The last time we offered the Ghost of 413 was way back in December 2011. No accident, I suppose, that the vintage was 2009, the last legitimately warm vintage before 2012 that made sense for a value Cabernet project.
And despite the lack of varietal identification on the bottle, that’s exactly what this is: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. That well-received 2009 was 90% Cab, but then these guys (that’s Mark McNeilly from Mark Ryan and Chris Gorman from Gorman, the partners in this project) decided to do a Syrah-heavy 2010 and skip 2011 altogether, best I can tell. Smart move. Those two cooler vintages were terrible for value Cabernet, which requires plenty of heat accumulation to shed its overly green nature.
But 2012 was a killer vintage for just about everything in Washington, low-end Cabernet included, and now the Ghost makes its triumphant return. The project was inaugurated in 2005, and Paul Gregutt wrote about the wine (and its name) in a 2007 Seattle Times article: [TEXT WITHHELD].
As it turned out, there was no need to don the invisibility cloak, as the wine was warmly received in the Seattle market as an exceptional value. It helped kick off the craze for these purchased juice projects (Renegade, Modern Wine Project, etc.), and that has been a very good thing for all of us. This is a wine that also tends to get glass-poured around town and deplete quickly. I remember the 2009 (5000 cases produced) was released in December 2011 and sold out by mid-spring 2012. I’m not sure what the production level is for this vintage, but I’m not taking any chances. Let’s jump in nice and early.
The wine begins with an alluring nose, with plum and redcurrant fruit lifted by minty topnotes and smoky bass notes. I found this to have considerably less oak influence than some previous vintages of Ghost. Instead it’s a fruit-and-leaf driven session wine, a bistro chugger, humming along the palate (13.9% listed alc) with bright berry and cassis fruit paired to mint and tobacco leaves. It’s a supple easy drinker, the Cabernet tannins presenting themselves only on the very finishing lick, a subtle note of black tea rusticity.
First come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine should arrive in the next week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.