Here’s a Merlot with all the hallmarks of Shafer’s approach to Cabernet. It’s big, ripe, flamboyant, oaky, complex and immediately enjoyable. Cherries and blueberries are the flavors, accented by sumptuous sweet vanilla. The tannic structure is sweetly rich.
The 2003 Merlot was performing beautifully out of bottle. An elegant blend of 85% Merlot and nearly equal portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it possesses a refined deep ruby/purple color along with scents of berry fruit, sweet cherries, and hints of smoke and mocha. Drink this lovely Merlot over the next 6-7 years.
Good red-ruby color. Wild aromas of bitter cherry, spice cake, tobacco, meat and leather; conveys a strong impression of soil. Supple, pliant and deep; round but firm. This boasts a lovely sugar/acid balance and firm underlying structure. Intriguing hints of minerals, fresh herbs, leather, tobacco and mint on the long finish. Merlot with real personality, which is hard to find in California.
Elias Fernandez offers the gentle side of merlot in this soft, smooth red. The bitter almond savor of the tannins balances the sweet toastiness of oak. There's a vinous flavor at the core, to enjoy with a steak.
Shafer checks in with all of the ripeness, richness and ready oak that we have come to expect in its wines, and this impressively concentrated, full-bodied effort comes with an extra measure of tannin and heat. It marries the sweet, slightly frontal, cherryish fruit of Merlot with a bit of Cabernet structure, and, while we would argue against pulling its cork straight away, its balance, depth and ample stuffing ensure that it will develop quite well for three to six years.
Plenty of ripe, rich, concentrated currant, cedary oak, anise and earthy leather notes give this a solid foundation. The texture is a touch grainy and the tannins stick out on the finish. Best to decant.
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