Founded by John Shafer in 1972, when he and his family purchased a sizeable estate in the Stag’s Leap District, today Shafer Vineyards is one of the most preeminent wineries within the star-studded Napa Valley. While the estate is best known for their flagship Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, today we are very pleased to be able to offer another stand out wine from their superb range, the 2018 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay. The 2018 vintage commemorates the 25th vintage of Chardonnay produced from the Shafer family’s Red Shoulder Ranch vineyard located in Napa Valley’s cool micro-climate haven of Carneros.
Jeb Dunnuck was suitably impressed and awarded it 95 points, praising, “the 2018 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch is beautifully done, with a vibrant yet rich style carrying notes of buttered lemon, orange blossom, white flowers, and toasted bread. With bright acidity, terrific overall balance, and a great finish, this is classic Napa Valley Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it keep even longer as well.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown also found plenty to admire how it, “bursts from the glass with oak-laced apple pie, peach preserves and ripe pineapple scents plus hints of allspice, candied ginger and praline. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a gorgeous satiny texture and loads of stone fruit and tropical fruit layers, finishing on a lingering spicy note.” While the Hillside Select Cabernet demands up to £6k per case of 12 in top vintages, the fact that we are able to offer Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay today for just £375 per case of 12 IB or jut over £40 per bottle on the table is frankly astounding. The value here is undeniable when comparing the Shafer Chardonnay to virtually any other top Napa Chardonnay, however, with its energetic notes of citrus blossom, grapefruit zest, and honeydew melon balanced by bright acidity, this is an undeniably clean and modern style of Californian Chardonnay with plenty of inspiration from its Burgundian counterparts.

In 1972, the Shafer family purchased their first winery, located at the north end of the Stag’s Leap District of the Napa Valley, harvesting their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1978, to begin their journey to becoming one of the most acclaimed wineries to be found in California today. Their ethos has always been to remain small and family orientated, with a dedicated approach to producing wines of great refinement and restraint. Their Red Shoulder Ranch Vineyard is named to honour the Red-shouldered Hawks and other birds of prey that play a vital role in their sustainable farming practices, which in this case aid in keeping the gopher and other rodent populations naturally under control. Located in Los Carneros, this vineyard is perfectly placed within the path of the cooling ocean breeze to produce effortlessly balanced and fresh Chardonnay at the northernmost rim of the San Francisco Bay. Their Chardonnay never undergoes malolactic fermentation and is 75% barrel-fermented, with the remaining 25% fermented in stainless steel, followed by extended lees ageing add extra dimensions and richness.