The editors of Wine Spectator have named a Napa Valley syrah, the Shafer Vineyards 2008 Relentless, as the magazine’s Wine of the Year for 2012. Relentless is a blend of 80 percent syrah and 20 percent petite sirah. The wine, with a release price of $60, scored 96 points from Wine Spectator.
“Everyone at the winery is thrilled and honored by this recognition,” said Shafer president Doug Shafer. “We did not see this coming and have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and congratulations that have been coming through phone calls and emails.”
Shafer and his father, John Shafer, the winery’s founder, named the wine “Relentless” in the late 1990s to honor longtime winemaker Elias Fernandez and his relentless dedication to quality in the vineyards and cellar.
“We’d like to offer heartfelt thanks to the editors of Wine Spectator for supporting a syrah and for recognizing our efforts,” Doug Shafer said. “An award like this means a great deal to our cellar team, who just celebrated their 16th harvest together. It also comes as a huge honor to my dad, Elias and me, who have worked through a lot of ups and downs together for nearly 30 years.”
The dramatic scope of what the Shafer team has worked through is detailed in Doug Shafer’s memoir “A Vineyard in Napa,” just released by University of California Press.
Following Relentless, Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of 2012 are:
2. Château de St.-Cosme, Gigondas 2010, 95 points, $41, 3,330 cases made, Rhône Valley, France.
3. Two Hands, shiraz, Bella’s Garden 2010, 95 points, $69, 4,000 cases made, Barossa Valley, Australia.
4. Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010, 98 points, $128, 5,600 cases made, Rhône Valley, France.
5. Château Guiraud, Sauternes 2009, 96 points, $60, 11,000 cases made, Bordeaux, France.
6. Château Léoville Barton, St.-Julien 2009, 95 points, $105, 21,000 cases made, Bordeaux, France.
7. Shea Vineyard Estate, pinot noir, 2009, 94 points, $40, 3,555 cases made, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
8. Beringer, cabernet sauvignon, Knights Valley Reserve 2009, 94 points, $45, 3,602 cases made, Sonoma County.
9. Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, Brunello di Montalcino 2007, 94 points, $60, 3,750 cases made, Tuscany, Italy.
10. Achával-Ferrer, Malbec Mendoza Finca Bella Vista 2010, 95 points, $120, 1,250 cases imported, Mendoza, Argentina.
According to a press release from the Wine Spectator, these wines were selected from a pool of more than 17,000 wines reviewed by editors in the magazine’s independent blind tastings. The four criteria used to make the final selections include: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by cases made or imported); and what Wine Spectator calls the “X factor” — the excitement generated by a
rising-star producer, a benchmark wine or a significant milestone for a wine region.