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El Bloggo Torcido

("The Twisted Blog" - more or less)

Welcome to the new home of The Twisted Blog! If you are looking for older posts you can find them here. Have fun!

El Jefe
June 15, 2017 | El Jefe

A Massive Missed Twisted Missive!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #5

I'm just going to flat out admit that the whole Missive thing got away from me in May - so much to do to get concerts and pizza nights going - and the prognosis for June is still running flat out. What's going on, you might ask? Well, read on Montague!

Speaking of Concerts and Pizzas....

front country!

Don't forget that we're having Twisted Pizza and Music Nights on selected Fridays all summer long! The next one is this Friday starting at 5pm at our Murphys Tasting Room - come and grab a pie and bottle!

And concerts at the winery! The next concert is June 24th featuring modern bluegrass band Front Country - you won't want to miss this! Get your tickets here!

In This Missive

  • Powdery Mildew? - boo hoo!
  • A Naming Contest? - woo hoo!
  • Meet the Crew? - you hoo!
  • Wine in the Summer? - you bet!

Farming da Grape, Part XXXVII

If you live or hang out in Northern California - or suffer from a seriously twisted weather addiction - you may have noticed the unusually cool and moist weather we've been having up here lately. (Heck, as I type this I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt - and the summer solstice is just a week away!)

purty vineyard picture

At times of extreme weather I am often asked how this affects the grapes. Most of the time, the answer is "not very much." In the winter the vines are basically asleep and don't care about rain, snow, wind, or toads falling from the sky. We have a period of time in the spring where frost is always a threat, but once we get into the nice warm month of May we can breathe a sigh of relief...

Unless we get a cold and wet spring like we are having now. The grapes are fine... except that soggy grapes make conditions ripe for powdery mildew. We can weather the occasional wet storm during the spring and summer months, as long as the storm is followed by a nice bit of heat to make the problem evaporate. So to speak.

Last year Twisted Oak got certified as Sustainable... which smells a lot like Organic certification (heh) but without all the paperwork. Everything we do in the vineyard is done to maintain the natural cycle. We use natural sprays for whatever is needed, and usually spray at night so the beneficial insects are not affected - and certainly nothing that will harm bees - we like bees! All natural waste - stems, seeds, grape sediments - spends the winter in the back 40 and is returned to the vineyard as fertilizer.

So when the mildew threatens on a wet day like today, we use an oil-based spray product to prevent it. The oil - mixed with water - keeps the mildew spores from germinating, and also controls the little buggers that bring the spores. And that makes for happy grapes and yummy wine! Or as they say on the tee vee...

the more you know

The Vintage Green Bride's Private Tasting Room

earls by maria
The Earls at Twisted Oak 2017,
photo by Maria Camillo

Ima gonna tell you all about that in a moment, but first: Last month's survey produced some great responses! Here are just a few:

  • Shari: "I am so looking forward to Sonny Landreth because I am a sucker for the white-boy blues! (Especially when there's a guitar god involved.)"
  • Angel: "I'm most excited for the pine Leaf Boys concert on July 8th! I love their Ragin Cajun music it makes me feel as if I was in New Orleans for real! I think you would be an awesome treat to go see them at your Vineyard and enjoy some good wine with a loved one."
  • Kevin: "Most excited about Sonny Landreth because he owes me 10 bucks. NEVER loan a musician money."
  • Jon: "Holy *%#&@!....  Sonny Landreth?!!  You better clear the brush way back from the stage,  he might just set the hilltop on fire!!!" 
  • Briana: "I LOVE Sonny Landreth. His bottleneck slide guitar is unrivaled! I am really hoping to come up and see him in concert. Especially since that is my birthday weekend!"
  • Julie: "I love Pine Leaves because they aren't really leaves and I love Boys so I want to see the Pine Leaf Boys!"
rubber chicken dustbowl fun
A little rubber chicken fun with the Dustbowl Revival!
  • Nigel: "I would definitely be excited about the Earls of Leicester concert. This is not ONLY because I am from England originally and know how to pronounce Leicester correctly but also, to quote your own words, Jerry Douglas is a legendary and world-renowned dobroist!"

And the winner, chosen at random, is... Julie! Now, what about that funky room?

If you have visited the winery, you may have noticed that very cluttered office at the opposite corner of the building. That's supposed to be my office but frankly I don't do a lot of office-ing in there these days. So instead we are turning it into a sort of all-purpose room, for the bride at weddings, for musicians at concerts, and most importantly, for you!

A Private Tasting Room! This will be a place you can reserve to enjoy a personal tasting of our entire lineup, plus a previous vintage or two - and also enjoy a tour of the winery, and even grab a little taste of something in the cave.

But... this room needs a name! I have asked myself and the crew, and none of us has yet come up with a name we like.

So, we are asking you: Name our new private tasting slash bride's room slash concert green room. Just reply to this email with your best idea. If we pick your name, you'll get a $35 MasterCluck gift card. (In the event of a tie, the first person to suggest a name will get the gift card.)

Meet the Crew - A New Feature!

Speaking of the crew... our new Event Coordinator Lynnie is writing a new feature for the Missive, each time featuring a member of the Twisted Crew. Take it away....

Here's Kelsey! An old soul, born and raised across the river in Jamestown, CA. Kelsey only watches one show on TV, reruns of M*A*S*H. And she only listens to Classic Rock, Country, and Punk on vinyls on her record player at home, and a cassette player in her truck. Kelsey and Nick, her fiancee (sorry guys), live in a 100 year old home in Angels Camp, with their two babies: an American pit bull mix named Peggy, and a frisky young black lab named Beau. Kelsey & Nick’s hobbies are rock climbing, hiking, gardening, and fishing and hunting, providing the only meat they eat. They grow all their own veggies and their passion is restoring old hot rods and classic cars: 1952 Mercury, 1931 Buick, 1972 Scout, and... a motorcycle. Come visit Kelsey at either of our tasting rooms!


Summer Shipping

Just a quick note to mention that two-day summer shipping is now in effect! Between now and September 15th any shipment that would take more than two days to deliver will be automagically upgraded to two-day. And (if you are the "belt and suspenders" type) "Cool Packs" are also available in six and twelve bottle sizes.

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

Time Posted: Jun 15, 2017 at 8:54 AM
El Jefe
April 21, 2017 | El Jefe

Twisted Missive - We Got Concerts!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #4

Slightly Tuneful Edition!

In This Missive

  • We got concerts!
  • We got wine for the Twisted Few!
  • We got great places to sleep!

Twisted Folk Concerts Announced!

We've put together what we think you'll agree is the strongest lineup yet for the 2017 concert season! There are two returning crowd favorites from previous seasons, two multiple Grammy Award winners, two who have been nominated for Grammys multiple times, and one whose latest album is currently #2 on the Billboard bluegrass charts!

dustbowl at twisted oak!reviving at the oak!

Returning to the Oak Saturday, May 13th is none other than The Dustbowl Revival! This band of eight talented musicians - considered the "best live band in LA" - wowed us last year with their creative mix of blues, jazz, swing, and soul. And, their favorite wine is Tempranillo! What more could we ask? Bring your dancing slippers for this one! Buy tickets now!


And we incredibly honored and delighted to feature on our stage, Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester! This is not a throwback to Elizabethan times, but is in fact the legendary and world-reknowned dobroist Jerry Douglas - of Union Station and Soggy Bottom Boys fame - and his band of equally talented bluegrass musicians. You won't want to miss this, one of only two stops in California this season! Saturday May 27th - buy tickets now!

earls of leicester at twisted oak!no Dukes, just Earls!

2014 torcido garnacha

Other upcoming concerts - which we will expound upon further in future Missives - include:

For our monthly $35 MasterCluck Gift Card giveaway, please reply to this email and tell us which concert(s) you are most excited about, and why! I'll choose one response at random for the winner! (Congratulations to Julie R. for being last month's winner!)

Needless to say, tickets for all shows are now on sale at!

Twisted Few Shipment - Coming Soon!

Twisted Few members, watch for a separate email coming soon with details about your next shipment. We can tell you now that it will feature the new vintage of one of your favorites, the 2014 Torcido Garnacha! We think you'll find it goes great with anything that your springtime grilling can rustle up, or even that leftover corned beef hash! (Not currently a member of the Twisted Few? You know you want to! Sign up now at!)

Speaking of corned beef, last month's Missive did produce a wide range of pairings with our favorite St Patrick's feast. Andrew suggested our *%#&@! (which sure sounds like an Irish word), Kelly likes our 2014 Tempranillo, and Debbie called our Torcido "one of the great pairings of all time." (Wow!) On the other hand, Stephen from Reno always reaches for a chilled Viognier. And to split the difference, Kathleen likes a "Cab Rose" (but I don't understand what that has to do with taxis.) 

mmmm bacon!
mmmmm... bacon!

You Gotta Sleep Someplace

Why not a cozy bed with sweeping views of the foothills? We recently were invited to visit and tour one of Murphys best local lodging options - and longime Twisted Few members - the Courtwood Inn. Owner and innkeeper Chris whipped up a nice breakfast of fresh fruit, waffles, and bacon - on a stick! - for us to try. After that we toured the tennis-themed rooms and grounds - which look really cushy, I gotta say. Check them out at!

As always, do reply to this email and tell us which concert(s) you are most excited about, to have a shot at that $35 MasterCluck gift card!

Finally, a programming note: For reasons beyond our control - among other things, the futures market in rubber chickens is completely haywire right now - we have decided to postpone Rubber Chicken Appreciation Day to later this year. Stay tuned to this station for further updates.

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

Time Posted: Apr 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM
El Jefe
March 16, 2017 | El Jefe

A Corny Twisted Missive!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #3

Slightly Irish Edition!

In This Missive

  • Something Corn-y
  • Something Rubbery This Way Comes
  • Something to Mark

The Great Chocolate Question!

...didn't produce a lot of responses, but the few that did respond were pretty passionate about it. Ward K., for example, reaches his "happy place" with a sip of a medium tannic red, followed by a nibble of 62% dark chocolate, a few dry roasted peanuts, and repeat. Dana M.'s favorite is a peanut butter cup chased by a great Sauternes (yike!), while Trudy H. from away up north keeps toasty with a flourless chocolate cake and Pig Stai. (Now we're talkin'!)

corned?corned... what???

But enough about that. This is Twisted Oak, and so you are expecting something corny.

As I am typing this it is the 14th of March, 3-14, aka "Pi Day". While I like pi, and pie, as much as anyone, at this time of year the denizens of Murphys, California gird themselves for the annual Irish Day celebration. (You should come! It's this Saturday!) And even though corned beef is not actually very Irish, it's a dish that has come to be associated with St Patrick's Day.

In our house, corned beef must be prepared in a traditional manner, and in this part of the world the tradition is to boil the snot out of that beef until tender, and then while the beef is resting, use the cooking liquid to boil potatoes and cabbage. This is served with butter for the veg, and mustard and horseradish for the beef.

Local tradition also holds that corned beef is served with beer, but surely there are wines that can stand up to the strong flavors of cured meat and cabbage. So, when I prepared a corned beef dinner recently I decided to try some wines with it to see what might work.

Rummaging around in my wine cabinet produced a 2013 Ol' Chumbucket and a 2014 Tempranillo, and the fridge coughed up a 2015 Albariño. At the outset, the Albariño proved to be a non-starter, that was set aside quickly. Both of the reds proved to be a decent match with the corned beef, but the fruit and spice of the Ol' Chumbucket just clicked for me. I suspect most any spicy and fruity red would be a worthy pairing - think Parcel 17, Graciano, or Torcido Garnacha.

So, this month's survey question is simply, what wine do you serve (or do you think you might serve) with corned beef? Just reply to this email with your response, and I will share the best responses in the next Missive.

Something Rubbery?

Coming up next month we have a brand new event happening at the winery! We're calling it "Rubber Chicken Appreciation Day," and you should too! Not only that, but in the days leading up to the event, there will be all sorts of fun online activities that everyone everywhere will have a chance to take part in. What kind of activities? That would be telling! So stay tuned! (We call this "building excitement"!)

Living in a free society, everyone has the right to appreciate their rubber chicken in their own way. What's yours?

2014 tempranillo

mmmm hash!
the real reason for corned beef - hash the next day!

We are still diligently working to confirm all of the dates for this year's Twisted Folk Concert Series at Twisted Oak Winery. But you can mark the dates we do have confirmed on your calendar right now: May 13th, June 24th, August 12th.

As always, do reply to this email with your thoughts on corned beef and/or rubber chickens. I will choose one reply at random to receive a $35 MasterCluck gift card. Just for fun! (Congratulations to Dale M for being last month's winner!)

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

Time Posted: Mar 16, 2017 at 11:26 AM
El Jefe
February 14, 2017 | El Jefe

Another Twisted Missive!

Issue #2

Yes, we're doing it again!

In This Missive

  • Bad Taste?
  • Return of the Non-Italian!
  • Chocolate Wars
  • Stop the Presses!

Three Great Tastes That Taste Bad Together!

If you recall from last month's Twisted Missive #1, we asked you to name two foods and a wine, where any two of those items taste good together, but when all three are combined, taste terrible. You folks came up with some great answers!

extra crunchy!
choosy Jefes choose Petite Sirah with this!

For whatever reason, peanut butter was by far the number one food mentioned, foiled by such diverse ingredients as salsa, corn nuts, chocolate ice cream (!), and... blue cheese? One correspondent (Kevin G.) suggested popcorn, vienna sausages, and Chardonnay as a great pairing, but then offered Riesling, Camembert, and Marmite as a solution (eek). Lara F had a Trader Joe's tapenade and salted pita chips, she said it made her Twisted Oak Viognier taste awful. And Jessica S suggested orange juice, toothpaste, and wine - I think I will not be having breakfast at her place!

And the winner of the contest was Karen S from Virginia, who is still looking for that one perfect wine that goes with peanut butter cups!

A Non-Italian Wine Not Named After a Fictional Boxer

Twisted Few Freak members this month had first crack at a rare treat, something we don't bottle every year, the 2014 Graciano. Some of you may recall that Graciano is one of the components of The Spaniard, along with Tempranillo and Garnacha, giving the blend a bit of earthiness and a long finish. The Graciano grape actually hails from the Rioja region of Spain, and if you pronounce it with a slight Castilian lisp, you're doing it right. Thith pairth, er, pairs especially well with spicy dishes based on Spanish chorizo. We didn't bottle very much, so it is already almost gone. Get some now!

What About Wine and Chocolate?

On Valentine's Day, it seems to be an unwritten law that wine people must address that age old problem of what wine goes with what chocolate. I have wine professional friends who are adamant that the mere thought of combining the two in a single perfect bite is an abomination too horrifying to comprehend.

2014 graciano

mmmm chocolate!
chocolate jenga!

I mostly take the "if it feels good, do it" approach - but don't ask me about what goes with white chocolate, that isn't real chocolate anyway. I can recommend, at least, that you don't try to pair super tannic young reds with that 80% cacao bittersweet chocolate - that stuff will wrestle your tongue to the ground. On the other hand, a nice port - a little Pig Stai maybe? - paired with that bitter bad boy**, could really sing. It's all about your palate.

**The Queen reminded me that the Firecracker bars we feature in the tasting rooms might also be perfect. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Do you have a chocolate and wine pairing that you really like? Or do you agree with the pros that this is a marriage best left unconsumated? Just like last time, tell us what you think! Please reply to this email with your best match, and I'll compile some of the best responses for the next Twisted Missive. We will also discuss it over in our new Facebook group - for discussion of all things Twisted - which you can find at - just click on the Join button and we'll get you set up!

And like last time: I will choose one reply at random to receive a $35 MasterCluck gift card. Just for fun!

This Just In!

We woke up yesterday morning to the news that two-time Twisted Folk Concert performer Sarah Jarosz received two Grammy awards, including Best Folk Album of the Year! Please join us in congratulating Sarah - and stay tuned for our concert lineup in 2017! (Which we will have for you as soon as we get done scraping it together!)

sarah jarosz

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

Time Posted: Feb 14, 2017 at 4:50 PM
El Jefe
January 10, 2017 | El Jefe

A Twisted Missive!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #1

Yes, that's right! A moment's indiscretion in providing your email address some time in the distant past now results in this little missive hitting your email box! We hope you will give it a chance - read on!

In This Missive

  • What?
  • New Petite Sirah!
  • When Food and Wine Go Bad
  • And - little contest!

Why a Twisted Missive? Why Now?

Why not?

OK, So What's New?

Glad you asked! One of the new releases this month is our 2014 Petite Sirah, a variety that has been absent from our tasting menus for several months. Made from 100% Petite Sirah fruit from Tanner Vineyards, we think you'll find it perfect to warm you up on a cold, rainy or snowy night. (And some Twisted Few members will find it in their next shipment!)


Can Wine and Food Go Horribly Wrong?

Recently I was cruising a favorite website* and stumbled into something called the "Incompatible Food Triad." It goes like this:

Name three foods, where any two of those foods taste good together, but when all three are combined, taste terrible?

It turns out that coming up with three foods that create an "IFT" is not at all obvious. One classic solution is salted cucumbers, sugar, and yogurt. Combine any two - sweet pickles, sweetened yogurt, tzatziki sauce - but mix all three? Yucko!

Wine was not mentioned but - since wine is of course a food, and we do love to match wines with other foods - we think wine should be part of the discussion

2014 petite sirah

mmmm bacon!
mmmm... bacon!

For example, I think we can all agree that bacon and eggs were made for each other, and we can agree that the 2014 Petite Sirah is delicious with bacon, and we might also agree (or not) that Petite Sirah is also delicious with two eggs, over medium. Assuming we do, it's a certainty that we'll agree that all three go together fabulously, and so this combo is not an IFT.

Can you think of an IFT that includes wine? Or do you think there is no such thing? Whatever you think, just reply to this email with your thoughts. I'll compile some of the best responses for the next Twisted Missive, and we'll also discuss it over in our new Facebook group - for discussion of all things Twisted - which you can find at - just click on the Join button and we'll get you set up!

And: I will choose one reply** at random to receive a $35 MasterCluck gift card. Just for fun!

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

* The website is "Atlas Obscura", and here's the article.

** Even if you have no idea, you can still reply and enter. Your reward for reading all the way to the end!

Time Posted: Jan 10, 2017 at 4:47 PM