Tuesday 24 May 2016

Lunch Tasting With Doug Shafer

Vinunic invited to lunch and a chance to meet Doug Shafer who is a larger than life personality with humour, focus and a strong driving force, making these Shafer wines so darn good!

2014 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay
This is the best Red Shoulder Ranch I have ever tasted. I have always liked its upfront, juicy style of a rich California Chardonnay. And it still got that, but with an added refinement.
The nose is open and lively with lovely notes of sweet lime. matchbox, yellow pears and a hint of coconut. Very deep and fine.
The taste is young and tight with notes of candied lemons, crushed rocks and summer flowers. A long, finely tuned finish with a gorgeous acidity. Even a tad restrained. Gonna get me some of these.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Merlot
The Merlot is big and fruity with lots of ripe plums and additional notes of clay, smoke and dark chocolate. Very, very good.
The taste is young and warm with notes of plums, scorched earth and raspberry liquorice. A long, tight finish. Needs 4-6 years. 84% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec,
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 One Point Five
This 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot (what does that microscopic part of Petit Verdot really do?) is a beauty. The nose is a mélange of ripe black currants, blueberries, spices and undergrowth. Some tobacco notes after a while. Really fine. Very, very deep.
The taste is tight and focused with notes of black currants, blackberies, cedar and smoke. A long, concentrated finish with ripe, polished tannins. This should age very well. Gotta love this!
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Relentless
The Relentless is a blend of 89% Syrah and 11% Petit Sirah. The nose is big, upfront and spicy with notes of meat, blackberries, melted asphalt and a bonfire in a distance. Very deep. Almost a bit frutal at this stage. Needs time. But very, very good.
The taste is big and broading with notes of charcoal, black- and blueberries, hot spices and dried flowers. Intense and long, long, long. Should evolve nicely, but give it 4-6 years before doing the deed.
Relentless is made in honour of Shafer´s long time wine maker Elias Fernandez. I can´t helping thinking of one of Slayer´s new tunes - Repentless - and maybe the Shafer´s would agree with these lyrics:
"No looking back, no regrets, no apologies
What you get is what you see"
Or taste in this case. Its great to hear Tom Araya angry again...here is a video for Repentless (Warning! - graphic violence in this one...)
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

2011 Hillside Select
Three vintages of Hillside Select followed - life is hard... The 2011 shows why vintage charts are useless when it comes to individual wines. Supposedly from a really bad vintage this lovely wine displays a deep, creamy nose with notes of ripe black currants, graphite, dusty earth and some fine tobacco. Fine dry floral aromas. Very, very good.
The taste is pure and focused with notes of ripe black currants, expensive leather, earth and some tobacco notes. Long and fine, but maybe not stuffing for the long term. But I would drink it anyday.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2007 Hillside Select
I would like to dive in a pool, filled with 2007 Hillside Select, taking big sips while floating around :-) The nose of this stunner is full of ripe red and black currants, red beets, expensive leather, coffee grounds and dried flowers. Just stunning. A touch of maturity. Very, very deep.
The taste is refined and just delicious with notes of the best black currants available combined with espresso, graphite and forest floor. Very focused. Long and lingering, This is the real stuff. Drink now and the coming 10+ years.
97p   (tasted 2016/05)

2004 Hillside Select
The 04 Hillside Select is a bruiser - big, deep and warm with notes of spicy black currants, bonfire, warm herbs and dusty earth. A touch of VA. A bit too big for my liking.
The taste is big and steady with notes of black currant jam, cigarr, leather and sugared coffee. A very long, concentrated finish. A fine warmth. A very good wine but a tad marked by a hotness that I really don´t go for.
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

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