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Shafer "Relentless" Syrah 2007 (Napa Valley, California) - [CG 96] [RP 95] [WS 94] [WE 93] [ST 91+]
Shafer "Relentless" Syrah 2007 (Napa Valley, California) - [CG 96] [RP 95] [WS 94] [WE 93] [ST 91+]


Retail Price: $85.00
Artisan Wine Depot Price: $54.99
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Winery: Shafer Vineyards
Varietal: 84% Syrah, 16% Petite Sirah
Region: Napa Valley, California
Vintage: 2007
Bottle Size: 750 ml


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Notes from the Winemaker:

This wine honors long-time Shafer Winemaker Elias Fernandez and his relentless pursuit of quality. Sourced from small ridgetop and foothills vineyards adjacent to the southern border of Stags Leap District, the grapes for Relentless are a “field blend” of Syrah and Petite Sirah. This means it's a wine that is literally blended in the vineyard. At harvest the two grape varieties are picked, crushed, fermented and barrel aged as one.

Syrah and Petite Sirah for Relentless are grown in vineyard blocks that offer a variety of sun exposures throughout the day, including steep eastern blocks for lots of morning sun and westward sloping blocks, offering midday and late day solar exposure. Thanks to its thin, volcanic soil and quick runoff the vineyard consistently delivers effusive flavors.

Relentless is a wine that is literally blended in the vineyard. At harvest the Syrah and Petite Sirah varieties are picked, crushed, fermented and barrel aged together.

Alcohol: 14.9%

Cooperage: 30 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels (Vosage, Allier, and Tronçais)

Food Affinities: A bold wine like Relentless complements similar concentrated flavors found in dishes such as Syrah-braised short ribs, smoked lamb with Relentless reduction, roast duck, as well as beef and game. Aged, dry cheeses such as Cheddar, Abbaye De Belloc, and Manchego also pair deliciously.

What Does It Taste Like?

“The 2007 Relentless starts with glass-filling aromas of dark fruit, truffles and grilled meat, which is the Syrah talking. In the mouth the wine is smooth, round and elegant with meaty flavors, black cherry and plum, black tea, and black licorice. The firm, nicely ripen tannins ensure this will age magnificently,” writes Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez.

Ratings & Reviews

96 Points - Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine:
"It is no exaggeration to say the 2007 version may just be the best Relentless to date, but even if not, it is a deep and formidable wine by any standard. Its inky appearance correctly implies a wine of great weight and extract, but, what separates this bottling from its equally well-filled predecessors is its terrific sense of structure and balance. It is tough to be sure, but it never lets go of its plentiful, peppery, blackberry fruit, and it will not come close to showing its best until at least another decade has passed. (Mar 2011)"

95 Points -
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"The current release, the 2007 Relentless, exhibits a dense purple color as well as notes of grilled herbs, tar, blackberries, cassis, pepper and jus de viande. This full-bodied powerhouse should last at least 15-20 years.

While still renowned for their portfolio of classic world-class reds, Shafer also turns out a terrific non-malolactic Chardonnay from the Red Shoulder Ranch. The only dramatic change made over recent years is that instead of 100% being barrel-fermented and oak-aged, 25% is now aged in stainless steel which has added freshness and possibly longevity. Introduced several years ago, the Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five cuvee is aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. It is meant to be a reference point Cabernet from Stags Leap priced lower than Shafer’s limited production, usually monumental Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Shafer’s flagship offering is their monumental Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select (about 2,000 cases produced). Always 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for at least 30 months in oak, this is one of Napa’s most profound wines. Since 1999, Shafer has made a Syrah/Petite Sirah blend (usually 80% of the former and 20% of the latter) aged 32 months in 100% new French oak. The first vintage, the 1999 Relentless, which they opened at the winery to show how well it is aging, is still a baby at age 11. I rated it 96 points, which is higher than the 93 points I gave it in 2002. So much for California Syrah not aging well! The 1999 is still intense with a plum color and lots of grilled meat, herb, licorice and spice characteristics." - Robert Parker (12/2010)

94 Points - Wine Spectator Magazine:
"A gorgeous wine, ripe and juicy, with black cherry, plum and currant flavors joined by spicy cedar, graphite, tobacco and dried sage. Full-bodied and powerful, yet retrained and ageworthy. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2012 through 2022. 3,800 cases made." –JL (2010)

93 Points - Wine Enthusiast Magazine:
"Relentless, a blend this year of mainly Syrah and Petite Sirah, is always a very good wine. The ’07 strikes one as, above all, tannic and dry. Then the blackberry, black cherry, dark baker’s chocolate, herb tea and smoked meat flavors kick in, impressing with their complexity. It’s a distinctive wine, quite unlike anything else in California. Despite the hard tannins it’s drinkable now, and will challenge chefs and sommeliers to figure out what to serve it with. The winemaker suggests braised short ribs, smoked lamb, roast duck and Cheddar cheese."  — S.H.  (4/1/2011)

91+ Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar:
"(84% syrah blended with 16% petite sirah):  Distinctly musky aromas of dark berries and dark chocolate.  Lush, sweet and concentrated, with fine-grained, rather polite dark berry and pepper flavors nicely framed by harmonious acidity.  The lightly musky quality adds sex appeal to this very young wine.  Finishes with broad, suave tannins and excellent length.  This is built to age.  (I should note that my first sample of this wine, tasted at the winery, had a more funky muskiness and seemed less sweet than this bottle.)" - Stephen Tanzer (May/June '11)

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