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!
The Twisted Missive!
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'!)
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.
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?
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
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!
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.
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 facebook.com/groups/twistedoakies - 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!)
That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe
The Twisted Missive!
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
- New Petite Sirah!
- When Food and Wine Go Bad
- And - little contest!
Why a Twisted Missive? Why Now?
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:
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.
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 facebook.com/groups/twistedoakies - 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!
Congratulations to Mary Jane & Greg who came closest to guessing the blend for the next vintage of Parcel 17 - correct answer was 40% Mourvedre, 20% Carignane, 40% Graciano.
And congratulations to James H. for getting it right on the 2013 *%#&@! - correct answer was 58% Mourvedre, 22% Syrah, 20% Grenache.
Thanks to all of the Twisted Few that came out in the rain today for the Pickup Party!
So it was the weekend, and I wanted to eat some beef. And yet the traditional go to of a grilled ribeye, flank steak or beef tartar just didn't seem like the right fit for what I was craving. It was cool, a little rainy outside and I even had my fake fireplace glowing (heating the inside of my chimney and nothing more), so I thought something with a little braise would be JUST the ticket. Since I work in the tasting room and often get to bring home leftover bottles of opened wine, I perused my selection on the kitchen counter. The skull stood out to me and I grabbed the bottle to see just how much was left in that puppy - about 1/2 a bottle - more than enough to get some flavor going.
Next Stop - Save Mart - to see what cuts of meat they had available and I happened upon some tasty looking beef shortribs and that was all I needed to be convinced.
Be advised that My "recipes" aren't necessarily scientifically calculated - I am a cook by taste sorta gal, so I just eyeball quantities and keep some spoons on the counter to adjust flavor throughout the day. That said, even if you screw up the quantities a little bit, you will still get a tasty meal out of these ingredients, especially since the recipe includes our own Mourvedre "River of Skulls".
So here's what you need:
8-10 nice sized short ribs
1/2 a bottle of Mourvedre wine (or another similar Twisted Red such as Potty mouth, Petite Syrah, Syrah or Murgatroyd)
Salt & Pepper to taste
chopped thyme (I grab a fist full from my herb garden, pull the leaves off and chop it up)
1 yellow onion diced
2 shallots diced
3 cloves garlic diced
1 small can chopped tomatoes (or 1 cup sliced fresh tomatoes is fine)
2 tbs olive oil
4 slices bacon - chopped up
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a couple dashes of nutmeg
2 tsp smoked paprika
Heat oven to 375
on stovetop, get the oil going in your pan (I use a Le Crueset pot) - then lightly brown each of the short ribs in the pan. Remove the short ribs and add a dash more oil.
Add the bacon, garlic, shallots and onion and once the onion is slightly browned, add the tomatoes
pour in wine & beef stock, add short ribs
Cover with foil, place in oven and cook 2-2.5 hours until tender
This dish goes GREAT with mashed potatoes or over polenta.
Now open another bottle, fill everyone's glasses and eat!
In the Spring of 2004 two momentous events occurred. We moved into our new winery in Vallecito, and a little white pup came into our lives.
We had been visiting friends down in Orange County when a neighbor came by with her. She had been locked in a nearby house and left to die. The neighbor had rescued her and was trying to find someone who could take care of her. She licked my face and it was all over.
The next day she rode all the way home with us, sitting peacefully in the back seat just enjoying the ride. (We soon realized that her favorite thing to do was to go in the car, it didn't matter where - just go!) We stopped every hour in case she needed to pee, but she waited until she got to her new home. She knew where she was going. She wanted to wait.
We never understood how anyone could leave such a sweet, lovable, well behaved puppy to die like that. At only four months she was fully potty trained, she knew how to sit and stay and shake hands. It still boggles. (That's our first photo of her in her new home, just a bag of bones but already blocking traffic!)
She must have had a name but of course we never knew what it was. Being the wine geeks that we are, we named her after a grape: Garnacha Blanca. Nacha for short.
Many of you who have tasted from the barrel at the winery will remember her as the happy dog who loved to lick the drop off the end of the wine thief - "Nacha's Share". Or maybe she came up to your picnic hoping that you would drop something - she never entirely got over nearly starving to death as a pup. She was our "see-food dog".
We also have cats, and Nacha raised all of them from kittens. It was a little unnerving at first to see "The Big White Thing" carrying a kitten around with its whole head in her mouth - but she was perfectly gentle and plopped them down safe and soggy.
And just this month she "made the big time", she got her picture in the latest release of the "Wine Dogs" series of books, page 121.
Last week I noticed that she was having trouble getting into the car for the trip to the winery, I had to help her up. And she was clearly in pain. When we got to the winery our see-food dog refused a treat. This was not right and we had her into the vet the next day. X-rays showed a large mass in her abdomen, we scheduled surgery for today.
The mass was cancer, her liver had turned into one large tumor. There was nothing to be done. At best she would have only a few more days of life and more pain. We decided to accept the inevitable and let her keep sleeping.
I knew one day I would have to say goodbye to her, I just didn't think it would be so soon.
(I first published this article a lot longer ago than I thought I did... resurrected and updated for your enjoyment! - El Jefe
This is the time of year when newspapers, magazines, the airwaves (and cablewaves), and internet are full of it... er, meaning of course advice on what wine you should drink with your Thanksgiving turkey.
First, we at Twisted Oak would like to caution you against drinking with your turkey. That's a little weird. We suggest getting some friends to drink with instead. Or at least thaw your bird before drinking with it. Drinking with a frozen bird is extra weird.
Second, we (at Twisted Oak, again) believe that is the wrong question. Instead we pick the wine and then decide what turkey to have with it! Here, then, is our guide...
2012 Picpoul: Turkey Fricassee. Get your mind out of the gutter - a "fricassee" is just like Turkey Helper only you make it yourself because it is way easy. Any cooked turkey works great for this, just chop it up (uh, be sure to remove the bones first.) Dice up some carrots, celery and onions, and saute it all in a little butter (saute - that's like frying, but you try to look fancy doing it) for a few minutes until it starts to get tender. Stir in a little flour, just a tablespoon or two, then add some combination of stock, good wine (hint hint!), milk, and/or cream. Cook gently until it becomes a nice sauce, add the turkey, salt and pepper to taste. Green peppercorns and cornichons not required. Serve over nearly anything: rice, noodles, your roommate....
2012 Calaveras Rosa: Definitely Chipotle Turkey. Or maybe a Turkey Vindaloo. I know - Tequila Jalapeño Drunken Derelict Turkey! Whatever it is, it has to be flaming "burns twice" hot. This cool pink skull can handle it!
2011 Viognier: A simple yet elegant unstuffed whole bird, rubbed with salt and pepper and olive oil, roasted over a bed of carrots and celery and onions. 325 degrees until done. I imagine this is how The Martha does it, though I generally prefer not to imagine The Martha doing it...
2010 River of Skulls: Definitely barbecued turkey legs. A light spice rub and then grilled carefully over charcoal. I suppose you can bake them and finish them on the grill if you must. Eat with your hands only - knife and fork prohibited - serving wenches and knaves are NOT optional!
2011 *%#&@!: My traditional stuffed turkey handed down through the generations. You know, the real deal: Mrs. Cubbisons Seasoned Dressing ("It's Melba Toasted!"), not the cornbread crap that is all you can find in the stores 3 days before Thanksgiving. Follow the basic recipe (real butter!), add extra homemade stock to make it all mushy, and stuff that bird up! And if you even think about adding walnuts or oysters, go stand in the corner....
2011 Tempranillo: Definitely deep fried turkey. Could there be anything more American than immersing the National Bird into several gallons of the National Cooking Fluid? Is there anything we won't fry? I've never fried a turkey, but I understand you should have plenty of good quality oil heated to 360 degrees. A six pack wouldn't hurt either. And for dessert - what else but Deep Fried Twinkies?
2010 Petite Sirah: Why not smoke a turkey? I know, right now in your best Cheech-and-Chong voice you're saying "Wow man! I ain't never smoked turkey before!" Ha ha. Besides, it's a lousy buzz. Trust me on this.
2009 The Spaniard: *%#&@! the turkey, I'm having steak!
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