Shafer and Merlot: A Love That Never Died

From fame, to failure, to redemption, Merlot has lived it all. Its long history as producing some of the most sought after wines in the world aside, Merlot grew to prominence in the U.S in the 90’s and grew and grew and grew. Vintners were scrambling to plant and harvest as much of the varietal as they could, becoming more of an entity than a grape.
Then in 2004, the Oscar-nominated movie Sideways changed the way Merlot was perceived by loyal consumers. The movie’s main character, blasted Merlot as insipid and flabby and touting Pinot Noir as a superior replacement. Movie-goers reacted, and Merlot acreage in Sonoma County dropped by nearly 50 percent.
Dedicated wineries like Shafer Vineyards never wavered from their commitment to Merlot, however. Take a moment and view Shafer President, Doug Shafer’s video about their long lasting commitment to their production of Merlot.

About Shafer Merlot
While Shafer Merlot is officially designated with the Napa Val­ley appellation, its fruit is sourced from within just a three mile radius in the Valley’s cooler southern end. Much of the fruit for their Merlot comes from a hilly Shafer-owned vineyard informally dubbed “School Bus,” located about a quarter mile due south of Stags Leap District. The remainder is culti­vated within Stags Leap District by growers Shafer has worked with closely for years.
Shafer has planted Merlot since 1981 and the one thing they have learned in all that time is Merlot is one finicky grape. A bit too much rain or a touch of frost early in the season can easily result in less than ideal fruit so Shafer has learned to handle the vines with extreme care. Early on each season the vineyard team culls any less developed fruit, leaving only the best-of-the-best on the vine. This ensures that the wine ex­hibits lush, ripe, mouth-filling flavors that are true to varietal character.
Look for Shafer Merlot in your local wine department for $54.99.

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