2004 Shafer Napa Valley Merlot
Ripe, juicy plum, blackberry and wild berry fruit is lively, plush, well-proportioned and highly distinctive, finishing with a burst of fruit and pretty toasty-oak shadings.
Long on currants and cherries and long on very rich oak, this juicy, abundantly fruity opus sports fine Cabernet structure and, despite undisguised finishing heat, it never once wanders away to softness. Its ample tannins disqualify it from near-term drinking, but they are neither so hard nor so imposing that they call the wine's capacity for age into question, and, while we expect that it will begin to open after three or four years, its best lies further down the road.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2004 Merlot (75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc) continues to demonstrate that the movie “Sideways” really had some fatal flaws. I suspect if the director had tasted the Shafer Merlot, or for that matter the Pahlmeyer and a few others, some of the nonsense about Merlot would never have appeared in that funny and enjoyable movie. Shafer’s 2004 Merlot is Napa Merlot at its finest – juicy, succulent, sexy and irresistible. It boasts a deep ruby/purple color along with copious aromas of black cherries, spice, smoke and earth. Beguiling, silky smooth and round, it is a total turn-on.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good bright ruby. Cassis, bitter chocolate and mocha on the musky nose. Rich, ripe, sexy and deep, with considerable sweetness to the flavors of currant, chocolate and cherry cola. As lush as this is, there's also plenty of inner-mouth energy thanks to ripe, harmonious acidity. Finishes long and clinging, with ripe tannins and plenty of sweet oak.