Twisted Oak Winery
Twisted Oak Winery is located in Calaveras County in the Sierra Foothills. In addition to their estate vines, they also buy grapes from El Dorado County and Lodi. Twisted Oak’s Tempranillo, Albarino, and Viognier are particularly good.
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There is a lot of buzz about Twisted Oak Winery in both the online and offline wine world. Owners Jeff and Mary Stai are forward-thinking producers and have embraced technology while staying true to their roots in the rustic Sierra Foothills.
Calaveras County is in the southern part of the Sierra Foothills AVA, just north of Yosemite. The region has a long history of grape growing and winemaking that dates back to the Gold Rush of the 1850s and 1860s.
Vineyards in Calaveras County are grown on elevated mountain slopes that range between 1,500 and 2,400 feet above sea level. During the growing season, Calaveras is generally cooler than the other two winemaking counties in the Sierra Foothills: Amador and El Dorado to the north.
Twisted Oak makes their wine in an innovative, gravity fed winery between the town of Murphys and Angel’s Camp. Red grapes are crushed, while white grapes undergo whole cluster pressing. After the initial fermentation the wine is transferred to French, American, or Hungarian oak barrels, and aged in Twisted Oak’s cave.
The 2004 Calaveras County Tempranillo was released this past April to laudable reviews. It has red fruit flavors of cherries and raspberries with pleasant tannins and very nice acidity. At less than 0.1%, there is just a touch of residual sugar. The alcohol is right on too, and certainly not overdone at about 14%.
Twisted Oak’s 2005 Canterbury Vineyard Viognier is made with grapes from Calaveras County. Canterbury Vineyard sits at about 1,900 feet above sea level and has a sunny, breezy climate. This wine has peach, vanilla, and floral aromas all over a distinctive nuttiness which is a sign of a well-ripened Viognier.
The 2005 Sueno Vineyard Albarino is a seductive wine with tropical fruit, pear, and banana aromas. Grapes were sourced from the Lodi AVA to make this youthfully fresh wine. Albarino is getting more and more popular amongst California wineries, and for good reason.