This is a wine that encapsulates the strengths that make Shafer one of Napa’s great wineries: the skill and intuition of winemaker Elias Fernandez, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Shafer family. A couple harvests ago, Elias came to the table with a proposal. He wanted to make a wine with the best fruit from a small collection of the winery’s vineyard sites just south of Stags Leap District. Elias didn’t want to be bound by variety or percentages. He wanted excellence. Needless to say, it was a very good thing that John and Doug Shafer accepted that proposal.
The name references John Shafer’s early days as a Napa pioneer who, in the space of a few months in 1973, went from riding morning commuter trains in Chicago to teaching himself to drive an ancient tractor (a TD-9) left behind in his vineyard property’s drive shed.
Elias selected fruit from Shafer’s hillside vineyards in Stags Leap District and Yountville, as well as from a vineyard in the foothills of the Vaca Mountains just south of Stags Leap. You can expect the components of the wine to change a little from year to year. In 2017, the final blend comprises 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Malbec. TD-9 is an opportunity to take the best fruit from these vineyards each year to create the most compelling wine the vintage can offer.
“Rich and full of dense and spicy dark plum, dried blackberry and mocha flavours. Dark chocolate and smokey notes show on the ripe finish, with dried savoury herbal accents. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Drink now through 2023. 8,000 cases made.”
92 points, Wine Spectator, Feb 2020
“The 2017 TD-9 is juicy, expressive and pliant, with soft edges that seem to push the fruit forward. Succulent and racy in style, the 2017 should drink well right out of the gate. Stylistically, the 2017 is a bit more lush and overt than the 2016 tasted alongside it. The blend is 63% Merlot, 22% Malbec and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.”
(90-93) points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Dec 2018
“Moving to the reds, the 2017 TD-9 Proprietary Red Blend is mostly Merlot yet includes 22% Malbec and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep purple-hued with sweet aromas of jammy blackberries, spiced cherries, herbes de Provence, and dried flowers, it is a wonderfully textured, medium to full-bodied, balanced red with sweet tannins and a great finish. It’s going to evolve nicely for 10-12 years. 2020-2032.”
92 points, JebDunnuck.com, Jan 2020
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