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.
TD-9 represents an evolution of Shafer Vineyards Merlot, which has been a cornerstone of their range for 30 years.The naissance of TD-9 was an early morning conversation during the 2015 harvest when Doug Shafer and long-standing winemaker, Elias Fernandez, were discussing the Merlot and other fruit from a cluster of small Shafer vineyards just south of Stags Leap District. “You do realise that we could make a much better wine if we could make a red blend” suggested Elias – referring to the mix of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec fruit on the property. They slept on the idea and soon decided that if they could make a more profound wine, the way forward was clear. As anticipated, TD-9 was indeed finer and more complex than previously, whilst retaining the joyous, plush, generous fruit which characterized their varietal Merlot. 56% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Malbec from Stags Leap District, Yountville and a vineyard in the Vaca Mountains, just south of Stags Leap District. Aged for 20 months in a combination of Allier and Troncais barrels (100% new).
This juicy red blend is loaded with vivid summer fruit – red plum, red cherry, black cherry, and strawberry – along with rhubarb, spice, and red licorice. All this tantalizing freshness comes with energy and ripe tannins for a long, luscious finish.