Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2022, Carneros, Napa Valley, California

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. The grapes are whole cluster pressed, and the juice is fermented entirely on wild yeast in individual barrels. 0% malolactic fermentation. Matured 14 months in 75% new French oak barrels and 25% in stainless steel barrels. The Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is kept on the lees a full 14 months, the lees stirred weekly to add a creamy richness to the wine. The crisp, natural acidity of this Chardonnay speaks to the fact that the wine was not put through malolactic fermentation. Winemaker’s comments: “2022 Red Shoulder Ranch is a refreshing, vibrant Chardonnay characterized by its lush, glass-filling aromas of white flowers, lemon zest, and exotic fruit. On the palate it offers a graceful balance of energy and richness, with flavors of white melon, apricot, ripe pineapple, flint, honey, and Crème Brûlée. With its pure, Chablis-like acidity this vintage offers effortless structure and elegant balance with a long, delightful finish.” 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, the vineyard was named in their honor,’ says Doug Shafer.