Ghostwriter Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2017
Since beginning in 2002, The Hobo Wine Company has been a family owned and independently operated winery. In 2013, they converted an old warehouse in the historic Roseland neighborhood of Santa Rosa to be their production facility. This move allows them complete independence and full control over our winemaking and production.
Stylistically, Hobo Wine Company makes artisanally crafted wines of integrity and charm that respect their role at the table. This means they are true to character and origin, generally moderate in alcohol, and noticeable in acidity. The wines are made without commercial yeast or malolactic bacteria or other commercial additives and sulfur levels are always kept to a minimum.
There is a small tasting room at the winery, which is run on 100% local renewable energy, and they welcome visitors from around the world.
The Ghostwriter project was created by Hobo Wine Company to tap the potential of the Santa Cruz area AVAs. In early 2008, Brian Wilkerson and Kenny Likitprakong took over the farming on two of old vineyard sites, the Woodruff Family Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and The Aptos Creek Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir. They introduced sustainable farming to the vineyards and carried that through with natural winemaking in the cellar all in an effort to emphasize the sites and their individual terroirs.
A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.