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 Vintage2008 Label 1 of 25 
ProducerShafer (web)
SubRegionNapa Valley
AppellationNapa Valley
UPC Code(s)013528200029

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2012 and 2018 (based on 9 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Shafer Merlot Napa Valley on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 91.2 pts. and median of 91 pts. in 116 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by woofy on 2/21/2015 & rated 93 points: We had this bottle today with lunch, a salad with grilled chicken, fresh cilantro and dill. The wine was perfect for this meal, on a cold, but not brutal day in NYC. I think Shafer's Merlot is underrated, the effect of Sideways debasing Merlot, but those who have this wine can enjoy with pleasure. And it still has plenty of life in it. (819 views)
 Tasted by RJurman on 1/31/2015 & rated 91 points: Drinking perfectly at this point. Medium to full bodied with a nice finish. Perhaps still a bit of heat but it's juicy and delicious. Really good Merlot. (876 views)
 Tasted by gmbdds on 1/23/2015 & rated 90 points: Decanted. A nicely structured, balanced and integrated Napa merlot. Black cherry and oak notes are most prominent. Ready now, but should have a few more years. (968 views)
 Tasted by jmottern on 1/18/2015 & rated 88 points: Nice nose, medium body. Blackberry fruit with a little minerality. This bottle lacked the typical Shafer "big fruit" either because it is young or I did not let it open enough. (952 views)
 Tasted by Doc90 on 11/27/2014 & rated 91 points: Nose of ripe raspberries, fresh lobster, and acetone. Full bodied, creamy, bursting with ripe red fruit, spice falls in at the end for a medium-plus finish. Needs a few more years. (1234 views)
 Tasted by jviz on 10/24/2014 & rated 93 points: Such a high quality product. Pure and fruit driven, quite sweet, with ample oak and moderate tannins. Plum and kirsch seem to dominate with a touch of lead on the nose. Harmonious balance. Might have guessed Grenache as much as Merlot but it's so soft on the palate. Would happily buy again (997 views)
 Tasted by aidyl on 9/6/2014 & rated 90 points: Initial taste after popping the cork suggested it could still use some decanting time. Even after 1 hour, it was still just a touch "hot" or "tight". I would suggest decanting for at least an hour or giving it another year or two in the cellar, as it has clearly not yet reached its peak. This is a very bold, structured Merlot that does indeed drink a lot like a Cab...partially because it is 20% Cab Sauv, and partially because they clearly age it in a lot of new oak. The tannins are still pronounced, and this wine will stand up very well with bold dishes (such as our grilled burgers made with 50% beef and 50% bacon). Presents with tart black cherry and cedar, followed by a hint of chocolate mint and spice on the lingering finish, this is a very structured Merlot that still has plenty of aging potential. Not quite as balanced or elegant as a Carter or similar high-end Merlot, it is nonetheless excellent and recommended for those seeking something more weighty than the typical Merlot. (1150 views)
 Tasted by jmottern on 6/29/2014 & rated 94 points: Shafer has the formula for great merlot. This wine was excellent with complex blackberry and other fruits. A most pleasing bottle. It is entering its drinkable zone now. (1588 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 5/12/2014: decanted for 1 hr. Nose of red cherries, balck tea, and loads of new oak. On the palate- sweet red fruit with balanced acid and tannins with a medium plus finish. After a coupe of hours this wine really opened up to reveal some darker fruit and kirsch on the nose with hints of tobacco and mint. The palate became deeper and more rounded as well. Very nice merlot. (1741 views)
 Tasted by MemorialWineFan on 3/24/2014 & rated 91 points: The only merlot I like. Drinks like a cab. (2038 views)
 Tasted by Tarrant on 1/25/2014 & rated 93 points: Amazing intensity and power, obviously like most excellent 'Merlots' I'm sure there is a liberal infusion of Cab Sauv (25%?) for structure sake and as always it works so well together, we had this alongside a similar vintaged Duckhorn that edged this one due to having similar intensity, but a touch more elegance (This Shafer came in at 15.3% alc.) - Dark, full bodied with a nose of extreme plum, black fruit, cedar, cigar box and vanilla, very well structure and surprisingly balanced with the high alc., it was velvety smooth on the palate with terrific length, very tasty! (93 Points). (1903 views)
 Tasted by swade on 11/11/2013 & rated 93 points: Deep purple. Velvety entry. This opens big with waves of cassis and a rippling midriff of black fruit, trimmed in cedar. The finish just lingers and expands to fill the mouth, with light oak contrails. This was tasted with three absolute top shelf reds (including an aged top kit Bordeaux) and was the consensus WOTN. 93-94. A stunner. (2360 views)
 Tasted by deBare on 9/17/2013 & rated 93 points: Beautiful wine after it was decanted. Opened nicely then went a little flat but still fantastic. (2362 views)
 Tasted by jmottern on 9/14/2013 & rated 91 points: Shafer does merlot as good as anyone else. This is another bottle of the good wine. (2043 views)
 Tasted by CK6865 on 8/29/2013 & rated 92 points: Decanted for 1/2 hour , what a great merlot ,great nose , nice finish, I only have 3 bottles left wish I had more. (2079 views)
 Tasted by carstenf on 6/6/2013 & rated 92 points: As very good as last time... (2399 views)
 Tasted by Ericsson on 5/31/2013 & rated 91 points: Au restaurant Wine 30 à NYC. Pas de notes formelles. Le vin est très massif. (1874 views)
 Tasted by jmottern on 5/20/2013 & rated 94 points: This merlot is simply consistently outstanding. Big and complex merlot fruit with a nice finish. Glad I have a few more bottles. (1769 views)
 Tasted by kbhiggins on 4/14/2013 & rated 89 points: A cab-drinkers merlot for sure. Needed a decanting, but after a bought an hour, this was very enjoyable. Dark fruits dominated. Long legs with a long finish. (1934 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 3/16/2013: No formal notes taken. Had it in the decanter for about an hour and served to compnay with some short ribs.

Cab drinkers merlot which I liked. Had the tannins of a cab but the acid of a merlot. Mouth feel left me a little wanting. Got this on a deal for $30 from a buddy, if I would have paid retail I would have been disappointed in the experience. Nice wine but not for the retail price. Will lay the other bottle down for a year and see what happens. (1985 views)
 Tasted by zueter on 3/13/2013 & rated 90 points: Did not decant, but did aerate each glass as we usually do with merlot. Not as ready to drink as the '07, which is a delight at the first pour. The '08 is not as structured and complex as the previous year and it's a bit tannic for a merlot; we're hoping it will age well with another year in the cellar. As another taster noted, this is a cab drinker's merlot--which I am not, so I am waiting for the tannins to smooth out. The mouthfeel is not want I expect in a merlot. As for the '09 and '10, we'll wait several years to open those bottles unless we find a dissenting opinion that encourages a taste test now. (1784 views)
 Tasted by Arch57 on 3/10/2013 & rated 93 points: I was pleased with this Merlot from a great producer. Little more fruit than a Cab but this wine was still a big wine. Drinking well now but feels like it could last a while. (1700 views)
 Tasted by danielbleier on 2/17/2013 & rated 92 points: This has to be a case of bottle variation. The bottle I had on 12/4/2012 did little to excite me, although it was clearly a well-made wine. In this bottle, however, the fruit and spice jumped out. Plum, bright cherry, strawberry, xmas spice, and lightly gritty tannins made this a very enjoyable wine, well beyond good. Makes me think the last one was a little corked? (1775 views)
 Tasted by carstenf on 2/13/2013 & rated 93 points: Dark fruit , Prune , Mineral and Vanilie. Long aftertast and who said anything bad about Merlot ?
I have 2 bt. left and will drink it over the next 2 years. (1700 views)
 Tasted by Dasher on 1/20/2013 & rated 93 points: Great bottle of wine. Smooth and crisp. (1721 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 2011, IWC Issue #156
(Shafer Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (2/24/2012)
(Shafer Merlot) Medium dark ruby color; redolent, ripe blackberry, violets, black currant nose; tasty, black currant, blackberry, violets palate; medium-plus finish (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20 mos. in French oak, 75% new; 15.3% alcohol)  92 points
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (5/5/2011)
(Shafer Merlot) Nearly opaque purple red violet color; violet, berry, blackberry, vanilla nose; rich, berry, blackberry, vanilla palate; medium-plus finish  93 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

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Producer website
John Shafer and his family founded Shafer Vineyards, located in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley, in 1979. From the Shafers' first wine, a 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon,
their wines have won much acclaim. Today, the Shafers farm 200 acres of vineyard in the Stags Leap District, Carneros and Oak Knoll regions. Their flagship wine, Hillside Select,
is produced from selected blocks of the family's hillside vineyards and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Merlot, One Point Five
(Cabernet Sauvignon) and Relentless (a Syrah/Petite Sirah blend), which was named #1 wine of the year by Wine Spectator's "Top 100" of 2012.


Merlot variety: Wikipedia | Appellation America | CellarNotes


WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!


California Wines (Wine Institute of California)

California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley Wineries and Wine (Napa Valley Vintners) | Article in CellarTracker

Napa Valley

Napa Valley AVA

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