
*Two Stars* "Relentless" would seem a good name for a Syrah that just keeps on coming at you with concentrated, deep, compelling blackberry aromas tinged with notes of crème brulée, espresso and saddle leather. It is full in body and certainly high in tannin, yet it never loses focus or continuity, and its finish is as tasty as its fancy beginnings. There is no faulting the youthful rusticity that is so evident at this point, but a half decade of quiet cellaring will see the wine open up and smooth out into a finer but still powerful version of Syrah.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
(Note from February, 2005 review, re-reviewed with no new note in June 2005) Named after their talented viticulturalist and winemaker, Elias Fernandez, the Relentless cuvee was introduced a few years ago and is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah aged 32 months in 100% new French oak. It is a terrific wine, and the good news is that there are about 2,500 cases produced. The 2001 Relentless shows a full-bodied powerful style, an inky purple color, and a big, peppery, blackberry and raspberry-scented nose with a hint of graphite and earth. (RP)
This spectacular wine is drinkable now for its softness and finesse, and should hold well for a few years. Floods the mouth with cassis, cherry, cocoa and oaky flavors wrapped in sweetly ripe tannins, and feels sturdy and balanced.
Sleek, rich and intense, with a tight beam of wild berry, black cherry, pepper and spice, picking up dark chocolate and mocha notes while revealing depth and concentration. Plenty of tannins on the finish, too.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full, bright ruby-red. Aromas of blackberry, bitter cherry, violet and sassafras. At once sweet and juicy, with supple, pliant flavors of dark berries and cola lifted by a floral component. Finishes sweetly oaky and persistent. Carries its 14. 9% alcohol gracefully.