Founded in 1978, Shafer Vineyards is situated in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, east of the Silverado Trail and just north of the town of Napa. Although their main focus has always been luxuriant, richly textured Cabernet Sauvignons from their Stags Leap vineyards, father and son John and Doug Shafer also own and farm vineyards throughout Napa Valley and Carneros. Low fertility, hillside sites have always been a major priority, as has the adoption of the finest, low vigour rootstocks and clones, leading to extremely low yields of small intensely concentrated grapes. They are also passionate exponents of sustainable farming practices in which they eschew all forms of chemical sprays and their vineyards teem with natural predators including bats, owls, and a variety of insects. The resulting raw materials are of the highest quality and provide them with numerous, stylistic options in the winery. Winemaking, in the hands of Doug Shafer and Elias Fernandez, also follows a similar philosophy of allowing the fruit full expression and with a minimum of intervention.
Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay – From Shafer’s superbly sited, eponymous vineyard in the Napa Valley side of Carneros. It is barrel fermented, with wild yeast, and matured for 14 months in a combination of 75% new french oak barrels (Allier, Vosges) and 25% stainless steel barrels. Malolactic fermentation is prevented and as a result, the richly textured, intensely flavoured, concentrated fruit is beautifully supported by pure, vibrant acidity.
This Chardonnay offers abundant, exotic aromas and flavors of citrus blossom, apricot, pineapple, grapefruit zest, and honeydew melon all held together with seamless structure, elegant balance, and energy that comes from pure, clean acidity.