2005 Calaveras County *%#&@!
California: Calaveras County
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome!. The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Twisted Oak Winery.
TOP SECRET SPECIAL: Free Shipping on orders of six or more bottles. Use the promotion code SPYSHIP during checkout.
Mission Codename: Rhymes with “Duck”
Operative: Agent Red
Objectives: Rendezvouse with El Jefe, infiltrate his Twisted Oak Winery, and decode the strange symbols on this incredible wine
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Twisted Oak Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Calaveras County ^%#&@!
Winemaker: El Jefe
Agent Red was recently called upon to give a “Wine 2.0” presentation to wineryfolk at a wine industry event. Scheduled to appear on the panel with him was Jeff Stai, aka El Jefe, the irreverent and different-thinking owner of Twisted Oak Winery in Vallecito, California. Red had heard great things about Twisted Oak and had been pressuring Central Command to send him on a mission to the winery. Because other missions had taken priority, a trip to Vallecito, while planned, was long delayed. Using the industry event as an opportunity to meet with El Jefe, Agent Red had just one problem: He had no recent intel on Jefe and had little to go on in order to find him at the venue – before the panel was to convene. Pressing technology to use, Red manages to locate Jefe and seal a deal to bring his exceptional wines to our Operatives here. Read below for a brief mission, ummm, briefing.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red with great though dark clarity (not murky) and crystal clear at the edges, with great and slow-moving legs that creep down the glass after a swirl
Smell – Rich and dark blackberry, boysenberry and cherry with a great dark earthiness with spice and clean mulch
Feel – Cool and wet, then quickly dry all-over-mouth with wonderfully medium-strong tannins
Taste – Powerful and delicious, this wine presents a burst of flavorful dark stonefruit, black pepper and dark cherry
Finish – Big and bold at first, then tailing off beautifully with pepper and fruit flavors that dry to the edges of your mouth
Conclusion – Put simply: This is an incredible wine. Like the winery and winemaker, this wine exhibits plenty of character and bold style – but with a balance and refinement you would expect from a far more serious winery. Make no mistake, we LOVE this wine and feel that it deserves your special attention. This is no novelty wine with a crazy name, this is a real wine-lovers wine that could go head to head with elegant Napa cabs… and beat the $&*(#@!% out of them!
Guest Sommelier Agent K contributes her thoughts on this wine:
“Strong cherry notes with blackberry and pepper, finishing with a hint of vanilla. The palate shows off strong black cherry and black pepper.”
After hearing great things about Twisted Oak Winery I was thrilled, when called upon to participate in a wine industry forum on the uses of “Web 2.0” in the wine trade, to find that the infamous El Jefe (Jeff) of Twisted was on my panel. There was just one problem… I had no idea what the guy looked like.
I had followed El Jefe on Twitter for some time and had become a recent reader of his blog and was on my way to being a bonafide fan, even without trying his wines. Anyone that has as much fun as he appeared to have couldn’t possibly produce bad wines… or could he? I had to find him to find out.
I got the the symposium early, in order to enjoy the panels before mine, and sat in the audience. Because I keep my Wine Spies identity secret, I could not expect Jeff to know what I looked like. So, I employed my spyPhone and Twittered a message to Jeff, asking him for his location and describing my appearance. 2 minutes later, our mutual locations and descriptions traded over Twitter, we agreed to meet after the current panel.
We chatted briefly before we were ushered to our panel. The presentation given by Jeff and the other panelists were fun and informative. It was clear to me that Jeff was an innovator in the field of web technology as it can be applied to a successful winery. I hoped that this innovation translated to his winemaking and we made plans to sample his wines in order to find out.
The wine I bring you today knocked my spy socks off on first sip and after some time spent swirling and discussing the wine with Agent K, it was clear that this boastful wine was a remarkably flavorful and bold – but also balanced and delicious wine. This is sure to be the first of several Twisted Oak wines that we will bring you. I just hope that I am the Agent chosen to retrieve Twisted Oak wines on future missions!
From the winery: “Scott Klann crafts all Twisted Oak wines. Scott has been in the wine making business nearly 15 years. His knowledge of what works best is unmatched in the area (it doesn’t hurt that he was raised in Murphys.) Scott’s experience and personal relationships with the growers in Calaveras County allows Twisted Oak Winery to purchase the best fruit from these outstanding vineyards to complement our estate grape programs.”
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Twisted Oak and the neighboring vineyards where the grapes for this spectacular wine are grown can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine
Arrrr, ye scurvy dogs! Sailing the seas of cheese once again is everyone’s favorite chumbucket. Sounds like Cluck, pairs with Duck…what more can we say without gettin’ keelhauled and sent to walk the plank?? Well we can tell you that this year’s wine is a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache; a broadside of boysenberry and raspberry flavors. Just the thing to"splice the mainbrace", if you know what we mean….
This wine is a rich blend of 51% Mourvedre, 33% Syrah, and 16% Grenache – to learn more, scroll down!
The meaty and leathery characters and hints of Provençal herbs and spices might have you thinking this Rhône-style blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, and Grenache just fell out of a “California Cheese” commerical. Well, the name is the only cheesy thing about it! Those bright fruit flavors of boysenberry and raspberry sure ain’t no bull! (Note: No animals were harmed in the writing of these tasting notes.)
The 2005 edition of this tastelessly named red Rhône-style blend is the first vintage with grapes sourced almost entirely from Calaveras County. All of the vineyards were chosen for a particular attribute that makes those vineyards very special places. In some cases it is exposure, in some it is clonal or rootstalk applications. But most of all they were chosen because these growers are incredibly committed to producing the highest quality fruit possible.
The base for this wine is Mourvedre from two vineyards. The Mourvedre from the Dalton Vineyard is grown here in Calaveras not far from the Calaveras River. Vineyard manager Steve Collum planted these vines with the intention of growing top notch Rhône varietals. The second Mourvedre was grown by El Dorado County’s very own Rhône varietal specialist Ron Mansfield on a vineyard named Fodhli near Gold Hill. The Grenache as well was grown on two different ranches. The first is our own Estate Vineyard here in Vallecito, and the second was once again the Dalton Vineyard. The Syrah comes from the Tanner Vineyard here in Vallecito, owned and operated by Dick and Ron Tanner and their sister Judy.
The final make-up for this was based on the particular contributions that each grape could make to the blend. For Bright fruit flavors up front, we started with Grenache. For mid-palate fruit and elements of spice, as well as an overall base for the wine, we used Mourvedre. Finally, Syrah was added for dark fruit flavors and powerful structure. All lots were fermented in open top vessels over a period of 14 days. They were pressed off of the skins and allowed to settle for 3 days before being moved by gravity into the barrels for the ageing process. The wine spent 11 months in barrels in order to add more spice elements as well as round out the tannin structure.
Varietals & Vineyards:
28% Mourvedre – Dalton Vineyard
23% Mourvedre – Fodhli Vineyard
33% Syrah – Tanner Vineyard
10% Grenache – Dalton Vineyard
6% Grenache from our Estate vineyard
Harvest Date: September 2005
20% New French oak
20% 1-yr old French oak
30% 2-yr old American oak
30% Neutral oak
Residual Sugar: 0.03%
Brix (harvest): 25.1
Age (before bottling): 11 Months