Just because my birthday is in September is the not the reason that all three of the wine clubs send us wine. I wish they were gifts and then I could claim that they are samples, but they are not. We just received a package from our oldest wine club membership “A Taste of Monterey” and we always get some amazing wines, but I think that it helps that we belong to the Private Reserve Club, which means pricier wines and we get three bottles, four times a year.
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 Monterey 2016 is the fourth vintage of this winery. All of the fruit for this wine is from the 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. Petite Sirah or Durif is a black-skinned grape variety and goes by the name of Petite Sirah in the Americas; it is becoming more common for the rest of the world to start referring to it as Durif, named after its discoverer, Dr. Francois Durif. The wine was aged for fourteen months in a mix of American and Hungarian Oak barrels. I cannot state for a fact of the current issue, but the for the 2014 vintage there was less than two-hundred cases produced and the aging potential is for seven to eight years. The tasting notes are that the wine is brimming with black cherries, blackberries and cassis flavors. With notes of violets and white pepper and balanced tannins and a lingering finish. All of that sounds great for that inky, jammy enamel staining wine that is known to be velvety in its finish. Who knows when it will be opened up and enjoyed, which is the true joy of a cellar?