2015 Shafer "Red Shoulder Ranch" Carneros Chardonnay

SKU #1302844 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 Always impressive in its grasp of power and grace, this white is memorable from start to finish, beginning with a dark golden-hay color that dazzles in the glass. A strong floral component of jasmine invites on the nose, while sparkling acidity maintains a freshness amidst the integrated oak and delicious flavors of honeyed pear and crème brûlée. (VB)  (10/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Rich and spicy, featuring an elegant mix of baked apple, honeydew melon, pear and light minerally notes. Ends full and persistent, with a long, layered aftertaste. *Highly Recommended* (JL)  (6/2017)

92 points Vinous

 Shafer's 2015 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch is creamy, open-knit and super-expressive. Orchard fruit, white flowers and mint are nicely pushed forward, but it is the wine's balance and sense of harmony that stand out most. Lightly buttered notes and a kiss of French oak add the closing touches. (AG)  (1/2018)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Never a wine to pull its punches, and getting a tad heavy in some vintages, this wine is no shrinking violet by any means, yet it comes across as a decently balanced bottling overall despite its obvious size and depth of character and impresses at every stop. Its direct, juicy, ripe apple and oak aromas are nicely polished and quite rich, and its full, comfortably lively passage in the mouth never stalls even as its concentration leads to a slight edge of heat as it finishes. Wines of this weight may not suit all palates, but those who like the gusto that a dramatic Chardonnay can bring will be very happy.  (7/2017)

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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Price: $49.95

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Staff Image By: Anthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/27/2017 | Send Email
The good stuff. This is a fantastic bottle to save for a special dinner; slightly lighter on the fruit profile (think red apples, citrus zest), a mild level of new oak, and a slightly buttery flavor give the juice enough weight and freshness to stand up to almost any meal. Except heavy meats, stews, and BBQ sauce.

Staff Image By: Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/25/2017 | Send Email
For nearly four decades, Shafer has proven time and time again that it's quality over quantity. This Chardonnay is rich, well balanced, and filled with notes of apple, spice, and apricot. This is honestly one of the best quality California Chardonnays I've ever had.

Staff Image By: Illya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/24/2017 | Send Email
California Chardonnay. Always a polarizing talking point for people who love wine. Shafer "Red Shoulder Ranch" Chardonnay is no exception. But, here is my take. What is wrong with a great glass of wine. This Chardonnay is bursting out of the glass with alluring tropical fruit, lemon peel and Asian pear spice. Nothing wrong with that so far right? I know what your thinking, its nothing but oak on the first sip. This Chardonnay hits you with dazzling acidity and a cool smokey minerality. Didn't see that coming did you? Exquisite creamy texture with a touch of baked apple, once again carried through with persistent acidity for a super long finish. What seamless balance in this wine. I long for some Salmon sashimi as I write up this stunning glass of Chardonnay. From California I might add!

Additional Information:



- 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.

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:


- 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