Twisted Oak 2006 Grenache

So why are we posting tasting notes on a single wine? Because we really liked it!


It’s Wednesday night – our dedicated mid-week break. It’s a tradition we started when we had a junior member in the house (who has since graduated from college, gotten a job and her own place and calls us voluntarily, not that we’re bragging). We made up a simple beef semi-stroganoff – semi because Anne couldn’t quite remember the recipe for a full-on traditional stroganoff and was too tired to look it up. Add some brown rice noodles, steamed broccoli, a basic green salad with herb vinaigrette.

Yowza! Seriously, the wine was the perfect coda. The meal would have been good without it or a lesser wine. But with the Twisted Oak Grenache, the meal sang. It popped. It did everything a good meal should do. Which you need in the middle of a long, hard, busy week.

The garnet color led to the traditional strawberry nose with hints of vanilla, earth and blueberry. The taste had some spice and just enough fruitiness. The acids cut through the richness of the sour cream of the stroganoff beautifully and still maintained a fruit profile. Add a nice finish (or coda) and you have one tasty glass of wine on its own. With a good meal, well, that’s the whole reason we do this wine thing.
You can check out this and other Twisted Oak wines out at their website, Please note that we consider owner Jeff Stai a friend of ours. Whether he considers us friends, he’s just twisted enough…

Ken Volk’s 2005 Negrette and Open That Bottle Night

We’ve always loved Open That Bottle Night (which happens the last Saturday of February). And we’ve always loved Kenneth Volk’s wine – in fact, he was one of the first wineries we featured. So it seemed only natural this past Saturday to pick one of Volk’s that we have been sitting on for a while – his 2005 Negrette.

Never heard of negrette? According to Jancis Robinson’s site (scroll down), negrette is a “speciality of Fronton near Toulouse producing supple, perfumed, wine for early to medium-term drinking.

So what did we prepare on this special occasion? A Coq au Vin with a marinade made with a lesser brand of cabernet.  We flambed it and the whole nine yards. So how was the wine?

We opened it an hour before serving and we’re glad we did. The wine was ruby in color and had a delicate nose of earth, blackberry and a touch of oak that was a seasoning instead of a mask. By the time we poured and sat down, the wine had opened beautifully into a work of art. The wine was more about texture – balanced and silky, not bad for 14.4 percent alcohol. The fruit was still there and there were hints of licorice and blueberry towards the end. The acids were perfect with food and the finish was long.

We had purchased the 2005 vintage from the tasting room several years ago. The 2007 vintage is available now and tastes good. We want to get another bottle or two for cellaring. It’s that good and worth the wait.

Oh, and the chicken was pretty tasty, too.

Robledo Family Winery 2006 Tempranillo

Before anyone says “Oh no, not another tempranillo!” let us explain. Tempranillo has already shown its versatility as a red wine and as a rosé. It has more than one flavor profile and adds a great deal to any number of blends. But here is another flavor set for this grape if leather, blueberry and herbs don’t excite you.
This 2006 from Robledo came from grapes grown in Sonoma and it introduces itself with red currants and redwood aromas. The berry fruits in the taste are rich and are complemented by a balance of tannins and acids with subtle oak influences.  Not bad for a grape that is notoriously tannic. This is an excellent food wine. The Robledo family heritage would suggest serving it with any number of Hispanic dishes.  However, be careful. Anything too spicy might diminish the flavor of the wine and that would be a shame.