The Twisted Oak Winery

The Twisted Oak Winery
The Twisted Oak Winery

After a great start to our day visiting the wineries of Murphys with Four Winds Cellars, we set off for a perennial favorite: the Twisted Oak Winery. Not only do we love their wine, it is important to brush up on a key success factor for enjoying your visit to Twisted Oak: drinking wine with your tongue firmly in your cheek.

The Twisted Oak WineryTwo things are immediately apparent as you approach Twisted Oak: somebody loves making funny signs and someone got a great deal on rubber chickens. Both are in ample supply along the long, winding drive up to the winery. My favorite was the “Beware of Signs” sign, but there were quite a few that generated chuckles. The rubber chickens? They were literally everywhere; in the trees, the road signs, even lurking in the grass. It’s a good thing most of them are not on the payroll! But, there is a pension plan for wine-industry chickens, right?

We made our way into the winery and met our wine guide for the day, Denise. She set us up with their 2013 Verdelho. Although young, this wine is already prepared to serve as an ideal beverage in the backyard as the grill heats up.

The Twisted Oak Winery
A tiny bit of the stuff to see!

A word to the wise: this is a tough room for anyone blessed with attention deficit disorder. There is so much to look at, so many products for sale, so many funny plaques to read. Anyone with ADD has no chance at all! Not naming names, but this tasting took about three times longer than the average. But we did see EVERYTHING in the tasting room, and there is some aerobic benefit to chasing down a tasting partner to share every pour. So, you see, having a diverse blend of personalities on a tasting tour is all about the upside!

The Twisted Oak Winery
Wow! Shiny truck. Must look.

Then, in a situation the should not be confused with ADD, the nerd among us, (yeah, that’s me) noticed that a mobile bottling line truck was about to leave the property. Not a lot to see at that point, granted, but it was an important enough event to merit leaving the tasting room under the kind oversight of Denise and the balance of our group. Shiny trucks never lose their appeal for some guys.

The Twisted Oak Winery

But back to the wine tasting! We tasted our way through their considerable tasting menu. Some favorites of the day: the 2011 The Spaniard, a blend of 59% Tempranillo, 22% Graciano and 19% Garancha, all from their Vallecito vineyard; their 2012 Syrah, surprisingly light and bright; and their 2012 Petite Sirah, with some great plum and blackberry notes.

The Twisted Oak Winery
Yeah, some of our awards

Honorable mention went to their 2012 Pig Stai, which they call a “whiny port” which for once is not a typo. A non-traditional approach to Touriga Nacional Port, this is a good introduction to Port because it isn’t jammy at all but does deliver the rich raisin and prune notes that made Port famous. More testing will be required to determine if its cold-fighting capabilities stack up against more traditional Ports. Ah, the joys of the scientific method!

Even a tasting as fun as this must eventually come to an end. We selected our bottles for purchase and say “don’t be a rubber chicken!” to Denise (it’s a thing) and set off for our next tasting adventure. Remember, beware of signs!


About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?

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