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Are You Twisted? Hell, yeah!

My wife and I are prone to crushes and some consumer/pop culture flights of fancy.

My wife’s girly crush’s are more around fetishizing movies and books into complete and absolute fandom (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Walk the Line/Johnny Cash come to mind) and mine are more around lifestyle things i.e. food and wine-related ideas and concepts, et al.

I have a current crush on the consumer micro-crush company CrushPad, and I used to have one on Inertia Beverage Group—though, I have moved my crush from admirer to full-on permanent relationship status and taken a job with them.

And, I have a full-on man-crush for Twisted Oak winery in Murphys, California. Twisted Oak, in a combined convergence of crushes, should be working with Inertia and our Rethink Engine, but I’ll leave that bit of sales stuff for another day.

If I were going to start a winery, I would want it to be fun like it seems like these guys are having.

Twisted Oak has a joie de vivre and an Espirit de Corp that is obvious and infectious. They also have a wine blog called El Bloggo Toricido (Spanish for: The Twisted Blog) which is one of, if not the most engaging winery-related blogs on the Internet. No serious, dry stuff, either. It’s all about turning the volume up to 11, to borrow from The Spinal Tap—which, I think, these guys might appreciate.

I recently received some review wines from the fellas at Twisted Oak—Jeff and Scott.

You see, a couple of months back I mentioned another winery that I visited while in Paso and Jeff wrote a comment on my site saying he thought his and the other winery were something of kindred spirits. This coincided with an email from said winery in Paso and their pr representation asking me to write (more) about them.

I thought the Paso wineries were okay: okay, but nothing exceptional—maybe even priced a touch high relative to quality. At the tasting room they had a fee and a tasting limit of five wines, so I shot a note back to the pr guy asking for a sample. In this case, a sample of their Tempranillo because I thought it might be interesting to do a story about the kindred spirit wineries and their respective Tempranillo’s and I didn’t get an opportunity to taste their Tempranillo while there in-person.

Twisted Oak came through ... within the same day of my email, I got a note back from Scott and shortly thereafter two bottles of Tempranillo showed up on my doorstep.

I’m still waiting for a reply from the other guy.

Just the same, it’s actually better that way because it allows me to focus on the Twisted Oak Tempranillo which is a well-crafted wine.

Besides the obvious fun that Twisted Oak has, it was something of a small surprise to get a rubber chicken in the mail. How can you not crack a smile at the obvious absurdity of a rubber chicken, and really, a small stroke of marketing savvy, because it’s the kind of tchotchke that doesn’t allow you to throw it away, either. But the real genius here is the way Twisted Oak team couples wine geekdom with a kind-of casual chic. Nestled alongside the rubber chicken were tasting notes and their Geek sheet that gave all of the technical winemaking minutia that you’d want.

These guys kind of remind me of Food Network star Alton Brown and his show, “Good Eats.” They are serious and take their wine seriously, but they are so obviously having fun and creating fun that they take away all the b.s. artifice of wine.

In their own words the vision of the winery was to create a, “Terroir based winery making superior, hand crafted, yummy wines, and then having more fun than anyone else in the industry selling them.”

I’d have to say they are succeeding.Cluck_yeah 900 cases of the Tempranillo were made. Released earlier this year, the Tempranillo grapes were sourced from the Rolleri Ranch outside of Angels Camp, California and were blended with 20% Cabernet.

This is a delicious wine. Tempranillo is generally a blending wine in Spain, but has come on in recent years as a varietal in its own right.

The Twisted Oak Tempranillo shows a nice garnet color and a medium body and is surprisingly well-balanced to drink with or without food. It’s not overly tannic and really mellowed from day one to day two—opening up and showing more fruit and some nice complexity.

On the nose it shows cherry, strawberry and raspberries with some chocolate and dust. The mouth is the same with a touch of anise and some very minor herbal notes.

This is a well-integrated, well-crafted wine. On the UC Davis Scale I gave it a 17.5 with good, but less then perfect scores for bouquet, flavor, and quality—albeit 2.5 points in total—so it’s still a definite winner.

Frankly, I’m glad they sent two bottles because I will surely enjoy the second one—likely with a hearty bowl of chili, which is exactly how I think of these guys and my man-crush. They’re dudes that I would want to have over to drink (beer) with, eat some chili and watch the game. Their spirit and attitude is contagious and their wine is pretty damn good, too.


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