Shafer ‘Relentless’ Syrah 2018
This wine honors long-time Shafer Winemaker Elias Fernandez and his relentless pursuit of quality. Sourced from ridgetop vineyards adjacent to the southern border of Stags Leap District, the grapes for Relentless are a proprietary blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah.
Vineyard Locations Ridgetop and foothills sites along the Vaca Mountains just south of Stags Leap District
2018 Growing Season A lengthy, cool, steady growing season created ideal conditions for the fruit to hang on the vine a long time in the summer sun developing rich color, alluring aromas, and luxuriant flavors.
Varietal Composition 76% Syrah, 24% Petite Sirah
Brix at Harvest 24.0° – 26.0°
Cooperage 30 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels (Allier & Tronçais)
Case Production 3,300
“The ideal 2018 vintage has produced a Relentless that balances richness and vivacity. There’s heft and structure along with mouth-coating flavors that go on and on. Uncork this bottle and you’ll find layers of blackberry compote, red and black spice, dried black fruit, black tea, tobacco, and earthiness. All this liquid midnight comes with an undercarriage of ripe tannin that promises much more beauty and opulence in the decades ahead.” — Elias Fernandez
98 Points – Jeb Dunnuck
The 2018 Relentless looks to be just about sensational, offering a dense purple color as well as rich, loaded notes of blackberries, currants, smoked meats, peppery spice, and violets. Reminding me of a great Cornas on steroids with its gamy, exotic character paired with beautiful richness, it has fabulous purity, ripe, polished tannins, and a great finish. This will undoubtedly be a great vintage for this cuvée, and my money is on it being one of the best yet.
97 Points – James Suckling
A young wine with superb depth and polish that shows great depth and brightness. Full and focused with blue fruit and long, fine tannins that are compact and energetic. Slate. Graphite. Sophisticated and curated. So beautiful to try now, but be patient and Best after 2026.
96 Points – Tasting Panel
In its 20th vintage – and possibly its most dynamic – this blend of 76% Syrah and 24% Petite Syrah aged 30 months in new, 60-gallon French oak barrels. Teeth-gripping, chalky tannins and dried violets flourish while white-peppered blueberry preserves and anise envelop the palate, whose balanced and structured density is mind-blowing.
94 Points – Wine Spectator
A compelling blend that marries deep structure with richness and polish. Features accents of black cherry, grilled anise and smoked pepper, with refined tannins on the finish.