Rating: Enjoyable out of the gate, but lacking the finesse and character that would make any $20 bottle a stand out.
The rest of the story: When you spend more on a wine, you expect something else. No, not like a set of steak knives as a bonus for the purchase. But as you go up the price scale, what you buy should deliver a more unique and, well, better experience.
Owned by the Louis M. Martini Winery (which is in turn owned by the Gallo family), Ghost Pines is a newer label under which a multi-AVA sourcing project has been branded. Or, as the winemaker notes for this wine say,
"By departing from traditional single appellation grape sourcing, the Ghost Pines winemaker is able to craft consistently superior "Winemaker’s Blend" wines which showcase the concentrated yet elegant flavor characters that come from the best growing regions in the state."
Made of 85% Cabernet, and a spice rack of Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah, 59% of the fruit is from Napa and the balance from Sonoma.
But how does it drink?
Fine. Easily, even. Plenty of fruit (you can taste that it's not all Cab) and balanced, it's got all the right ingredients to be a crowd pleaser. But we really wanted to like this wine more. If it were priced at $14, we'd be picking it up in quantity to have on hand. But we paid $19.99 and haven't seen it priced for less anywhere yet.