I never was quite a wine fan, but I never knew much about wine either. When at the grocery store, if I did buy wine once in a blue moon, I did so based on price and if the label caught my eye. Spending $20 on wine never crossed my mind, as I assumed that all wine tasted the same more-or-less and that it wouldn’t make much of a difference anyways. Is a “premium” brand actually that much different in taste than a $2 buck chuck, I would think. Well, it depends.
There’s nothing worse than purchasing a more expensive bottle just to find that expensive wine doesn’t always correlate into tasting better. Pricing wine is a complicated and varied equation that never made sense to me, ranging from how they choose to label the wine causing an increase in production costs, to how much money goes into advertising and working with distributors and retailers, all of whom take a cut. Buying wine seemed like a risk to me, so I always took the lesser of the risks and went for the cheapest wine I could find.
Well it seems that I had been missing out on a truly amazing relationship with wine all these years, and it took me until a recent trip to Twisted Roots Tasting Room in order to find out. Located in Carmel Valley, a beautiful small town within Monterey County, the owner and creator of The Twisted Roots Vineyard label gave me a tour of their tasting room and a sampling of their delectable wine that I’ll forever remember.
Twisted Roots Vineyard had actually been in business since 1918, growing great wine grapes following Sustainable Growing Practices for three generations in the Lodi appellation. While making grapes all those years, it wasn’t until 2005 when Ross began the family’s first Petite Sirah in the basement of the original farm house on the vineyard that they realized they should get into the wine making business more seriously. In 2009 production was expanded to include other varietals grown on the estate, and to keep up the quality and production, moved to making wine to their partners at Estate Crush. Currently, Twisted Roots Vineyard creates Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Old Vine Zinfandel and their flagship variety that started it all, the Petite Sirah.
Their tasting room is a quaint small building with stone outside paneling and is pleasantly attached to a local art gallery where guests can enjoy the art while sipping their wine. Open only Friday through Sundays, Twisted Roots is a great destination for both tourists and locals alike on the weekends. Whether you are an avid wine drinker, or would like to taste a variety of options to find your favorite, Twisted Roots has something for everyone.
Setting themselves apart of a majority of other wineries is their practice. Twisted Roots genuinely believes in letting the grapes speak for themselves, and the flavor is unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. As “green growers” they follow sustainable practices throughout the entire wine making process, paying special attention to the soil nutrient balance, barrel-fermentation and ensuring that ideal batches are made by having a small production each year. Using “neutral” French Oak barrels to ferment and age the wine, none of the oak flavor transfers from the wood to the drink. Many wineries on the market use new oak barrels to provide extra flavor ranging from a powerful vanilla to a smoky or toasty flavor but in Twisted Roots using neutral barrels, the grape flavors shine through, providing a “softening” effect on the wine, without adding any extra flavors which in my opinion enhanced the experience.
On a funny note, a friend and I were guests at the Big Sur Food & Wine Festival two nights after our visit to Twisted Roots, and knew before drinking the wine if we would like it or not based on if the barrels were neutral or not. We still sampled quite a few of the wine offerings, but nothing came close to the wine we tried at Twisted Roots, as we learned that in our personal preference, we prefer wines that don’t have the oak flavors added. We were spoiled by trying Twisted Roots wine, what can we say!
There’s much to love about visiting Twisted Roots Vineyard, from the free wine tastings you can get if you purchase a bottle, to their beautiful outside terrace with luscious plants and a beautiful stone fountain, to the personal and friendly experience you will have while being a guest on their property. Twisted Roots truly is a wonderful local establishment where you feel like you’re meeting with old friends and bonding over a mutual love for wine which takes a certain type of excellence to achieve and many are unable to.
Whether you are a wine connoisseur, or haven’t quite found a wine that you enjoy yet, Twisted Roots Vineyard truly can satisfy even the most skeptic of visitors, myself included. On your next visit to Carmel, Twisted Roots should definitely be one of your must-visit locations on your itinerary and for those who don’t plan on being in the area anytime soon, Twisted Roots offers a delivery service so you can have a exquisite taste of Carmel without leaving your front door. Their wine ranges in price from $20 for their 2012 Chardonnay to $35 for the ‘1918’ Old Vine Zinfandel. The 2010 Petite Sirah was my favorite at $25 a bottle, but if you can’t choose just one, they have Club Twisted which allows three shipments a year of 2 bottles a shipment for $65 and comes with a discount at the wonderful Vendange Inn & Suites as well!
While I may not have discovered my love for wine prior to visiting Carmel Valley, Twisted Roots Vineyard helped me learn to appreciate wine and set the bar extremely high for future wine tastings.
Twisted Roots invited us to enjoy having their tasting room to ourselves during our visit, but all opinions remain my own. For more information on Twisted Roots Vineyard, their Sustainable Growing Practices and where to purchase, visit their website at TwistedRootsVineyard.com