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Ghost Pines Merlot
(A Louis Martini Winery)
Sonoma County / Napa County 2009

California has always had it dichotomy on “merlots” and what they should be and how they should be and if we should drink them. The golden rule in drinking any wine is to drink what you like. Why the dichotomy? I like merlots and I happen to like California merlots. Ok, I won’t be running with the popular crowd, but I don’t care – I drink what I like – you out there Miles? (’04 movie – Sideways & book by Rex Pickett)

With that said, California merlots are indeed all over the spectrum with regards to style and taste. One reason I enjoy trying so many! 🙂 My recent find is the Ghost Pines ’09 Merlot by Louis Martini Winery. Ghost Pines is run by a truly unique team, headed up by their winemaker, Michael Eddy. Their belief and wine making style is the pure essence of “not running with the popular crowd” and making GREAT wines – wines “they” like…here is a excerpt from the website:

When our winemakers think about how to make a great
wine, they start in the vineyard. And that vineyard has no
boundaries. It may begin in northern Napa and end on
the hillsides of Sonoma. It might stretch across mountains and valleys to Lodi in San Joaquin or meander down the Pacific Coast to Monterey. When the barriers of traditional appellations are lifted, a
progressive group of winemakers sees no limit to the kind of wine they can make.

That rather says it all…especially after you have tasted one if their wines. You will then truly recognize the philosophy behind the winemaking.

As for the tasting notes on this ’09 Ghost Pines Merlot – the visual was beautiful. Clear and crisp ruby red. The nose was very inviting. Full of blackberries and cherries with a slight coffee hint. After I swirled for awhile, (I was out of town when I tried this bottle, so could only open and let sit for about 30 mins./pour and swirl for aeration) I was actually caught off guard on how it tasted. Oh, it tasted great, but by the nose, my taste buds were sensing this to be big and tannic of which it was neither. It was, however, medium bodied (as merlot should be) and velvety smooth. Luscious is the word that comes to mind. Long finish with just a hint of vanilla in the background. All in all this was a beautiful merlot for the pricing at $20 or less. National retailers carry the Ghost Pines line…. I found my bottle on sale at local grocery store for $13.99. Steal at that price! You can also find via online at http://www.ghostpines.com.

I rate this merlot Three Bottles. It’s worth a few bottles in your cellar to have around when you get that California merlot itch! And remember, Miles was a “merlot snob” and so are many others regarding merlot….don’t listen! Drink what YOU like….I LIKE Ghost Pines ’09 Merlot and I don’t care what Miles thinks! 🙂