Shafer 2006 "Relentless"
“Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil.”
........................... Lord Byron
For many people, the Easter season is a time of transformation. And “Relentless” is a wine you may want to enjoy with your Easter dinner, because it will certainly transform the experience into something memorable. At $60 this wine is not one I would normally review as the Mizer. But I found a Shafer 2006 “Relentless” available for $30 as an “end of bin” special. The wine was such a delicious and enjoyable experience that I feel obligated to at least suggest you keep alert for it when shopping and, hopefully, you too may pick up a bargain priced bottle.
Shafer vineyards is in Napa Valley, California (good weather, good “dirt”). “Relentless” is 84% Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz ) and 16% Petite Sirah. Petite Sirah is not a miniaturized version of the Syrah grape. It is a different varietal. To make things confusing, Petite Sirah could be a field blend of syrah, zinfandel, carignan and other grapes. Or it could be Durif, a cross of peloursin and syrah created in France in the late 1800’s. The only reason I’m going into such detail here is to demonstrate that Petite Syrah (the grape) can be different from vineyard to vineyard, or label to label (not to mention other obvious factors such as “terroir” and how the grape is made into wine). With DNA testing, these things can be established, but all I care about is the end product and Shafer vineyards excel at putting out a truly remarkable end product in their “Relentless.”
At first taste, the wine is like its name: Relentless. It is in your face, bold and big, dark purple in the glass and offering a pronounced dark chocolate nose. The wine has texture. It is smooth, almost creamy, pleasantly viscous. Simply put: it feels good in the mouth. The dark chocolate nose leads to its taste in the drinking. It offers unsweetened tastes of dark mocha, melted chocolate. But I vacuum pumped the bottle to enjoy the unfinished wine later. Later became two days! And tasting the wine again, I was witness to its transformation. The mocha was more pronounced. The dark chocolate became like dark chocolate covered cherries. There was a hint of rum raisin in the nose and a hint of it and cola in the taste.
The big, bold, in your face “Relentless” transformed into an exquisitely soft and balanced wine with rich, deep flavors and a sophisticated balance of fruit balanced tannins. Drink it now through 2021. Parker gives it 92 points, CellarTracker averages 91.3 points. Everyone is gushing over this wine, and, frankly, so am I. I see this wine as an accompaniment to slow braised short-ribs with a thick, tomato sauce reduction. But I also see this wine as an accompaniment to itself and your favorite lady. A taste of wine, a brush of the lips, an appreciation for life.
A Votre Sante!
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