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River of Skulls: the perfect wine for Halloween & Dia de los Muertos

November 1, 2008
Twisted Oak's "River of Skulls"

Twisted Oak's River of Skulls

This is the wine you need for this weekend: Twisted Oak’s River of Skulls, a mourverde with a little syrah thrown in.

Not just because the bottle itself is impressive. Which it is–the graphic was created by El Jefe’s son Andrew Stai  when he was 16, with all that intensity for which 16 year old boys are known. (Andrew, by the way, has made it to 20). The punt of the bottle is sensually curved and ribbed, asking you to run your finger around its rim. The shape of the bottle itself calls out to be held, grabbed, carressed, and slugged. Really. It is the perfect wine for a pirate and begs for a candle when it is downed and out.

I first tasted this wine with El Jefe at Doug Cook’s birthday celebration at the Wine Blogger’s Conference last weekend at Santa Rosa.  We were talking between pours and he pointed out the bottle which I’d been admiring for awhile, not even knowing it was his wine, or a mourverde (recall my fondness for Quivira’s? Or the RBJ 2002 theologicum mataro?)

So he opened it up lickety split and poured. Considering the powerful wines that had crossed my palate from Doug Cook’s cellar that night, it stood its ground (of course, mourverdre will do that for me!) There was a some left in the bottle so El Jefe let me take it with me–lucky me!

It was the first red wine I enjoyed when I returned home–with a dinner of cioppino and brown rice and a salad with blue cheese, walnut, and apple. Some lovely musky earth and spice balances the fresh lively raspberries. Certainly enough to wake the dead or to serve them on your altar. Saints and sinners will appreciate this offering.

from Twisted Oak in Calaveras County CA

from Twisted Oak in Calaveras County CA

This is a special creature, this wine. Sorry to say that unless you have a trip planned to Calaveras county, you will be out of luck this Halloween and dia de los muertos. You can get on the list now for next year! Sign up here.

Or if you can’t wait that long, head out to the winery for next weekend’s library tasting! Tell El Jefe (that would be the tallest guy in the room with the ponytail, beard, big smile, and abundant laugh) that the Art Predator sent you. And if you see me there (which I hope you will!), be sure to say hi!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2008 7:34 pm

    Maybe I’ll see you there…

  2. November 2, 2008 1:51 am

    –&, y’know, nice write-up!
    Have you ever tried Spanish M’s?
    Monastrell is the grape’s name (Jefe tells me it’s a patrtic’lar clone– & that’s what Twisted Oak’s got) @ source–
    it got torn out in Cataluyna, & the good stuff is mostly from Jumilla, Almansa, Bullas & Yecla– where La Mancha meets Valencia & Murcia…
    MW, back across th ocean, I’ve a pending assignment in Paso Robles, & that’s a visit to Tablas Creek to see what they do with the grape…
    & have you ever tried Steve Edmunds’ blends featuring it?

  3. November 2, 2008 8:24 am

    thanks–if (when!) jeff reads it, i hope he likes it ok!

    i mostly know california wines (there’s a lot to know!) and starting to learn about australian wines.

    i had a tempranillo from australia but i don’t think it was ready to be enjoyed yet

    i was really impressed by my taste of twisted oak’s the spaniard last weekend! as i recall it’s mostly tempranillo…

    speaking of somewhat obscure grapes, did you get a chance to try the good doctor frank’s RKATSITELI? i ended up with a bottle to review…

  4. November 2, 2008 7:22 pm

    I just became ‘facebook’ friend with Melissa Dobson who brought the selection of Finger Lakes wines & she asked the same thing.
    Dr.Frank has a distibutor in PR & I’ve had their Riesling but no, I haven’t tried the Rkatiseli…lucky you! what’s it like?
    I’m somewhat in pursuit of aromatic whites as you mayhave noticed. Let’s see, a direct link to an appropiate post–
    http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2008/08/at-long-last-viognier.html

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