2008 Shafer "Relentless" Napa Valley Syrah
*Wine of the Year, 2012* The aromatics are full and distinct, with loads of dark berry and charcoal, then this unfolds touches of black cherry, raspberry and red and black licorice on the palate, sailing along and firming nicely on the finish. Shows all the muscle, density, richness and range of flavor found in many Shafer reds, yet takes it to another level in this vintage. The best Relentless yet. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2013 through 2023.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another thoroughbred in the making is the 2008 Relentless. Full-bodied with sensational extract and richness, its opaque purple color is followed by terrific smoky barbecue notes, full-bodied opulence and tremendous depth, power and richness. This stunning Syrah can be drunk over the next 15-20 years. (RP)
Go ahead, knock this wine for high alcohol, if you want. It’s still one of the best blends of its kind in California. It oozes blackberry and blueberry jam, melted dark chocolate, bacon, anise and pepper flavors that are extraordinarily rich. Drink it soon for maximum freshness.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(15.6% alcohol; a 75/25 blend of syrah and petite sirah): Bright, full ruby. Slightly reduced, musky aromas and flavors of blackberry and game lifted by a violet topnote. Creamy, sweet and pliant but shapely and reserved as well; fuller than the One Point Five cabernet but without quite that wine's depth. Finishes with broad, ripe tannins and considerable richness. Wears its high alcohol gracefully.
**Two stars** As big and as dramatic as ever, this year's Relentless is ripe, tannic and tasty with nary a hint of refinement. It is simply brimming with highly extracted fruit and is lavishly oaked, and, as usual, it manages to work in spite of its excesses. It demands patient cellaring and may take a decade or more to plateau, but as tastings of older vintages prove, it is a wine worth waiting for.