We love blends. They can express the full palate of a terrior – think Burgundy or Bordeaux. They can also demonstrate the combined skills of a winemaking team that includes vineyard staff and cellar rats alike. As a bonus, every winery has the option of creating its own brand of cola product.
As in Twisted Oak’s Murgatroyd (and if you know the cartoon reference, post a comment). The wine is a blend of four varietals and five vineyards: two cabernet sauvignons (accounting for the extra vineyard), a petit verdot, a tempranillo and a grenache, which means there’s a potential range of aromas and tastes the could include violets, blackberries, molasses, plums, tobacco, blueberries and bell pepper.
In this case,the resulting aroma is licorice/anise with some berries. The first taste was that of spices like black pepper and cloves. Dusty fruit, or a ripe taste that’s not overly sweet, is balanced with less acid and more tannins, thanks to a combination of American, Hungarian and older French oak barrel aging. There is some noticeable dryness from the tannins that would cut through the weight and richness of a steak, a savory winter beef stew or some lamb chops medium-rare with some pinkness at the bone.
You could age the wine for another year or so. It would be interesting to see if it improves. That being said, it’s darned tasty now.
Twisted Oak’s 2005 Tempranillo is one of those wines that just seems to fit in anywhere. It’s rich, but not overpowering – the subtle kind of wine that stands out just enough to be memorable without taking over.
Tempranillo is one of those up and coming grapes. We’ve seen it here and there for a number of years. In fact, tempranillo seems to be about where syrah was almost 10 years ago. People had heard of it, but you rarely saw it on the shelf at the supermarket. Of late, in places like California, tempranillo is getting the treatment previously reserved for cabernets and pinot noir and in the right hands and in the right soils, it is a glorious thing.
The grape, itself, is a blue/black grape most commonly used in blends in Spain. It’s chief flavor characteristics are blueberry and other berries, grassy or herbal qualities, hints of earth and/or leather. Leather may sound a little odd, but that’s what the books say. Your mileage may vary. Because the grape has a thick skin, it can have some powerful tannins, which is why it’s often blended with grapes with less color and/or tannins.
The Twisted Oak Tempranillo has a deep ruby color and a nose full of the characteristic blueberries and cherries. But don’t let that fool you. This is no fruit bomb. Winemaker Scott Klann used some French oak (which you can taste) but not enough to drown out the fruit. There are some nice acids in the center of the palate which make for a clean, easy drinking mouthfeel.
This is a great food wine – an Oddball Grape hallmark – and should go well with grilled meats like tri-tip, or grilled chicken or anything Spanish-style. Mike was amazed at how well it worked with some seared scallops in a caper sauce. You might also try it with a cioppino or even a good surf and turf. We do not recommend it with rubber chicken.