2014 Shafer "Red Shoulder Ranch" Carneros Chardonnay

SKU #1254128 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 First, their non-malolactic 2014 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch comes from a cool-climate vineyard in Carneros. This is aged in 75% oak casks and 25% stainless steel, which seems to be the perfect marriage for showcasing this wine’s rich fruit. The wine has loads of tangerine oil, citrus blossom, a hint of apples and orange marmalade. The oak is subtle, the wine medium to full-bodied, pure and rich. (This is the official tasting note, but I shared two bottles with some friends of mine at the casual Market restaurant in St. Helena, and it was a huge hit.) There are very few wineries in California where you can say that the original wine owners and winemaking staff are totally intact and have been, in this case, since 1978. The estate was founded by John Shafer and run with great precision by himself and more recently by his son Doug and Elias Fernandez. The team has been working together for 38 years since the first vintage in 1978. Six years earlier in 1972, John Shafer bought the property and established the vineyard in the hillsides of Stags Leap. They produce about 30,000 cases of wine – all of it noteworthy. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is true first-growth quality and their Rhône Ranger wine made from Syrah and Petite Sirah, called Relentless, is about as profound as you can get from those varietals. (RP)  (10/2016)

90-93 points Vinous

 Energy and focus the two elements that stand out in Shafer's 2014 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch. Lemon peel, white pepper and floral notes are some of the signatures. The 2014 is shaping up to be another jewel of a wine from Shafer. Shafer is one of Napa Valley's best oiled machines. Year after year the wines deliver the goods in a rich, sumptuous style that defines the very essence of contemporary Napa Valley at its very best. (AG)  (10/2015)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 This marquee estate site supplies yet another gorgeous vintage of this powerful white, which opens with a crisp aroma of orange blossom. It follows in to the full-bodied palate, alongside layers of pear, pineapple and melon, all kept fresh by juicy acidity amid bites of oak and baking spice.  (10/2016)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Elegance and finesse define the pear, melon and honeysuckle flavors, which are lingering and persistent. The creamy texture features a touch of pithy citrus skin, adding to the nuance and complexity. Drink now through 2022.  (8/2016)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *One Star* Shafer's Red Shoulder Ranch bottlings are rarely if ever governed by cautious restraint and more typically aim, as this one so convincingly does, for ripeness, extravagant oak and fruity weight. It is a substantial, very broad, big-bodied wine, and it holds nothing back, and, while it gives ground to palpable heat at the finish, it is so uncompromisingly rich that it succeeds in spite of its inclinations to excess. We would definitely opt for lighter Chardonnay when delicate fare is on the evening menu, but this will make delicious drinking with the likes of game birds, tea-smoked duck or veal cutlets.  (7/2016)

K&L Notes

Shafer's Carneros Chardonnay was whole-cluster pressed, barrel-fermented with wild yeast in 75% oak and 25% stainless steel, and aged for 14 months. The wine skipped malolactic fermentation, and retains all of its natural acidity. Shafer thought that the red-shouldered hawks performed such a valuable service in their sustainably farmed vineyards, they named this one for them.

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By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/21/2016 | Send Email
Shafer's Red Shoulder Ranch in Carneros is situated close to the San Francisco Bay, which gives a cooler climate that is great for growing Chardonnay fruit. This 2014 bottling is rich yet elegant, and will please many Chardonnay lovers, as it is very balance and poised. This wine has a lovely nose of honeysuckle, citrus and oaky spice while the palette is very creamy due to the wine being stirred on its lees during aging. Drinkable now, but would age nicely 5-10 years.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Carneros

- Just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, Carneros is kept cool by Bay breezes and thick fog, and has long been famous for cool-climate pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wine based on the two varietals. Warmer pockets have proved interesting and promising homes for syrah, cabernet and merlot.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.9