2018 Shafer TD-9 Napa Valley

2018 Shafer TD-9 Napa Valley

¥10,890 (incl. tax)

What’s the story behind the name of Shafer’s proprietary red blend, you may ask? TD-9 commemorates…. the tractor John Shafer operated in order to cultivate the hillside that would become Shafer Vineyards. Because Shafer knew little about farming when he bought the land, learning to drive the ancient TD-9 International Harvester tractor symbolized the risks he took in starting that new life. TD-9 is similarly bold, for this is a Bordeaux blend in which Merlot is dominant (56%) and Cabernet (23%) and Malbec (21%) play a lesser, though significant, role. The winemaker describes this wine as “an aromatic feast of summer berries, rose petal, rhubarb, raspberry, and black cherry jam. In the mouth this racy red blend is all juicy, briary red and black berry fruit that’s spicy and energetic with a structure of ripe tannins and a long, plush finish.” Critics love this wine: 93 points from both James Suckling and Jeb Dunnuck; 91 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Winery


Winery Description

In the Stags Leap District, Cabernet Sauvignon is king. The well-drained volcanic soils and climate cooled by regular San Pablo Bay fogs produce cabs that are silky, supple and voluptuous: “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” While the Stags Leap District is now world class, when John Shafer moved his family there from Chicago in 1973, it was a place of rocky hillsides and rundown vineyards and orchards. At that time, “up-valley” was the focus of premium winemaking whereas this rocky corner of the valley did not even have an agreed-upon name. But as the land was affordable and had supported vineyards in the past, John Shafer decided it was the place to pursue his dream in wine.

Shafer Vineyards is a moderately-sized, family-owned operation whose pursuit of quality in both viticulture and winemaking helped define not only their own winery but the Stags Leap District as well. At the start it was just John and his son Doug doing everything, from terracing the hillsides, to planting vines, to making and selling the wine. Doug was only 17 when he began helping his father transform the old farm into a modern vineyard. He went on to study enology at UC Davis and became Shafer’s winemaker in 1983. Success came quickly to Shafer Vineyards, with its very first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon winning the prestigious San Francisco Vintner’s Club taste-off. Shafer’s Hillside Select, the winery’s showcase made from 100% Cabernet grown on the steep slopes surrounding the winery, became a benchmark that epitomized the complexity, richness and elegance of the Stags Leap District. While Shafer built its reputation on its Cabernets, the winery also produces Merlot and Syrah from estate vineyards just outside the Stags Leap District as well as Chardonnay from Carneros. Shafer’s 2008 Relentless, a blend of Syrah and Petite Syrah was selected as Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year for 2012.  Despite success and high demand for its wines, Shafer Vineyards chose to remain small enough to be manageable, capping growth at about 32,000 cases. In addition to John and Doug Shafer, that team includes Elias Fernandez, who joined in 1984 and has been winemaker since 1994. The charm of drinking a glass of Shafer wine comes from knowing that the folks who made it are so intimately acquainted with the land, the vineyards and even the individual vines. In this age of global conglomerates, it is a quality that deserves to be cherished.

About this Wine


Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Napa Valley
Winery Shafer
Vintage 2018
Color Red
Varietal(s) 56% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 30.0
Case Size 35.5 x 26.5 x 31.0
Alcohol 15.3%
Product Code SH18TD9
UPC 013528900028

Owning & Enjoying


Tasting notes

93 points – James Suckling; 93 points – Jeb Dunnuck; 91 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. 

A vibrant nose of red fruits, black olives, graphite and licorice lead to an expansive mouthful of blackberry, plum, earth and coffee. Fine-grained tannins and lively acidity and minerality provide structure and a long finish. 

Production


Vinification

Aged 20 months in 100% new French oak.

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