Since its debut in 1995 of the acclaimed 1994 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, this extraordinary Chardonnay has continued to delight many a wine drinker. Not surprising when you realize that was the same year that Doug Shafer took control of the winery along with their new Winemaker, Elias Fernandez. Doug becoming winemaker at Shafer in 1983 and in 1984 they hired Elias as assistant winemaker. While I can’t confirm, this has to be one of the longest-running duets in winery history, and if it’s not, it’s still pretty darn amazing!
Likewise, the wine follows suit. Having done a review of the 2010 Red Shoulder Ranch, this is the second I have “Officially” done. I’m not sure, but it seems I’ve drunk each and every vintage of this wine for the last 5 to 6 years, maybe longer.
This was one of those times when I needed something to pair with a simple meal, Salmon, Rice and a Veggie (usual fare), but wanted to splurge a little on the wine. Didn’t take long for me to spot this familiar label and without hesitation, pluck it from the rack and put an extra chill on it to begin.
Once poured, I started my adventure into the wine; aromas of tropical fruit and a honeyed scent rose to the occasion. Stone fruit flavors arriving on the palate along with a nice backbone consisting of a rustic finish. There is also vibrancy to the wine due to the lack of Malolactic Fermentation. While my review of 2010 required some time for the wine to emerge, 2016 did not require time. It was wonderful from start to finish, okay; it might have improved a skosh!
This single-vineyard Carneros-grown Chardonnay is produced from grapes selected for their low yields. The wine matures on the lees for 14 months. Whole-cluster pressed and fermented with wild yeast in individual barrels (75% French oak barrels (Allier, Vosges), 25% stainless steel). The vineyard received its name for the Red-Shouldered Hawks and other birds of prey dwelling in the region.
Love Chardonnay; try this one if you haven’t already.