“Oh, ho the Wells Fargo wagon is a-coming” is a cheerful opening line for one of the many songs in The Music Man and it best describes the feeling I have when I am opening up the carton from my wine club “A Taste of Monterey.” I mean I always get excited when I am in a wine shop, but when I get home I already know what I have purchased. The excitement of opening the carton from my club is that I never know what I will find. It is like opening a treasure chest that has been lost forever.
In 1833, British sailor James Stokes jumped ship in Monterey with a booty of stolen medicine. He opened a downtown pharmacy and launched a thriving medical practice as “Dr. Stokes”. Despite a knack for killing his patients, he landed a commission as the personal physician to California Governor Jose Figueroa. Within a year, the governor was dead. The phony physician was astonishingly successful for someone so poor at his job. He grew wealthy, married the widow of one of his patients, and served as mayor of Monterey. Eventually the gig was up. According to legend, Stokes’ sons confronted him of his devious deeds and he ingested poison, falling lifeless at their feet. His former home still stands and to this day, is haunted by the ghostly figure of a man dressed in 1800s garb. This, is the legend of Stokes’ Ghost for all its glory.
Stokes’ Ghost Wines is part of the Scheid Family Wines group. Stokes’ Ghost Petite Sirah 2014 is the second vintage for this wine. All of the fruit for this wine was from their estate vineyard in the Hames Valley in Monterey County. The fruit was night harvested, crushed and fermented in small lots to get the full benefits of this varietal. The wine was aged for fourteen months in a mix of American and Hungarian Oak barrels. There were one-hundred-ninety-nine cases of this wine produced and the suggested aging potential is for seven to eight years. The question is, can I wait that long before I open this bottle to enjoy the inky dark violet wine that is in there, with the guaranteed teeth staining liquid that I come to expect from Petite Sirah.