Monday, January 19, 2015

A Final Twisted Tree?

So, I'm pretty sure this is my first bottle of Twisted Tree Carmenère. Sad thing is, it's also going to be my last. Luckily, we might be able to find something very similar; it just won't be called Twisted Tree. The winery found the name "Twisted Tree" to be too similar to other names in the business and, accordingly, they now call themselves Moon Curser.

Whether or not the name was unique, from the start in 2006, Twisted Tree set themselves apart from other wineries in the Okanagan by planting grape varieties that were far from common. Tempranillo, Tannat, Marsanne, Roussanne and Corvina may be well known to a global wine drinker but you certainly wouldn't find them on many Okanagan wine labels a decade ago - if you could even find them now. The folks behind Twisted Tree didn't want to simply produce another Merlot or another Chardonnay or Pinot Gris - and they figured that their vineyard location down in the very southern part of the Okanagan Valley would be capable of ripening these intriguing grapes.

Carmenère was another one of their surprise plantings. I grabbed a bottle during a quick stop at the winery as Boo and I were making our way to Boo's mom's home in the Kootenays (while she was still there). Glad we did.

1846.  2008 Twisted Tree Carmenère (Okanagan Valley)

Carmenère is a Bordeaux grape that was planted primarily for blending in the winery's red Bordeaux-styled wine. When blending the 2008 wine, however, the Twisted Tree gang found that the Carmenère was special enough on its own that they kept as much as they could and released 96 cases as a varietal wine. Given the year, I believe only Black Hills had ever released an Okanagan varietal Carmenère before this Twisted Tree.  Like Twisted Tree, Black Hills had planted some Carmenère for use in their flagship Bordeaux blend, Nota Bene, but they also became enamoured with the varietal wine just on its own.

Both wineries still release a limited amount of varietal Carmenère and they are definitely developing a following. The Black Hills version may be more in demand but this Twisted Tree bottle was enjoyable from every whiff of the bright, deep nose through every sip of dark, New World fruit.

I only wish I'd bought more of it at the time.

On a side note, I kinda like the old Twisted Tree labels. The new moon Curser ones are way out there, but I guess it's the wine that's in the bottle that really counts - and this Carmenère would be well worth finding - under any label.

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