2010 Shafer Napa Valley Merlot
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Starting with the Merlots, the 2010 Merlot (a blend of 84% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Malbec) is sensational. Its dense purple color is accompanied by gorgeous aromas of black fruits and chocolate, a sweetness to the tannin and length that almost makes a mockery of Merlots produced elsewhere in Napa, a voluminous, chewy texture and great elegance and purity. Shafer Vineyards appears to have the Midas touch with just about any fruit they receive. The killer 2010 Merlot may be the finest Merlot they have produced in 20-25 years. It should drink well for 10-15 years.
Sourced from a Yountville vineyard site and another in the foothills just south of Stag's Leap, Shafer reduced the crop more than usual in the cool 2010 vintage in order to harvest fine clusters with developed color and flavor. The wine was aged for 20 months in 75% new French oak and the wine is complemented by 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Malbec. From winemaker Elias Fernandez: "The 2010 gives everything a Merlot should and more - lively, enticing red fruit with a core of deep, lush black fruit - red cherry and black cheery, red plum and black plum, spice and berry with hints of earth and smoke. This plush package is held together in a structure of fine, ripe tannins."