Wine Advocate 90 points - The 2012 Merlot, which comes in at 15.5% natural alcohol, is a beauty. It’s 91% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest a touch of Malbec. The wine reveals notes of black cherries, tobacco leaf, mocha and darker-berried fruit with a hint of white chocolate. It’s ripe, medium to full-bodied, but fresh, elegant and well-delineated. This beauty should drink well for a decade or more. (Oct 2014)
Pull the cork on any bottle of Shafer Merlot and you will find a forward, stylish Merlot that takes center stage with all its appealing varietal fruit, not a Merlot that plays understudy to a Cabernet Sauvignon. Only small percentages of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are blended in to complement, but not overshadow, the Merlot itself. Taking advantage of the site-specific nature of this varietal, Shafer`s Merlot draws its grapes from selected vineyards throughout the Napa Valley, gaining complexity from the vineyard diversity. It is aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.