March 2, 2021
We are excited to kick off our Leaderboard this week highlighting the wines from winemaker Kenny Likitprakong and his Ghostwriter Label.
The Ghostwriter dates back to 2008 where the goal then and now is to realize the immense potential of the Santa Cruz Mountains and produce wines that are unique in California, lasting, and delicious. The Santa Cruz Appellation overshadowed by its tony neighbors of Sonoma and Napa has been producing some of the most compelling longer-lived wines in California since the 1960’s. Kenny 's influences come from his predecessors Martin Ray, Ridge Vineyards, Mt Eden, Bonny Doon (albeit not Santa Cruz) and David Bruce.
Ghostwriter is a way of saying that the wine and the winemaker are in a sense telling a story that is not entirely their own. The subjects of the story are the sites, the vines, and the vintage. Kenny’s part, as winemaker, is simply to relay the story and insert himself as little as possible. Ghostwriter bucks the trend of California wines having to be expensive or fancy just moderately priced and overdelivered in quality.
Today we present a venerable selection of the Ghostwriter collection, wines that show complexity and nuance that is easy to recognize and that enhance a meal and conversation.
2018 Chardonnay – a blend of Woodruff family vineyard 91% (one of the first sites Kenny worked with 18 years ago and small portion from Amaya Ridge vineyard is impeccably balanced, shows freshness, lift and energy. This is a mineral driven wine that has the acid and texture to age.
2018 Santa Cruz Pinot Noir is always intended to be an overview of the vintage and generally is found to be the most accessible Pinot early on, but this vintage particularly should age well. This will be one of those years where this wine is a truly exceptional value. Drinking great now, but plenty of life ahead of it. Light and Lean.
2015 Aptos Creek Pinot Noir is the first large purchase we took on for AWCO and in hindsight it was a good call. This Vineyard is hidden in the Forest of Nisene Marks near the Village of Aptos. Vines were planted in the early 90s on this very sandy site that sits barely above sea level and near the bay. Like most of the Ghostwriter sites, this one is cool and foggy . They don’t know what clones are here or where they came from, but the result is tiny bb sized berries on golf ball sized clusters. The Aptos Creek is dependably the darkest and brooding of the Ghostwriter Pinot Noirs. 75 cases produced
2018 Aptos Creek Pinot Noir Sadly will be the last vintage as the property is for sale and the future is unknown. This is particularly sad because it is arguably also the best Aptos produced. Not to say that there weren't some other spectacular vintages, but this is special. 51 cases produced
2016 Santa Cruz County Syrah was almost an accident that turned out well. Kenny made a deal with the vineyard owner at Smith Road to take the fruit for that year and graft the vines over to something else in 2015. That was the plan until the Syrah turned out so well. So now, the Ghostwriter makes a small production of Santa Cruz Syrah. Syrah is light, peppery, really flavored without being at all heavy or alcoholic.
Bates Ranch Cabernet was produced for only three short years. We are pleased to feature both the 2014 and 2015 vintages. These are wines that stylistically are in the spirit of Santa Cruz mountains revealing plenty of structure, backbone and grip to age effortlessly. The 2014 is intense, tightly wound and requires a few years to show its best, while the 2015 production was down almost 50% the outstanding quality of this wine will make up for quantity.
“Perfect wine is a perfect wine in a perfect place with perfect people – Make the experience not just the wine. “ Kenny Likitprakong