Jeff Stai, owner of Twisted Oak, a boutique winery in Vallecito, California continues to make some exceptional wines. He purchased the land in January 2002 with his wife Mary. Jeff, previously an electrical engineer in Southern California had spent a lot of time in the Calaveras and Alpine foothills. Jeff’s idea of building his own winery, with his detailed background, merged the two disciplines rather easily. Here it built a gravity fed system that was both practical and efficient in the grape production. You can read more details in a previous story at:
One of my personal favorites is the Spanish varietal Tempranillo. The name comes from the Spanish word temprano, which means “early” as it ripens earlier than other grapes in Spain. If you have visited any town in Spain, Tempranillo is available ubiquitously as Starbucks coffee shops here in the USA. On the eyes this wine is a brilliant purple color with medium to medium-heavy viscosity. On the nose, it starts out fresh and with black berry fruit. On the palate, you get the earthiness (dust), tobacco and a slight aged leather in the mouth. The finish picks up on the oak and the tannins are held in check with the cherry and slight vanilla. This is a wine to be had alone or with a delicious meal. This is their current release and is listed at $29/bottle.
Food and Wine Pairing
Last night with the temperature dropping to the mid 40’s (cool for Northern California), some warm comfort food was in order. My wife prepared a turkey chili. Besides the 99% fat free ground turkey, it included diced sweet red peppers, uncooked red onions, chopped Jalapeño peppers, chili powder, ground cumin, diced tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, water and cilantro. A modified Weight Watchers recipe. Accompanied by a garden salad. The meal had a tang of “warmth” to it but not overly hot. Paired with the fruit forward Tempranillo, it embraced the chili dish perfectly. A great food and wine pairing.