For a good many years, we have been taken with this winery's ways with this grape, and once again Shafer's preoccupations with richness find perfect expression in this juicy and fruit-laden Merlot. Deep and defined and brimming with cherries and very sweet oak, this working is uncannily refined for the ripe wine that it is, and it sports a sense of sophistication than transcends its similarly big-bodied mates. It is so plump and fleshy that it can be enjoyed now, but there is no soft underbelly here, and it will improve over the mid-term.
Shafer’s Cabernet is so dominant, it’s sometimes forgotten how good their Merlot can be. The wines are dependably dry, rich and balanced, as the excellent ’05 demonstrates. It’s soft and drinkable now, but rich and sweet in tannins that frame cherry, currant, cola, licorice and vanilla flavors. Will reward cellaring through 2011.
(includes 8% cabernet sauvignon and 6% cabernet franc) Good ruby-red. Spicy red fruits and cocoa powder on the nose. Supple and silky on the palate, with fresh, nicely delineated flavors of redcurrant, flowers, spices and tobacco. Very nicely balanced wine, finishing with rather suave tannins and some lingering oakiness. (ST)
The 2005 Merlot, which has 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc in the blend, is a sensual, elegant style of wine. Soft, richly fruity, with notes of herb, mocha, coffee bean, and plenty of berry fruit, the wine has crisp acidity and a good finish. (RP)
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