2002 Shafer "Relentless" Napa Valley Syrah

SKU #1017361 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The brainchild of winemaker/viticulturist Elias Fernandez, the Relentless (a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah aged 32 months in 100% new French oak) has been a fabulous success since its debut vintage. There are 2,500 cases of this remarkable cuvee. The inky/purple-hued 2002 Relentless possesses a fabulously exuberant, extroverted nose of black fruits, creosote, flowers, and pepper along with huge, sweet blueberry, chocolaty, espresso notes. Flamboyant, rich, full-bodied, and intense, but not overweight, it will drink well for 10-12 years. (RP)  (12/2005)

94 points Connoisseurs Guide

 If ever a name was well-chosen, "Relentless" fits this utterly bombastic wine to a "tee". There is no pretense to polish or concessions to finesse here, but there are few, if any, wines in this issue that can measure up in terms of sheer richness and size. We will concede that it may be a bit overdone and may be seen in some eyes as too much of a good thing, but its extravagant fruit, its very complex combination of coffee, chocolate and sweet spice, and its remarkable strength and stamina add up to a delicious, head-turning effort that will develop famously for years. *Two Stars*  (11/2005)

94 points Wine Spectator

 A tremendous wine from the start, with captivating aromas of rich currant, beef, blackberry and wild berry. Tightly focused and impeccably balanced, this offers wonderful complexity and depth with a long, rich, intense finish. Syrah and Petite Sirah. *Ranked #37, Top 100 Wines of 2005* (JL)  (11/2005)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 Epitomizes the rich, extracted style of Napa Syrah, cramming jammy blackberries onto a large, sturdy structure, framed by considerable toasty oak. Yet despite the concentration, it doesn’t lack for complexity; there are hints of coffee, chocolate, meat and leather to be sniffed out, and these should become even more notable after cellaring. *Cellar Selection*  (9/2005)

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Price: $89.99
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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.