August 8, 2010 - lots of butterscotch, sweet texture and taste, has lost some of the acid balance - still drinks well but probably near the end of the road.
March 2, 2008 - stong butterscotch flavors overpower the hints of fruit that are left. Finishes with a bit of toasted biscuit.
January 17, 2008 - That’s it for the 96 Red Shoulder, it’s my last bottle, and clearly the weakest and most mature of the bottles that I’ve opened. This example shows clear signs of thick butterscotch, caramel . Little fresh fruit, the butterscotch components overwhelm all others. Ragged finish with some lemon and elevated acidity. It was best within the first 30 minutes but then degraded after that. If this is a representative example, then the 96 is now done.
August 21, 2007 - A wonderful, mature chardonnay. Flavor remains fresh, creamy and spicy with fine citrus notes and minimal oak. Great color and a nice, long finish. It is a great surprise that a 1996 Chardonnay would be as great as the 1996 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch after 11 years.
April 5, 2007 - After ten years, this wine is beginning to show it’s age. No tasting note from this opening, but the bottle showed a clear oxidized character suggesting that this bottle is in decline.
March 19, 2006 - This wine continues to just blow me away. Ten years old, and it’s just rich, thick and creamy. Button notes with lemon zest and citrus in mouth mixed with smoke . A candy like finish. This is big and opposite of what you would want from a white burgundy, but such a nice balance of flavors. Best within the first hour and a half. I recall a conversation with Doug Shafer many years ago, he was surprised how well the Red Shoulder has done over the years, this is clearly testament to how well it can get. At it’s peak.
Day 2: Leaner with the fruit elements in teh background but the butterscoth in teh foreground. It's possible that he candy like elemnts have grown in intensive, or just missing the fruit component, take front row. Not nearly as good and balanced as on the first day, but one of the rare bottels of wine that remains interesting and good on day 2.
August 28, 2005 - I’m actually very impressed, I was concerned that the 96 might have peaked, but I was blown away by a great Chard at it’s peak. The nose seems fat with light butter vanilla pear and exotic fruits. After about thirty minutes, the nose did seem to recede somewhat, but in the mouth it’s intense. Same flavors, but with added lemon zest and more exotic fruits. It’s very full in the mouth and finish with a medium length on the finish. The oak is well integrated. I’ve usually found that the Red Shoulder tends to peak out at around 7 years, so it’s great to see some vintages that go beyond.
July 20, 2004 - Deep golden in color, this opens with a pretty nose of honey and mellow oak. The body is a complex mixture of pear, apple and fig. The finish is long and tangy with the slightest hint of harshness. It took 30 minutes after opening for the excessive oakiness to wash-out. This is a very good chardonnay at its peak. Drink Up!
March 23, 2000 - outstanding
October 16, 1999 - excellent-outstanding