Shafer 2013 Chardonnay, Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros
The 70 acre Red Shoulder Ranch was purchased by Doug Shafer back in 1988. Carefully selected, small-cluster Chardonnay clones were planted and since the first vintage in 1994 this wine has been a standout among California Chards. It's always barrel fermented using only wild yeasts. The wine matures on the lees for 14 months and since it undergoes no malolactic fermentation this Chardonnay retains a lively natural acidity. The vineyard is named for its Red-shouldered Hawks and other birds of prey, who play an important role in Shafer's natural farming practices. This 2013 is a triple 90+ point scorer including Robert Parker who scored it 94 saying "The 2013 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch looks like one of their all-time greats, and to date they’ve all been very impressive wines. The crisp tangerine, honeyed citrus, pear and white peach notes are prominent in this beautifully fruited medium to full-bodied Chardonnay that shows additional orange marmalade notes in the mouth. It’s textured, crisp acid, from having not gone though malolactic, gives it focus and zest, and the overall impression is one of brilliant richness subtly touched by smoke, but letting the fruit dominate. Year in year out, this is one of the superstar wineries, not only in Napa Valley and all of California, but in the entire world."