2012 Shafer Napa Valley Merlot
Sleek and supple, this is exactly the style of Merlot that made the wine so popular. Floral red currant and cinnamon spice aromas lead to rich, ripe flavors of black cherry and toasty oak, with a hint of earth. Drink now through 2020.
The 2012 Merlot jumps from the glass with brilliant red cherries, plums, flowers, spices and mint. With time in the glass the flavors blossom beautifully as the wine gains texture and resonance. Merlot still suffers from a less than stellar reputation in some circles, which is unfortunate. Few do it better than Shafer when it comes to capturing the fruit-driven exuberance of Merlot. Drink this juicy, resonant red over the next few years. Shafer remains a reference-point winery for Napa Valley. In a region where key people come and go every few years, Shafer has succeeded in creating an environment that fosters long-term loyalty. Winemaker Elias Fernandez arrived at Shafer straight out of Davis 30 years ago and worked his way up to the top, allowing Doug Shafer to concentrate on building the business. That partnership has paid big-time dividends for years and is one of the best examples of how important long-term organizational stability is in achieving a consistently high level of performance. As for the wines, they are terrific across the board. Readers who want to gain a little more perspective on the 2012 vintage might enjoy this short video I shot with John and Doug Shafer and Elias Fernandez in May 2013.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Merlot, which comes in at 15.5% natural alcohol, is a beauty. It’s 91% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest a touch of Malbec. The wine reveals notes of black cherries, tobacco leaf, mocha and darker-berried fruit with a hint of white chocolate. It’s ripe, medium to full-bodied, but fresh, elegant and well-delineated. This beauty should drink well for a decade or more. Composed of 88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec, the 2012 Merlot appears to be another sensational offering from Doug and John Shafer and their longtime assistant, Elias Fernandez. The sweetness of the tannins, the sucrosity of the fruit and the wine-s richness and expansiveness suggest another great vintage in Napa Valley. This is a sensational Merlot. (RP)