This one surprised the hell out of me. I thought well beyond its expiration date, but this bottle is really drinking well. Plenty of oak and butter, but a core of still very crisp, tart fruit that is just electric. Much better now than it was early in its life (for my taste).
OK for older Cali chard, made in the big extracted style (not my fav), but well made, nose was very nice and palate was rich, caramelized fruit with the oak still obvious, thick mouthfeel, nothing brite about this but again pleasing, def'ly could taste the age on this one even though only 6 years old
Light to medium gold colored. Medium to full bodied with tropical fruits, oak and vanilla. Not a subtle wine, but somewhat restrained for a Napa chard. Nicely structured and layered, developing as it sits in the glass. Drink now-2012. Might be even better in a year, and should last to 2014.
No formal note, but this is a big, smooth California chardonnay that I continue to like a lot. This wine is very well-balanced. Yes, there's an oak flavor there, but so is a nice apple and pear core and solid acidity. Extremely smooth and elegant. I really like this chardonnay a lot.
Minimal tasting notes. Classic California Chardonnay nose of yellow tropical fruit, some solid minerality but loads of oak. Palate is less oak driven than the nose and shows more of that nice wet rock component that is often forgotten in this style of wine.
Nice medium straw color. Nose of sweet pineapple, ripe red apples, cherry pie filling, and a bit of vanilla. On the palate, gorgeous rich pear compote, some canned pineapple, balanced with a bit of peach, lemon peel and vanilla extract. Good long finish, nice layered complexity. This is really, really good - perhaps even a hair better than the last time I had it, although after checking, I scored it the same. The balance on this wine is extraordinary, and this wine is finally right in the prime of its drinking window. If you've got one of these, time to let 'er rip.
Lovely Cali Chard, the only challenge I have is that if this was $20 less I'd probably give this 94 points, not quite worth $60 Canadian - Deep gold, full bodied with a nose of peach, apple, butterscotch, caramel, butter and vanilla, very creamy, huge but balanced, probably could have used a few more years to add complexity, sweet, smooth on the palate with excellent length, outstanding (93 Points).
Nose: Aparagus, Lemon, Pear and a touch of sweet oak scent come forth. Palate: Green Apple, Pear and some nice mineral notes come through in this medium bodied Red Shoulder Ranch Chard. No over done at all and comes across as a very classic Napa Chardonnay. Finish: Pleasant fruit of Pineapple and Lemon in the finish with some floral and slight buttery notes underlying.
Despite the easy criticism of the publication, I really like the Wine Spectator and look forward to each issue. In the latest issue (July 31, 2009) and in what has to be the most ironic column of his entire career, Matt Kramer asks use to look beyond the hype that goes with marketing wine and instead to focus on wines of substance, to focus on wines without the hype. Hello, McFly, anybody home - Mr. Kramer apparently you overlooked the obvious, but the primary goal of the Spectator is to hype wine.
If you happen to be on the Shafer Vineyards mailing list, then you know how good they are at marketing. The yearly catalog is one very slick production that makes you feel privilege to be able to order their wines. Despite the hype, I really like their wines and the Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is no exception. They seem year after year to turn out wines that are white-picket-fence perfect, nothing to blow you away, but nothing to disappoint you either.
Straw and gold color. Aromas showing a little age, but in pleasant way - floral, honey, a little tropical fruit. Butter, green apple, lemon, oak flavors with enough acid to give some structure. Worked really well with roasted chicken where rosemary was the primary spice. A very nice wine.
Decanted, drunk at about 15C. Lovely pear and some citrus notes on the nose, a little minerality and some butter. On the palate, good acidity and a citrus attack, with butter mid palate. A toasty, oaky, satisfying medium long finish.
A friend inpression was wine is smokey. I surmise this is from from the barrel toast. We both agreed it was good. A different style of Cali chard than I have previously had. Some acidity but not to much, fruit was nice, not as crisp as I somehow anticipated it should be (why, I don't know) and the balance between the two was, while not optimum, was still pretty decent. I like this style of chard. Based on this tasting I would buy Shafer Red Shoulders again. Aging? I think it's pretty much ready now and would not give it more than 1-3 years in the bottle. A solid 90 and recommended.
Popped and poured. Oak quite pronounced at first but, over a few hours, it falls into better balance with the deep fruit, spice and caramel notes here. This is rich, unctuous and long, but it somehow manages to fall short of being too over the top. (I believe there's no malo here and that 25% or so of the blend is done in stainless rather than oak.) It's quite complex. Very, very well made and interesting, but, despite all that, sort of missing a wow factor. Certainly outstanding, just not thrilling. 90-91.
Still one of my faves. Big, big chardonnay, with plenty of oak and in a very much New World style. Not overdone, though, and very smooth and well-made. I actually think this will be even better in a year or two. Should get a point or two better when some of the acidic edge rounds off.
Butter is much more apparent this time around. Oak as well is a little heavier. Not sure I’m liking this as much as the first time I had this vintage some 8+ months ago. Will not give another score until I have consumed the last bottle.
At initial pour, I tought that the wine was corked. Had nose of hard nickel metal mixed with mud. After I got over it and sipped it, was quite refreshing. Light, crisp, fruity. Not overly buttery. Hints of oak. Well balanced.
Popped and poured. Second tasting of this vintage and it confirmed our impression - noticeably different style and flavor profile than past vintages. Medium straw-colored with appealing fruit notes on the nose. Tropicals have come forward in the mid-mouth but flavors are quite one-dimensional. Not a sipping wine - highly aciidic (much more than past vintages) and needs food.
Nose shows floral, honeyed and white fruit aromas. Lovely smooth attack of apple, some butter and subtle spice. Finish shows spice and more nutty flavours. Lovely balance, good freshness and not too oaky at all.
Did not have as much acidity as I would have liked. The wine was well made but lacked a sense of place or anything else to set it apart or really make it interesting. Just seemed like a quality chardonnay without a personality.
Very nice golden hue for color but the oak on the nose seem to dominate over the 3 hours the bottle was consumed. As the wine warmed it subsided a little and the pear, lemon peel, floral notes, and hint of butter appeared, but wrapped in oak.
Nice texture and acidity on the palate and all the profiles on the nose were apparent along with some tart apples on the finish, but only when the wine warmed a bit. Nice finish but the oak lingers a little to long for my taste. However for comparable type wines that I have had, this does stand head and shoulders above them in a good way.
Not as powerful as in the past. This is an elegant restrained style with balance. Ripe pears and peaches predominate, but what is most notable is a sense of proportion and balance with a lighter touch. Silky. Lighter use of oak than in the past. 14.9% alcohol which peeks through on the finish.
Review of 2006 Pinot Noir (Think Cafe Restaurant, Chicago, IL): Sight: Clear wine of a light straw color. A high viscosity wine. Nose: White peaches, white flowers, lillies, perfume. Fresh cust pears then came forward along with some pineapple notes. Overall this was a very impressive and killer nose. Later on butterscotch (minor) and lychee made an appearance as well. Taste: Rich apricot and pear explosion. Lush, sweet (the sweetness fades fairly quickly). Lychee notes. Some oak (minor) as well. Overall: I was most impressed. 93-94 points.
Cali Pinot at Think Cafe (Think Cafe, Chicago, IL): Very slight oak hints that disappear pretty quickly, nice grapefruit, lemon, strong pear--just an impressive bouquet of quite depth. Crisp and vibrant lemon on the front along with other fleshy white fruits, good acid with just enough weight (only a kiss of creaminess) to provide rich flavors. Finish hangs on quite a while...each part of the experience presents well-woven flavors and meld together perfectly. Certainly an outstanding bottle.
taste: purly balanced with a mineral base that provides support for ginger tones, apple tones, peaches, and white florals with crisp acidity
overall: Great balance to this wine. On the opposite spectrum of the big and heavy chards that come out of california, it makes more use of precision in taking on a burgundian style and vigor that almost wants to be the california version of a puligny-montrachet.
We had the wine al fresco (which was not the best showcase) but given that hurricane Ike completely passed us by we were happy to be sitting outside at all. Perhaps the most impressive attribute of this wine is that there is not a single element that is overblown. Crystal yellow in color. The nose changes frequently between lemon curd, vanilla, white flowers, and green apples. Crisp acidity without being too much. Lemon, green apples, and minerals in the taste and then you notice the oak highlights. Lingering mid palate finish.
14.9% alcohol. no malolactic fermentation. too much oak for me in this wine, and maybe a little too much acid. i get green apple and a lot of lemon. however, i understand the general appeal, and jane likes it more than i do. it's surprisingly medium bodied, and relatively light on it's feet, which saves it.
Visit to Napa; 6/7/2008-6/10/2008 (Napa Valley): After tasting a few other chardonnays that were remarkably underwhelming (a surprising number overoaked, and a few just plain bland), we were glad to pick this dependable favorite off the wine list at Market in St. Helena. It was, on one level, just what the doctor ordered: a perfect level of oak (certainly there, but no overwhelming vanilla or charred notes), nice body, etc. Good lemon curd, mineral, and with an interesting note of pistachio and vanilla, creamy mouthfeel but not dominated creamy flavors, more lemon preserves, just a delicate touch of oak and some bready elements. Showing more minerality than I've seen in the Red Shoulder Ranch before. Very well done. My only hesitation is that it wasn't as good as the RSR usually is, it was kind of a middle-of-the-road bottle as they usually go. Still excellent, but in the end not among the most exciting whites we had on this trip.
Fabulous! More Burgundian than Napa. Not buttery, not oaky, not creamy. Crisp, clean without being edgy. Perfect balance, great mouth feel. Aromatic without being perfumed. Complex profusion of flavors lasting into a long finish.
Grapefruit, vanilla and pear on the nose. Initially on the palate there is mouth puckering citrus notes and acidity, that gives way to an interesting banana peel flavor. Good balance, complexity on the finish. This is a great example of a “not too oaky” Chardonnay for the people who claim to “not like Chardonnay because it’s too okay!” foodandwineblog.com
Tasting at Shafer: Shafer purchased this vineyard, named for the red shouldered hawks that frequent the area, in 1989 and began producing the wine in 1994. It's located near Domaine Carneros, though since there's no signage, it's difficult to find. Pale yellow color. Apple and lemon aromas followed by complex floral notes. The palate has food firendly acidity, with apple and lemon zest flavors, picking up a slight tropical edge as it moves across the midpalate. Long finish with well integrated oak tones.
Did not decant. This seemed to be quite a change from the 2004 and 2005. This wine was not as big as its predecessors and almost seemed to be a different style. I liked the 2004 and 2005 much better. This was balanced and had some fruit but lacked the depth and fullness of prior years. I can only hope that this will put on some weight in the bottle but I don't think it will. Hope the change from prior vintages was solely dur to the vintage.
Had a glass of this from an open bottle at Cesares. I always thought this wasnt going to be a wine I liked because I assumed it was a huge oak fruit Cali chard. I was really surprised at how balanced this was. There is definitely oak to it as there is a good creaminess to the wine, but I think this shows excellent fruit with a little bit of acidity to balance the oak. I was really pleased with this wine.
Oh, so this is what really good California Chardonnay is suppose to taste like. Nose changed almost every time I took a smell. First it was all vanilla, then pear, then cream, then vanilla again. Medium bodied. Fruit, acid, and oak in great balance with the fruit more pronounced. Pear, apple, cream, and vanilla in the taste. Very lingering finish on the mid palate. Really good purity of flavor, not a single off taste.