I arrived in CA on 10.22 and immediately hopped in my (crappy) rental car to make my way up to Calaveras County. Calaveras County you say? Where’s that and why would you want to go there? Easy. Calaveras County is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, about 2 hours slightly north east of Oakland Airport. It’s also a place where some absolutely fabulous wines are being made, in particular from Twisted Oak, the impetus behind my trip.
I’ve been a Twisted Few member (thanks mom!) for about a year now and have been drinking the wines since I joined WineQ in ’07. When I pulled up to Twisted Oak, the first thing I noticed was the Fricken. That’d be a frog chicken for those who are uninitiated into the world of Twisted Oak.
Shortly thereafter Jeff Stai, owner of Twisted Oak, pulled up and we meandered off with Nacha to tour the winery and do a little barrel tasting. I never say no to a barrel tasting! Twisted Oak keeps the barrels in a cave they blasted out during the building of the winery.
We tasted quite a few things from the barrels, and a couple really stood out to me. The ’07 Spaniard is just going to be a beautiful wine. It won’t be released for a year (the ’06 Spaniard just got released a month or so ago) so I expect it will be even more delicious when it’s bottled. The next vintage of the Pig Stai Port also showed incredibly well from the barrel. I could have stayed all day tasting the sample!
By happy chance, my stay in Murphys coincided with Twisted Oak’s Crush Party, celebrating the fact that all the grapes have been picked and crushed for the 2008 vintage! So the Twisted Crew was kind enough to put up with me crashing the crush party, where of course, Twisted juice flowed! Along with the current releases, some library selections also crept into the mix. I tasted the ’03 Murgatroyd, which may just take the place of my favorite Twisted Oak wine. Drinking beautifully, full of fruit, a full-bodied red that I just wanted to drink more of. The 2003 Grenache and the 2002 Syrah were also amazing, and I think I should just let my Twisted Oak wines age for several more years as they keep getting better.
Many thanks to all the folks at Twisted Oak, especially Mary and Jeff, for being so welcoming and showing me all the hot spots in Murphys ;)