A year and a half ago, when I first joined Facebook, I started micro-blogging for an application called "Wine Beagles". As I became one of the "Top Beagles Of All Time", I was approached by the application's creators about doing some side projects. One of the projects was to review wines by Twisted Oak Winery, a small winery in the Sierra Foothills of northern California. I'd never heard of them but I was willing to do the project. Unfortunately, the project fell by the wayside before its inception. But my interest in Twisted Oak Winery piqued after I visited their website and saw a very unique, wacky group of people whose sense of humor and penchant for great wines matched mine! I literally laughed til' I cried when I read the names of some of their wines, saw their mascot--a yellow rubber chicken named Ruben, noticed the crazy directional signs on their property and read their outrageous blogs on their blogsite, "El Bloggo Torcido". When I had the chance to attend the 2009 North American Wine Bloggers Conference this past July, one of the people I was looking forward to meeting the most was the winery's owner Jeff Stai. Jeff was funny, friendly and definitely a nice guy. He should be very proud of what he's accomplished--a winery that produces great wines with a cult following of fans who want to be part of the crazy fun!
It might be all fun but don't be fooled. They make some serious and seriously good wines. Recently, I was brainstorming and decided I hadn't tried enough alternative white varietals, so I threw the idea out on Facebook. Who could help me come up with some enjoyable whites that weren't your everyday, run of the mill varietals, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay? Every wine drinker knows these varietals by heart. Jeff Stai sent me a message stating that he had some unique whites made from Rhone and Iberian varietals and to let him know if I'd be interested in trying them. Pretty soon, a nice box containing some samples arrived at my door. I received three bottles: Viognier, Ruben's Blend (a Marsanne-Roussanne blend) and Verdelho. I was in for some mighty good tasting!
2007 Ruben's Blend (Sierra Foothills)--A unique blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, Vermentino and Viognier. Named in honor of Ruben, the rubber chicken (the winery's ambassador) whose story of how he was saved from his untimely demise in the $1.99 bargain bin is tattooed on the back of the bottle and is sure to bring a smile to your face! A nice blend of stone fruit flavor, medium-bodied with a lingering nutty finish. Ruben says, "Great Stuff!" You should believe him!
2008 Verdelho (Silvaspoons Vineyard-Lodi)--Easy drinking, fruity, tropical. Peaches, pears, apples. I'm never going to have to ask what wine I can pair with Mexican food, Spanish tapas, Chinese food, sushi etcetera...I found it! Make sure you read the back of the bottle. Uncle Fester wrote the notes. Really funny stuff!
2008 Viognier (Calaveras County)--Oh my God! I just said that because this wine creeped up on me like a surprise! I'm sure you've all had Viognier before. But not this one. This one is like no other. When I think of most Viogniers, they're very floral. This one is lush and tropical. I was tasting pineapple and guava and orange peel. I felt like I was surfing in it, like a big wave of fruity goodness washing over me. I drank the entire bottle in an hour's time and though it's not recommended you become an alcoholic because of this wine, it certainly gave new meaning to the word "lush" as far as I was concerned! A very beautiful wine. Highly recommended!
And those are just the whites! They also make some terrific reds (none of which I've tried yet but hopefully I will soon!) with some crazy titles such as "*%#&@!", "Murgatroyd", "The Spaniard", and "River Of Skulls". They even make a port called "Pig Stai"! Visit their website and you'll be reading and laughing for an hour! They even found a way to make their legal link at the bottom (called "Boring Legal Crap") funny! If you get a chance to visit their winery in Vallecito, you'll be in for a great time. They occasionally do some unique events on their property, like a Rubber Chicken Roast and "Release The Spaniard"--I noticed people in costume for this new release party! Until then, wines can be ordered on their website at twistedoak.com. They also do some limited distribution here in the U.S. so you'll have to check out their link and see if your state qualifies.
Check out their blog at www.elbloggotorcido.com for even more hilarity, reviews, videos, contests, the list goes on... I want to thank Jeff Stai for bringing these wonderful wines to my attention. I hope I can make it up there some day to visit. I think it will be a trip well worth taking!
I'm an Italian-born, American-bred walking encyclopedia of wine. Wine is my passion. People who know me find me interesting, funny, and knowledgable. A wine country enthusiast, I moved my life from Iowa to California and am enjoying educating the public about wine at one of the most historical wineries in Napa Valley! I'm here to keep it fun and help you enjoy wine as much as I do! I recently obtained my CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) certification from the Society of Wine Educators and am diligently working towards my CWE (Certified Wine Educator) certification in the Fall of 2014.
DISCLAIMER: All opinions expressed on this site are my own and in no way are influenced by anyone or anything else.
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