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Shop 'Til You Drop:
Haunting Flavors from Ghost Pines

Long after the bottle is empty, you will remember Ghost Pines, well-made wines from California that compare favorably with high-priced pours yet are moderately priced. We tried the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Merlot 2007, two hearty reds made from grapes from both Sonoma and Napa by the Louis M. Martini Winery.

The Cab is jammy, dense and chewy, with flavors of dark berries and nuts. Uncork with beef — or enjoy after dinner with fat blackberries.

The Merlot is slightly spicy, with hints of cocoa and raspberry. An elegant accompaniment to beef stew or a box of chocolates in front of the fire.

Such extravagance can be obtained for about $15 a bottle.

--By Eileen Smith, Cherry Hill Courier-Post, November 20, 2010


Holiday Beverage Gifts – Holiday Beer, Wine & Spirits Gift Guide 2010

Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon, Description: Excellence Has No Boundaries: Like the unharnessed, free‐form, ghost‐like tree with which it shares a name, Ghost Pines represents the long, rich, winemaking heritage of California's finest appellations. By departing from traditional single appellation grape sourcing, the Ghost Pines winemaker is able to craft consistently superior "Winemaker's Blend" wines which showcase the concentrated yet elegant flavor characters that come from the best growing regions in the state. Sourcing from both the Napa and Sonoma appellations allows our winemaker to blend a wine which accentuates the best of what each region has to offer. Napa County Cabernet provides lush, jammy, ripe fruit to the blend in a very free‐spirited yet elegant manner. The Sonoma County Cabernet adds fresh red and black fruits along with a strong, disciplined structural foundation. The result is our 2007 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon, which displays aromas of dark fruit jam, sweet nuts, and black pepper that combine with dark berry fruit flavors. The palate is dense and chewy without being overly astringent.

--L.A. Splash Magazine, November 8, 2010


Halloween treats: Wicked spooky wines and where to find them
on the New Hampshire Seacoast

Hosting a monster bash this Halloween weekend and want to fill your guests' glasses with some ghoulishly delicious adult beverages? Look no further than your local wine store to stock up on some frighteningly fine wines at hauntingly good prices...

If you're looking for a white wine, Ghost Pines 2007 Chardonnay will do the trick (or treat...). Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes spread across some of California's best Chardonnay-growing regions (Sonoma, Monterey, and Napa), this wine boasts supple flavors of pineapple, peach, and nectarine and pairs perfectly (no trick here) with candy corn and is perfectly priced at $14.99/bottle. State Store 76 also carries Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon at $16.99/bottle...

Don't be afraid. Give a few of these wicked wines a try this Halloween. They're sure to make you feel brave enough to ward off evil spirits...or gutsy enough to invite them in for a glass or two.

-- - Manchester, NH, October 25, 2010


30 Wines

Ghost Pines Vineyard '06 Merlot. This is a deep, rich Merlot that hints at black cherries, mocha, and chocolate against the fruitful backing. With five to six years, Robert M. Parker, Jr., predicts it will score outstanding reviews, and he gives it a none-too-disappointing 89 currently.

--Bellingham Alive!, October 16, 2010


Fine winemakers offer gems at less expensive price points

If the person who designed the Cadillac also helped design some of the Chevrolet features, you have a better chance for finding quality in the Chevy. Right?

The same holds true in the wine industry. When the makers of fine (typically expensive) wines also have a hand in producing less expensive wines, you should have a leg up in finding a value wine.

In the wine industry, the less-expensive wine is called the "second label." It may or may not have the same name as that on the first label. In a good grape year, such as 2007 in California, the second label can benefit from hand-me-down grapes left over from producing the first label.

My wine-tasting group compared five domestic "second labels" in a wide price range. The results are below.


Region: Napa/Sonoma, Price: $21.99

Aroma: Scents included chicory, coffee, mocha, red currants, plums and a bit of nuttiness.

Palate: The wine was fruit-forward — that is, lots of fruit flavors as the wine first touched the tongue. Flavors included dusty chocolate and cedar on mid-palate, with a little bit of cola.

Verdict: This cab was very pleasant and tasted warm. The second label for Louis M. Martini, the Ghost Pines ranked first in our tasting.

--The Tennessean, September 22, 2010


Wineries offer expensive-tasting Chardonnays at a nice price

If you find yourself staring longingly at those $40 and $50 bottles of California chardonnay, you should know that often you do have a more affordable option. Many of those expensive winemakers also offer what's called in the wine industry "second labels." I'm not talking just about "reserve" vs. main labels. Second labels are distinct second brands that come from the homes of the more expensive wines.

At half to a third of the price of the first-label wines, second labels can offer much of the style and quality of their pricier siblings.

Below are some second-label chardonnay options, all in the $12-$17 range. (Next week, we'll review second-label cabernet sauvignons.) My wine-tasting group compared the chardonnays in a blind tasting.


Region: Sonoma/Napa/Monterey counties, Price: $17.99

Aroma: The aroma had a lot of oak, Golden Delicious apples, mealy apples, pear and cinnamon.

Palate: On the tongue, we tasted pear, wood, butter caramel, toffee and brittle.

Verdict: This was a typical oaked California chardonnay, made by Louis M. Martini. It won our tasting.

--The Tennessean, September 15, 2010


Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-06-05

• 07 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma/Napa Counties): Mr. toasty oak told Ms. Blackberry that he'd "be gentle." But he lied. $23 B- #

• 07 Ghost Pines Merlot (Sonoma/Napa Counties): Frighteningly supple crowd-pleaser. Dunno who brought the toasted nuts, but they're good $20 B #, June 5, 2010


Wine of the Week: 2007 Ghost Pines Winemaker's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon

The name Louis M. Martini on a cabernet, even when visible only in the fine print on the back of the bottle, makes it a good bet that the wine will be worth drinking. Such is certainly the case for the 2007 Ghost Pines Winemaker's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (about $17 at wine shops and big-box stores). This cab is unusual for the Martini winemakers because it sources its grapes from two of California's premier wine-growing regions: Napa (59 percent) and Sonoma counties. The cabs that have the Martini name right out front come either from single vineyards or a single region.

For the wine drinker seeking a good match at a decent price for a gorgeous dry-aged rib eye, the sourcing of this wine is just so much arcana. The wine speaks for itself quite eloquently. This is not a fruit-forward red. It is restrained and complex with fully developed tannins and a long beguiling finish. On the nose one gets dark stone fruits at first sniff followed by light smoke and leather. On the tongue those tannins are to the fore, structuring a mellow smoky leather flavor underpinned by black currant and fig with a touch of warm spice through the middle. There's even a whiff of gunpowder black tea, which becomes more evident on the lingering, satisfying finish.

The Ghost Pines cab will serve nobly with a prime cut of beef, but it also would work well with something as assertive as brined, spice-rubbed pork chops on the grill.

--By Colette and John Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times, June 2, 2010


Wines of the World: Be your own sommelier

Wine is for fun and enjoyment over pomp and circumstance. The proof is in the glass. Who can tell you what you are tasting. If it tastes good to your palate, you've scored.... Several wines we've tasted recently that we highly recommend are:

...Ghost Pines Merlot ($23) - silky and juicy with a light texture.

-- By Renie and Sterling Steves, Fort Worth Business Press, May 6, 2010