“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. It’s the product of visionary John Shafer, who started in 1978 after a successful corporate career. He had the foresight and visionary genius to believe in the microclimates and soils of Stags Leap of the southern Napa Valley. When his son Doug came on board with their brilliant winemaker and Mr. Everything, Elias Fernandez, things soared in quality and diversity. Today, this is a winery that does everything about as perfect as can be. They have kept their feet, heads and egos grounded, and continue to kick proverbial ass with every vintage. […] Another sensational wine from the Shafer portfolio is the Relentless. This has been a terrific Rhône Ranger offering since it was first released in 1999, and it continues to be primarily a 89%-97% Syrah blend and the rest Petite Sirah. Like the Hillside Select, it’s aged 32 months in new oak prior to being bottled. I have no idea how long these wines will last, but they’re fabulous to drink young, and certainly 20-25 years is well within reach of just about every top vintage of Relentless.”
Robert Parker on Shafer Vineyards, Oct 2014
“There are very few wineries in California where you can say that the original wine owners and winemaking staff are totally intact and have been, in this case, since 1978. The estate was founded by John Shafer and run with great precision by himself and more recently by his son Doug and Elias Fernandez. The team has been working together for 38 years since the first vintage in 1978. Six years earlier in 1972, John Shafer bought the property and established the vineyard in the hillsides of Stags Leap. They produce about 30,000 cases of wine – all of it noteworthy. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is true first-growth quality and their Rhône Ranger wine made from Syrah and Petite Sirah, called Relentless, is about as profound as you can get from those varietals.”
Robert Parker on Shafer Vineyards, Oct 2016
With this Syrah, Shafer honours winemaker Elias Fernandez, whose pursuit of quality has marked nearly two decades at Shafer Vineyards. Multi-layered and expansive, Relentless combines the concentrated black cherry and blackberry flavours of Syrah with black pepper spice and an earthiness derived from Petite Sirah, both planted in Shafer’s Hillside vineyard on the southern border of Stags Leap district. A deep, dark, delicious wine, Relentless is aged for approximately 36 months in French oak barrels.
“The 2016 Relentless is every bit as stellar as it was last year. Silky, nuanced and beautifully persistent in the glass, the 2016 is super-refined. A natural tendency towards extroverted power is nicely tempered in this super-polished and highly nuanced Syrah/Petite Sirah blend from Shafer.”
(92-95) points, Antonio Galloni vinous.com, Dec 2018