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by Fred McMillin
for November 6, 1997
The Shafer Supertuscan Saga
The Italian grape provides bright cherry-anise fruit flavors, the Cabernet Sauvignon a chocolatey backbone. President-Winemaker Doug Shafer, John's son, learns every year...Sangiovese responds better to Italian yeasts...Merlot doesn't provide the umph of Cab...etc. Given Doug's phenomenonal success with Cabernet (James Laube says he makes some of Napa's best), it's a slam dunk that this blend is headed for stardom, too. Now, to its name.
Give Me a Break
At 2 P.M., Monday, June 22, 1981, the first whisp of smoke appeared above the parched hillsides of the eastern Napa Valley. Doug recalls the resulting "wildfire roared down the slopes of Stags Leap Palisades, heading directly for Dad's house. Everyone pitched in with shovels, hoes, and flares. In the nick of time they dug and burned a firebreak that stopped the flames before they reached the vineyards." The burned area was converted to a vineyard and planted with the vines used in their Supertuscan. Both the new vineyard and it's wine were named "Firebreak."
Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf
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