Drat the folks at Sunset Magazine. According to Twisted Oak Winery Owner Jeff Stai, the magazine’s article on the winery had the money quote: “If Monty Python started a winery, this would be it.”
Pirates, rubber chickens, and symbols for language not suitable for sensitive ears. It’s all part of the Twisted zeitgeist and fun at Stai’s winery in Vallecito, California. It’s not a winery for the uber serious or for people who do the “nice” thing. But if you don’t mind the silliness, you can get some lovely, food-friendly wines. And if you do like the silliness, you can have a grand old time there.
Now, keep in mind, Anne has known Jeff for years via the FoodWine email list – an electronic world-wide kitchen table. But we first met Jeff – or El Jefe, as he is known – last year when we decided to check out the joint after hearing good things from fellow FoodWinos Tina Vierra and Penny Gadd-Coster. Mike liked the wine so much he immediately joined the Twisted Few wine club, and then earlier this year won the Write the Label contest for this year’s bottling of Ruben, the white wine blend that’s named after Ruben the Rubber Chicken mascot. So, we are getting a case of it as our prize, but that was before we decided to start the blog.
Schtick aside, it’s all about the wines, first. The production is relatively small (although we keep having so durned much fun there, we keep forgetting to ask), and the focus is on locally grown, Calaveras County grapes. Scott Klann (aka El Fermento) has the responsibility of turning it all into wine, using such methods as co-fermenting some viognier with their syrah. Sadly, the result of this traditional technique from the Rhone won’t be available until next year.
You can check back with us on Wednesday for the first of Mike’s tasting notes. In the meantime, you can find out more about the winery on their website, TwistedOak.com, the blog, El Bloggo Torcido. There is a Twisted Oak page on Facebook and you can follow Jeff on Twitter.
Anne Louise Bannon and Michael Holland
Odd Ball Grape