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Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Bottle

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2012 Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay

Release date: March 1, 2014
Suggested California retail: $50

“…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 2012 vintage gives the wine all the characters I love in this Chardonnay, just more of them. Your glass swims with floral aromas and flavors of white peach, honeysuckle, grapefruit peel, kiwi and toasted almond – a gorgeous, juicy bowl of fruit held together with pleasing minerality and lively, bright acidity.”
– 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.

"Gorgeous, honeyed … striking purity and texture as well as a delicious combination of tropical fruit, citrus and minerality. This beauty should drink well for 3 - 4 years”
– Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

Related Links

2012 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay Fact Sheet
2014 Current Releases
Red Shoulder Ranch® Story

Shafer Brochure
Finding Our Wines
Robert M. Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate,
October 2014

2012 Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay – Reviews

“Gorgeous, honeyed … striking purity and texture as well as a delicious combination of tropical fruit, citrus and minerality. This beauty should drink well for 3 - 4 years.”
— Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

“Pure, ripe, intense and elegant, offering a mix of green pear, apple, citrus and green fig, with a long, lingering finish.”
— James Laube, Wine Spectator

“… attractive, intense, apple, white peach, and ripe pear aroma; medium-full body; forward, rich, fleshy, apple and stone fruit flavors with firm acidity, nicely integrated oak, mineral notes, and some richness and plushness in the mouthfeel … very highly recommended.”
— California Grapevine

“Taking its accustomed place among the ripest and richest Chardonnays of the vintage, this latest of Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch bottlings steers in the direction of tropical fruit with a bit of citric piquancy for brightness. It is fleshy and quite full, and it holds nothing back …”
Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine

“… packs a serious punch. Butter, lemon, tropical fruit, smoke and matchstick form a deep, rich core in the 2012. The flavors are bright, focused and energetic in this impeccably balanced, vibrant Chardonnay. The combination of rich Napa Valley fruit and the brighter style Shafer is now seeking in the Red Shoulder Ranch add up to a highly appealing Chardonnay.”
—, Antonio Galloni

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Elegant Chardonnay

In the early 1990s Shafer discovered a bounty of rich, exotic fruit aromas and flavors in its Red Shoulder Ranch, a rolling vineyard within sight of San Francisco Bay.