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Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Bottle

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2014 Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay

Release date: March 1, 2016
Suggested California retail: $52

“…one of the best non-malolactic, barrel-fermented Chardonnays in California …”
– Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

On 68 acres near the northern tip of San Francisco Bay, Shafer harvests fruit for this classic single vineyard wine.

“The picture-perfect 2014 vintage has produced a Chardonnay with elegant aromas and flavors of melon, honeysuckle, apricot, pineapple, citrus zest, and flint. This abundance of exotic fruit is completed with bright acidity, seamless balance, and a long, mouth-coating finish.”
– Shafer Winemaker Elias Fernandez


The Red Shoulder Ranch vineyard in the Carneros region offers a long, consistently cool growing season, which is ideal for retaining acidity in Chardonnay fruit. To focus on varietal flavors, Shafer uses only wild yeast for fermentation and does not put the wine through malolactic fermentation.

Shafer’s Carneros vineyard is home to countless gophers who love to feast on young vine roots. To contain this problem, Shafer has erected owl nesting boxes and hawk perches to encourage day and night rodent patrol.

“The Red-shouldered hawks and other birds of prey do such an outstanding job, we named the vineyard in their honor,” says Doug Shafer.

“Energy and focus the two elements that stand out in Shafer's 2014 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch. Lemon peel, white pepper and floral notes are some of the signatures. The 2014 is shaping up to be another jewel of a wine from Shafer.”
— Antonio Galloni,

Related Links

2014 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay Fact Sheet
2016 Current Releases
Red Shoulder Ranch® Story

Shafer Brochure
Finding Our Wines
Robert M. Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate

2014 Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay – Reviews

“Elegance and finesse define the pear, melon and honeysuckle flavors, which are lingering and persistent. The creamy texture features a touch of pithy citrus skin, adding to the nuance and complexity. Drink now through 2022.”
— James Laube, Wine Spectator

“… loads of tangerine oil, citrus blossom, a hint of apples and orange marmalade. The oak is subtle, the wine medium to full-bodied, pure and rich. (This is the official tasting note, but I shared two bottles with some friends of mine at the casual Market restaurant in St. Helena, and it was a huge hit.)”
— Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

“This marquee estate site supplies yet another gorgeous vintage of this powerful white, which opens with a crisp aroma of orange blossom. It follows in to the full-bodied palate, alongside layers of pear, pineapple and melon, all kept fresh by juicy acidity amid bites of oak and baking spice.”
— Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast

“Energy and focus the two elements that stand out in Shafer's 2014 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch. Lemon peel, white pepper and floral notes are some of the signatures. The 2014 is shaping up to be another jewel of a wine from Shafer.”
— Antonio Galloni,

“Medium gold color. Gorgeous nose of yellow flowers, apple slices, orange peel, dried apricot, honey and some mountain stream rocks. Chunky texture on the palate, almost chewy (14.9% alcohol) but the acidity helps balance it out. Straight-up delicious, too: yellow apple, peaches, oranges and pineapples, topped in chopped nuts, honeycomb and almond skin. A nice kick of rocks and minerals bounces off the oak-influenced elements. Almost dense at this point but it opens up a lot, and will surely continue to do so in the cellar. No maloactic fermentation, this is aged 14 months in 3/4 new French oak. The grapes come from a single vineyard in Carneros.”

Celebrating 20 years of Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay

This wine has reached an exciting milestone – its 20th vintage! In our new video Doug Shafer takes you to the vineyard where it all begins to show where the beauty in the bottle comes from.

Why Shafer Switched to Diam Corks in 2013 Merlot and Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay

What is a Diam cork?
A Diam cork is made from 100% natural cork that is finely ground and put through a cleaning process that, at the molecular level, eliminates TCA (the chemical compound that causes wines to be “corked”) and other microbial contaminants that produce off flavors. Wine corks are produced in France from this clean ground cork using an FDA-approved, food-grade binding agent. For more details on the process visit this URL:

Why is Shafer using Diam corks?
We don’t want a single bottle of Shafer wine to be corked. Ever. Over the past 30 years we have gone to extraordinary lengths to eliminate the presence of TCA in the natural corks we used and have been 98% to 99% successful. That’s not good enough. We want to be 100% TCA-free and using this cork will get us there.

What do you like about Diam corks?
We have tested Diam corks in trials for seven years and have come to believe the company’s guarantee that its corks are 100 percent free of TCA. In addition, these corks offer something else that natural corks cannot – a guarantee of the amount of oxygen the cork allows into the bottle over time. This is referred to as Oxygen Transfer Rate (OTR). Natural corks, by contrast, have inconsistent density and permeability, which means a variable amount of oxygen is allowed into the bottle. Using a Diam cork ensures that your wine won’t be “over the hill” before its time.

Why are Diam corks used in your Chardonnay and Merlot but not the other wines?
We have tested these corks for seven years and we like the results. Our Merlot and Chardonnay are wines that we know most consumers enjoy within two to five years of release. We continue to test these corks to see how they perform in terms of long-term aging.

How are Diam different from other composite corks?
Unlike other composite corks, Diam uses a safe, clean process to eliminate TCA from ground natural cork  at the molecular level – it’s the same process used to remove caffeine from coffee beans. Also, Diam engineers its cork density to guarantee a consistent rate at which oxygen is allowed into the bottle over time. This ensures that every bottle will age in your cellar at a similar rate.

Can Diam corks be recycled like natural corks?
Yes. Most corks collected in recycling bins are re-purposed to make cork flooring, as such, Diam is perfectly useful.

Can I trust the Diam corks in your wines?
Yes. We have tested these corks for seven years and would not use them it we did not fully believe they are what’s best for the wine.