2019 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay
This vintage is a celebration of the Chardonnay from our beautiful Red Shoulder Ranch® vineyard in Napa Valley’s Carneros District. Year after year this Shafer-owned vineyard offers up wine with plush, exotic, zesty aromas and flavors.
“No matter what time of year you open this wine, you’ll have a taste of summer in Napa Valley.
Lush aromatics fill the glass with white flowers, lemon zest, honeysuckle, clove, and flint. There is
a rich balance of liveliness and density in the mouth with abundant flavors of apricot, white
melon, grapefruit peel, ripe pineapple, and minerality, with a beautiful finish that goes on and on.”
— Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez
“… a beautiful wine. Soft, creamy and layered in the glass, the 2019 possesses superb balance from the outset. Lees stirring brings out creaminess and resonance, yet the 2019 retains terrific energy to match its mid-weight personality. This is very nicely done.”
— Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
“I've always loved the Chardonnay from this team, and their 2019 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch has that classic richer, full-bodied style while staying balanced and light on its feet. Buttered lemons, tangerines, green almond, and toasty notes all make an appearance, and it's incredibly textured, with nicely integrated acidity and one heck of a finish. This powerful Chardonnay is going to impress right out of the gate.”
— Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
“… opens with opulent scents of pineapple upside-down cake, green mango and ripe apricots with hints of candied ginger, brioche, allspice and toasted almonds. The rich, creamy-textured palate is laden with tropical fruit and juicy peach flavors, supported by a racy backbone and finishes long and spicy. (Tasted as a barrel sample.)”
— Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
Vintage and Production Notes
Release Date: May 10, 2021
Vineyard Location: Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch in Carneros
The 2019 Growing Season: The long, sunny 2019 summer created a beautiful growing season for our Chardonnay. The fruit developed bright color and clean, elegant, and pure aromas and flavors.
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Brix at Harvest: 22.8° – 25.0°
Fermentation: Whole-cluster pressed and fermented with wild yeast in individual barrels (75% oak, 25% stainless steel); 0% malolactic fermentation
Cooperage: 14 months in 75% new French oak barrels (Allier, Vosges) and 25% in stainless steel barrels
Suggested CA Retail: $52
Video: Celebrating the Beauty of Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay
In our new video Doug Shafer takes you to the vineyard where it all begins to show where the beauty in the bottle comes from.
Red Shoulder Ranch Story
Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is a wine that bears the elegant imprint of its vineyard home – 68 acres that roll across the pastoral hill country of Los Carneros, a place where Napa Valley meets the northernmost rim of San Francisco Bay. The vineyard is named to honor the Red-shouldered Hawks and other birds of prey that play a vital role in our sustainable farming practices (in this case keeping gopher and other rodent populations naturally under control).
Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is a wine that bears the elegant imprint of its vineyard home – 68 acres that roll across the pastoral hill country of Los Carneros, a place where Napa Valley meets the northernmost rim of San Francisco Bay.
Cooled by the marine breezes off the Bay, the region has a long, steady growing season well-suited to growing superior quality Chardonnay.
The vineyard is named to honor the Red-shouldered Hawks who, along with other birds of prey, play a vital role in our sustainable farming practices. We’ve made their hunting a bit easier by erecting tall perches throughout the property. The local hawks and kestrels reward us for this by keeping the population of vine-damaging gophers naturally under control so no rodent poisons are ever needed, keeping our vines and soils healthy.
The vineyard is planted to five clones of Chardonnay, chosen for their small clusters, low yields, and for the rich, alluring flavors and textures each brings to the finished wine. At harvest, the grapes are 100% whole cluster pressed, and the juice is fermented entirely on wild yeast in individual 60-gallon barrels. Seventy-five percent of the barrels are new French oak, 25% are stainless steel.
The maturing Chardonnay is kept on the lees a full 15 months, the lees stirred weekly to add a creamy richness to the wine. The crisp, enticing acidity of this Chardonnay speaks to the fact that the wine does not go through malolactic fermentation.
In the early days of Shafer Vineyards, the winery’s Chardonnay was grown on the Shafer property in Stags Leap District. While the response to those first wines was positive, the Shafer team believed they could do better.
In 1988 John and Doug Shafer discovered a new home for Chardonnay in the Carneros region of Napa Valley and purchased the property, naming it Red Shoulder Ranch. After a lengthy, painstaking period of development and planting, they harvested their first fruit in 1994. Tasting the ‘94 Chardonnay barrel lots in the spring of 1995 Doug Shafer, winery president, and Elias Fernandez, winemaker, were very pleased at the depth of fruit in the wine — so much fruit that the Chardonnay called for further barrel aging beyond the typical eight months.
The 1994 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay debuted with considerable acclaim even being named one of the Top 10 Wines of the Year by Wine Spectator. After numerous vintages since, this elegant, rich white wine continues to win over critics and consumers alike with its blend of exotic and elegant aromas and flavors.