Shafer Vineyards traces its beginnings to 1972 when John Shafer left a 23-year career in the publishing industry and, with his family, moved to the Napa Valley to pursue a second career in wine. After purchasing a 210-acre estate in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District, the Shafer family faced the arduous task of replanting the existing vineyards, which dated to the 1920s, and terracing the steep and rocky hillsides, eventually expanding vineyard acreage to its current 50 acres.
Evolving from grape growers to vintners, the Shafers crushed their first Cabernet grapes in 1978 and began construction on their winery a year later.
The first Shafer Cabernet became a benchmark, winning the acclaimed San Francisco Vintners Club taste-off upon release and, over a decade later taking first place in an international blind tasting held in Germany, where it outranked such wines as Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau Palmer. Doug Shafer became winemaker in 1983 after graduating from the University of California at Davis with a degree in enology and viticulture. A year later Elias Fernandez joined the winery as assistant winemaker. Together Doug and Elias have worked closely to forge the Shafer style of quality, consistency and elegance.
TD-9 is a proprietary blend that celebrates a bold move. In 1973, in the space of a few months, John Shafer went from riding morning commuter trains in Chicago to teaching himself to drive a TD-9 tractor in his Napa Valley vineyard. He’d never grown grapes or made wine in his life. That spirit of risk-taking and adventure still guides Shafer today and inspired the creation of this new wine.
“Vibrant, complex aromas of ripe red and black fruit, lavender, and herbs fill the glass followed by pure, energetic flavors of dried cherry, blackberry, strawberry, licorice, and cocoa all pulled together with wet slate minerality, clean acidity, and the ripe, seamless tannins that are the hallmarks of this vintage”
— Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez
'Celebrating 30 years of consistent quality and both critical and commercial success, this family run winery remains one of the most admirable operations in California. Shafer routinely fashions exceptional wines from their Stags Leap vineyards. Moreover, they have long been the reference point for what can be achieved in Stags Leap. My highest compliments to this great winery.' Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Wine EnthusiastBlending 62% Merlot, 22% Malbec and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, winemaker Elias Fernandez shows his skill, producing a thick, earthy and spicy red with vibrant red fruit. Ripe firm tannins add weight and power to the full-bodied blockbuster, as toasted oak seals the finish.
Wine SpectatorRich and full of dense and spicy dark plum, dried blackberry and mocha flavors. Dark chocolate and smoky notes show on the ripe finish, with dried savory herbal accents. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Drink now through 2023. 8,000 cases made.
Jeb DunnuckMoving to the reds, the 2017 TD-9 Proprietary Red Blend is mostly Merlot yet includes 22% Malbec and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep purple-hued with sweet aromas of jammy blackberries, spiced cherries, herbes de Provence, and dried flowers, it is a wonderfully textured, medium to full-bodied, balanced red with sweet tannins and a great finish. It's going to evolve nicely for 10-12 years.
VinousThe 2017 TD-9 is pretty, floral and nicely lifted, with more of an aromatic touch than the first vintages. On the palate, the wine is a bit light, though, and lacks the customary richness readers have come to expect from Shafer. This mid-weight, classy red has a lot to offer, but there is no getting around the wine's hollow mid-palate. The wine just feels empty.