Cluck Cluck Cluck

Fall is here! I think I was just clamoring for summer a few days ago, or so it seems, but the crisp weather and leaves turning color have made me dive head first into the lovely fall season. And with fall comes big spicy reds and heavier whites. Like this 20 Rueben’s Blend from Twisted Oak Winery.  This bottle arrived in a club shipment, cost me $19.20, has a real cork closure, and the bottle got recycled before I could record the alcohol content.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I love Rueben’s Blend in place of a Chardonnay.

2.) Keeping with my recent theme, I’m giving the Rueben’s Blend a nod for inclusion in your Thanksgiving wine list.

3.) I really wanted to drink this curled up in front of a fire place after a day of skiing.

4.) Twisted Oak makes some of my favorite domestic wines. If you aren’t familiar with them, check them out.

On the nose I got creamsicle, pineapple, honey, lemon sugar, spice, and candied pineapple. Mmmm, candied pineapple. In the mouth I found more pineapple, apple, tart apple, lemon curd, and cream.  Good acidity complements the rounder fruits in this wine and makes it a great choice for your Thanksgiving dinner.


All Twisted Up

I’ve been diving back into my own wines lately. You would too if you saw the state my basement is in. It’s actually quite frightening as there are boxes everywhere, wine spilling out of them, and absolutely no room on the racks, even though I just bought another 112 bottle storage rack. So this evening I pulled out the 2006 Twisted Oak Torcido. I got this in a club (I originally typed “cluck” here, I clearly have Twisted Oak rubber chickens on my mind) shipment who knows when. I’ve been a Twisted Few member for quite some time now! The Torcido is Grenache, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for…well, I don’t know, but the current (2008) vintage is $32.

On the nose I got blackberry, black raspberry, spun sugar, slight toffee notes, some chocolate syrup notes, spice, and herbs. In the mouth I found raspberry, blackberry, some blue fruit notes, spice, and cloves. After sitting for some time in my cellar, I’m really digging what this wine has become. I think I’ve got another one or two tucked away and I’m excited to see what they taste like in the coming years. I’m sure you’ll read about it here!

A Twisted Night

We actually dug into our own wines the other night…it’s been a while and trust me, with my club shipments back on for the season, it’s been piling up like there’s no tomorrow. All of our wine racks are totally full, as well as at least 9 styrofoam shipper bottoms and a good 4 cases I haven’t even opened yet. If you’re following along, that would be about 400 bottles. Yikes, it would take us over 2 years to drink that many bottles! So we pulled out the 2008 Twisted Oak Viognier that came in a recent club shipment. With the club discount it cost $17.60, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume.

I paired this with some homemade chicken soup which I think is actually a match I’ve made before, though I’m having trouble finding the post! On the nose I found pear, pineapple, tropical notes, spice, banana, and cream.  In the mouth I got pear, peach, tropical notes, pineapple, banana, and spice. The nose and palate tracked pretty well and the wine had excellent acidity. Perhaps a good mate for upcoming holiday dinners? Though really, I’m still not sure anything goes well with sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows!

WBW #58-Music & Wine

I must confess. With being sick and out of wine commission for a week+ I lost track of days.  Then we had company and traveled a few times for family events and all sense of when the next Wine Blogging Wednesday was set for escaped me.  Our host this month is Katie over at Gonzo Gastronomy.  She tasked us with marrying our bottles of wine with music…though she encouraged no Michael Buble. Katie really wanted us to sit with our wine and try it with several different kinds of music, noting how our interaction and experience changed as we alternated the music. You can check out all the details here.

Now, I have nothing against music, and very clearly nothing against wine.  But what I do have is a clear lack of time.  I do most of my weekly blog prep on Sundays.  We simply get home too late for me to really have time to compose a coherent (give me a little leeway here, I like to pretend I’m coherent…) wine blog post.  Really, it’s either eat or write…I have my priorities in order here…at times.  Most of my music listening happens in the car to and from work (drinking wine completely discouraged) or running on the Mall…I think drinking on federal land in public might also be highly discouraged, or illegal.

So Monday evening was really the first non-sick, non-traveling day I have had since the latest WBW theme appeared on May 22.  That said, I didn’t have time to listen to multiple albums and record my thoughts on the wine as I listened to music across the spectrum.  Last week I was tweeting with Silene’s Cellar and Stoc about Tori Amos.  Now, I haven’t heard her new record, but I’ve always dug her classic stuff and probably saw her 4 or 5 times live back in the day.  She stuck in my mind, and I loaded her Little Earthquakes album onto the top of my play list and rocked out like it was 1992 and I was still an angst ridden teenager (ok, joking here, I was never really a typical teenager…I preferred Billy Joel to the Back Street Boys and other assorted things that put me out of the “normal” realm).

Tori Amos to me has also been a little on the dark side…and brooding.  She struck me as almost a Cabernet Sauvignon type lady, but with a little lighter humorous edge.  So I chose a Cabernet Sauvignon based blend instead…the 2002 Twisted Oak Murgatroyd.  “And if I die today I’ll be the happy phantom And I’ll go chasin’ the nuns out in the yard And I’ll run naked through the streets without my mask on…”
It’s sometimes dark, sometimes playful, and almost always makes me smile…which I think explains my relationship with wine fairly well too.  Wine can be serious, it can be easy, it can be thought provoking…but overall, it’s fun and it puts a big ol’ grin on my face.  When an old skool Tori Amos track comes up on my iPod…I sing along.  Out loud.  On the streets…or while I’m running on the Mall.  It makes me happy and I feel like dancing.  I remember good times with my best childhood friends with Tori….with wine, I remember great times with my friends from my adult years and with my husband.  They parallel well to me.

The 2002 Twisted Oak Murgatroyd had a real cork closure…I purchased it from the winery…I want to say it ran me around $20 a bottle, but I can’t remember and I didn’t write it down.  The neck had a TON of sediment in it…I’d recommend a quick decant just to rid the bottle of that.  Really, I was flabbergasted by what had collected in the neck!

On the nose I found spice, mulberry, toasty oak, cinnamon, blackberries, black currants, slight chocolate, and violets.  It smelled like mulled cider and tasted like Christmas.   In the mouth I got tart fruit that seemed much more red than the nose.  Red berries, red currants, earthy spice, mulberry, cranberry, cinnamon, and spice.  This is ready to drink….I say drink up now…I have 4 more bottles and I think they’ll be best within the year…the wine is smooth, integrated, and the fruit is showing really well.

I’m not sure I captured the essence of this theme…but I tried my best, and stepped out of my element…I don’t usually listen to music intentionally or intently while sipping on my wine.  So this gave me a chance to sit back and relax…well, as much as I could given getting home after a long freaking day!  Many thanks to Katie for hosting and per usual, a tip of my virtual cap to Lenn of Lenndevours, our fearless leader.

A Twisted Affair

Not too long ago, as a Twisted Few member, I received an email advertising a 50% sale on Twisted Oak’s 2005 Grenache.  Being that I love wine, Twisted Oak, and Grenache, it seemed a no-brainer.  A case arrived on my doorstep a week or so later, adding to the bazillion bottles of wine already in my basement, but at only $12.50 a bottle, making a most excellent mid-week bottle.  I picked the 2005 Twisted Oak Grenache to pair with my mom’s homemade sauce and meatballs which she brought with her when my folks visited last week.  Since dad received some Twisted Oak for Christmas this year, I thought it would be good if he could taste some of mine to compare!  The Grenache cost me $12.50 on sale, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found chocolate dessert, drizzled with raspberry sauce, and followed by a savory herb component.  Really, I got chocolate, raspberry, strawberry, herbs, red currants, flowers, and just really bright red fruit all around.  In the mouth I found flavors of red berries, raspberries, red cherries, milk chocolate, really bright red fruit, and just a lovely taste of a silky milk chocolate bar.  Yes, I realize I said milk chocolate twice, but that flavor kept coming, both up front, and on the finish.

My final note on this wine?  I’m so happy I have a case (minus one) left to drink!

Yo ‘ho

Affectionately referred to as the ‘ho, I’m really talking about the 2007 Twisted Oak Verdelho.  I love this wine…everything about it…the price, what’s in the bottle, yum! I’ve reviewed the 2006 and the 2005 in previous years.  This latest bottle arrived in my Twisted Few Club shipment and retails for $16, but at the club price it’s $12.80, making it a supreme bargain and a great wine for the hot days ahead.  The ‘ho has a screw cap closure and clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I get pineapple, tropical fruit, spice, peach, mandarin oranges, banana, and papaya.  In the mouth I found the wine to have a a slightly creamy texture and I got flavors of lemon, tropical fruit, papaya, melon, pear, citrus, and granny smith apples.  Overall, the wine is dry, crisp, and easy to drink.  A definite must buy for the summer months!

WBW #55: North vs. South

*Disclaimer: I received the wine from Chile from the PR folks for Wines of Chile.

That’s right folks, it’s time again for the monthly wine blog world phenomenon Wine Blogging Wednesday.  This month, our host is Remy of Wine Case and he tasked us with a battle of the ages: North vs. South.  Remy left us to our own devices in interpreting what this meant….would it be a wine from NY vs. a wine from Va or a wine from Canada vs.  a wine from CA?  Who knows, anything goes!

The folks from Wines of Chile recently sent me some white wines from Chile.  I’d been hearing great things of the Viogniers coming out of Chile, so I thought I’d use one of those in my epic battle.  We all know I love Viognier, so I always have some kicking around my basement, so this WBW proved an easy task for me.  In the end, I decided to pit the 2008 Viu Manent Secreto Viognier vs. the 2007 Twisted Oak Viognier.  I’m going to tell you about each wine and then try to outline how they differed.

2008 Viu Manent Secreto Viognier

This wine hails from the Colchagua Valley, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and appears to retail for somewhere around $10.  On the nose I found peach, honey, spice, apricot, biscuits, and something oddly toasty.  In the mouth I got flavors of peach, pineapple, and tropical notes.  I found the wine to be crisp and light with nice acidity.

2007 Twisted Oak Viognier

The Twisted Oak comes to us from Calaveras County, CA, clocks in at 14.2%, has a real cork closure, and cost me $17.60 in a club shipment.  On the nose I found butterscotch, candied apricots, peach, caramel, yellow apple, and flowers.  The nose struck me as very perfumey, like walking in a flower garden.  In the mouth I got flavors of spice, apricot, peach, and orange notes.  I found the finish to be incredibly long and the wine showed as viscous in the mouth.

So the outcome? Two votes for the Twisted Oak in the battle of North vs. South.  The Twisted Oak showed as fulled bodied and viscous versus the Secreto which seemed lean and crisp.  I found the Secreto to display more tropical aromas and flavors while the Twisted Oak showed stone fruits and apricot, plus the lovely floral aromas.  I know the Twisted Oak saw time in oak, but I’m not sure about the Secreto, though it had some toast notes on the nose.  So perhaps it saw some neutral oak?  The styles of the two wines couldn’t have differed more with the Twisted Oak being creamy and mouth filling while the Secreto came through as acidic and crisp.

I would drink either of these wines again, but the more complex Twisted Oak Viognier interested me more and we drank through that bottle completely first as we both kept going back for more.  An interesting experiment. I wish I had a Virginia Viognier in my basement that I could have thrown into the mix.  I do look forward to trying the rest of the Chilean Viognier I have around, as I did really enjoy the Secreto as well!

Many thanks to Remy for the interesting topic! I look forward to reading everyone’s interpretations of the theme.  As always, a virtual tip of the hat to our founder Lenn.

Take Your Rubber Chicken to Work Week 2009

My entry for Take Your Chicken to Work Week 2009 is considerably shorter than my entry last year. It’s been damn cold here these past weeks, including a couple days of snow and freezing rain, so my chicken Bob didn’t get the pleasure of seeing the sites of DC this year.  Plus, the theme this year is to teach your rubber chicken something about your job.  So without further ado, I present Bob at work with me.

First, Bob was delighted that I have moved cubes.  He agreed with me that it’s much easier to pass the day when you can watch the snow falling from your cube, and he didn’t feel the need to wander off around the building without me.

Next, Bob learned that while the adage is: “It takes a lot of beer to make good wine.” in the tax law world it’s: “It takes a lot of coffee to read and understand the tax laws.”  And he also learned that even only a portion of the tax laws and regulations is overwhelming.

Finally Bob learned what most human Americans already know: The weight of the tax code is crushing. And not in the good way of crushing grapes. Especially if you’re a rubber chicken.

If you’d like to enter TYRCTWW 2009, there’s still time! Get your photos to El Jefe at Twisted Oak by February 5, 2009!

My Dad Takes His Rubber Chicken to Work

This Christmas, my dad received a Rubber Chicken for Christmas. I can’t imagine who gave him that! He was really excited to participate in TYRCTWW this year and proved it by taking 72 pictures of his chicken!! He even got his customers in on it, and everyone wanted to be in the pictures.  My Dad is a plumber, and here is what his rubber chicken learned at work:

Answering the phone means you have to head out for the day:

Opposable thumbs would be helpful.

Opposable thumbs would be helpful.

Where you pick out supplies for the job:

Too many choices for a chicken!

Too many choices for a chicken!

And learn that dealing with unhappy sales people is a routine part of the job:

Apparently the salesman doesnt speak chicken.

Apparently the salesman doesn't speak chicken.

Customers appreciate a plumber who wears booties:

A little too big...the chicken has small feet....

A little too big...the chicken has small feet....

Diving headfirst into dirty places is the only way to get the job done:

Youve got to be kidding me.

You've got to be kidding me.

The chicken tries to sneak off for a mid-day tipple at a customer’s house:

The customer wont notice if I just take a little...

The customer won't notice if I just take a little...

The chicken learned that plumbing often requires you to work in tight, uncomfortable positions:

Twisted Chicken

Twisted Chicken

Chickens are good at watching while the plumber does the real work:

The chicken thinks this is for the birds!

The chicken thinks this is for the birds!

The chicken helps by holding the faucet in place:

Look! Im helping!

Look! I'm helping!

After a long day, a visit to the local package store is the way to go:

Not as good as Twisted Oak.

Not as good as Twisted Oak.

Followed by a stop at your favorite bar:

Just pour it into my mouth.

Just pour it into my mouth.

And finishing up with a good scrub:

Rub a dub dub.

Rub a dub dub.

So there you have a day in the life of plumber chicken. The poor chicken is now resting peacefully as he is all worn out. Plumbing is hard work!

WBW 53-Wine for Breakfast

Or wine with breakfast, whatever your poison. Our host for WBW this month is El Jefe of Twisted Oak.  He’s asked everyone to choose a wine that goes with breakfast for this WBW, with the caveat that you couldn’t choose a sweet white, a rose, or a sparkler.  It had to be a dry white or a red wine.  You can get all the details here.

So, I don’t generally like to drink at breakfast. The odd mimosa here and there, sure, but I’ve never actually sat down with a bottle of (non-Boone’s Farm, don’t ask, college was weird) wine and consumed it with my breakfast in the morning.  Most frequently, we have breakfast for dinner and will often have wine with that, but we usually go with a Rose with our eggs!

To solve our dilemma, we went with breakfast for dinner!  We chose the meal before the wine, based on what was in our house: pancakes and syrup with a side of bacon.  I think I should have taken Thea’s advice and made my syrup out of wine because maple syrup did not go well with the wine! And the wine?  Well, in honor of El Jefe hosting, we picked the 2005 Twisted Oak Tanner Vineyards Syrah.  I got this bottle in a club shipment for $25.60, it clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found blackberries, plums, spice, leather, slight red fruit, vanilla, brown sugar, mocha, and chocolate.  In the mouth I got tart fruit, raspberries, blackberries, pepper, spice, coffee, and lots more raspberries.

I tried it with plain pancakes and it was great. When I added syrup, not so much, the syrup didn’t match with the wine.  However, it was fabulous with the bacon! I aired our glassed out for about two hours before we drank it, but it was still tight.  This is a really young wine and probably needs some more time in the bottle.  After it aired out, the wine got nice and smooth and showed really great structure.

Many thanks to El Jefe for hosting, and as always, a tip of the hat to Lenn, our founder.  I’ll be sure to let you know when the round up of Breakfast Wines is posted!