Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch vineyard in Carneros is home to countless gophers who love to feast on young vine roots. To contain this problem, Shafer erected owl nesting boxes and hawk perches to encourage day and night rodent patrol. The Red-shouldered hawks and other birds of prey do such an outstanding job, the vineyard was named in their honour.
This vineyard offers a long, consistently cool growing season that is ideal for retaining acidity in Chardonnay fruit. Grapes were harvested by hand, then whole cluster pressed. To focus on varietal flavours, Shafer only uses wild yeast for fermentation and does not put the wine through malolactic fermentation. The majority of the wine spends 14 months aging in new French oak barrels. The remainder matures in stainless steel “barrels” (plenty of fine lees contact from the low horizontal profile, but no oak influence).
“The 2017 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch is a very beautiful wine. The warm vintage produced a Chardonnay that is a bit richer and more generous than has become the norm here in recent years, but the style of the wine is unchanged in its citrus and floral driven profile.”
(91-93) points, Antonio Galloni vinous.com, Dec 2018