Release date: March 1, 2013
Suggested California retail: $50
“…one of the best non-malolactic, barrel-fermented Chardonnays in California …”
– Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate
On 68 acres near the northern tip of San Francisco Bay, Shafer harvests fruit for this classic single vineyard wine.
“The cooler vintage has produced lively, elegant aromas and flavors of kiwi, pineapple, lime, papaya, apricot and citrus zest on an underlying richness of caramelized fruit tart and crème brûlée. The abundance of exotic fruit gives way to a long, delicious mouth-coating finish that lingers on and on.” says Shafer Winemaker Elias Fernandez.
The Red Shoulder Ranch vineyard in the Carneros region offers a long, consistently cool growing season, which is ideal for retaining acidity in Chardonnay fruit. To focus on varietal flavors, Shafer uses only wild yeast for fermentation and does not put the wine through malolactic fermentation.
Shafer’s Carneros vineyard is home to countless gophers who love to feast on young vine roots. To contain this problem, Shafer has erected owl nesting boxes and hawk perches to encourage day and night rodent patrol.
“The Red-shouldered hawks and other birds of prey do such an outstanding job, we named the vineyard in their honor,” says Doug Shafer.
“The 2010 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch reveals a brighter profile than the 2009. Citrus, flowers, crushed rocks and mint wrap around the energetic, focused finish.”
– Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate
Finding Our Wines
Robert M. Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate,
“This is what great California Chardonnay is all about. Rich and buttery but with a steely, linear acidity running through it, the wine is ever changing. There are tropical notes, as well as apples, honeysuckle and a shifting, smoky oak. Superb.”
— Will Lyons, The Wall St. Journal
“Offers complex, Muscat-like scents, with a trim mix of green apple and pear. Shows impressive balance and subtle integration of the smoky oak.”
— James Laube, Wine Spectator
“There’s intriguing power in this chardonnay, as much about spice as it is about warmth. The oak presence is balanced by full-on lees character, as if you can taste the floral pear aspects of the grape skins, the dusted almond flavor of happily exhausted yeast. Those scents merge into the vanilla stretched tight over lemon acidity, which lends elasticity to the texture. A substantial white to serve with roast veal.”
— Wine & Spirits
“Tangerine, white flowers, mint and sweet spices all meld together in the 2011 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch. The flavors are beautifully layered in a sexy, supple Chardonnay that is surprisingly creamy and generous for the year. There is a lot to like here. The 2011 was done 75% in oak and 25% in steel, and the malolactic fermentation was blocked, an approach that has delivered consistently brilliant results at Shafer for a number of years.”
— Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“A complex chardonnay, full-bodied and ripe. Aromas and flavors of nectarine, honeysuckle and smoky oak. Lingering finish.”
— Peg Melnik, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
“Subtle hint of oak, complex, shifting aromas and flavors of ripe tropical fruits and citrus, flan-like opulence, crisp, tart finish.”
— Fred Tasker, Miami Herald
“… very attractive, intense, buttery aroma with notes of citrus, baked apple, apricot, and pineapple; medium-full body; forward, rich, intense, fleshy, citrus, apple and tropical fruit flavors with good depth, bright acidity, and a smooth, silky mouthfeel; lingering aftertaste. Shows very good depth and some complexity as it opened and developed with airing in the glass. Very highly recommended.”
— California Grapevine
In the early 1990s Shafer discovered a bounty of rich, exotic fruit aromas and flavors in its Red Shoulder Ranch, a rolling vineyard within sight of San Francisco Bay.