03.18.2013 Wine Reviews: Newsome-Harlow Wines and Twisted Oak Winery in Calaveras County

Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

#CellarPassTV Tasting Line-up

Below are a few of my recent sips accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle. What all three wines have in common is they are from Calaveras County, California, and made by Scott Klann. Calaveras County, famous for its role in the California gold rush, is situated within the Sierra Foothills appellation and located approximately 60 miles southeast of Sacramento. Winemaker Scott Klann, along with his wife Melanie and partners, started their own label, Newsome-Harlow, in 2000. The Newsome-Harlow label specializes in the production of small lots of [primarily] single-vineyard designated wines from Calaveras County grown fruit and other nearby areas. Scott also makes wine at Jeff Stai’s Twisted Oak Winery. When I started blogging, back in April of 2006, Jeff first introduced me to Calaveras County wine with a bottle of Twisted Oak Canterbury Vineyard 2005 Viognier. This region’s warm-to-hot climate, dry summers, and diurnal temperature variations appears well suited to Rhone and Spanish varieties (which the 'Twisted' folks specialize in).  Scott brings two decades of experience crafting wines in the Sierra Foothills to the table and it shows in the three selections below. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

Newsome-Harlow 2012 Sauvignon Blanc 

1) Newsome-Harlow Wines 2012 [Calaveras County] Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $16, Club Member Party Price $12): I had an opportunity to taste this selection during a recent CellarPass TV virtual wine tasting. This Sauvignon Blanc contains a splash (4%) of Muscat Blanc. Pale straw in color, the wine offers bright citrus fruit, melon, and mango aromas with delicate floral scents alongside shy stone fruit notes and a hint of “fresh cut hay” -- which the tasting notes also suggest. A vibrant entry with refreshing, food-partnering acidity glides across the [slender] palate with a [very light] dash of sweetness that extends through the clean and fruit-driven short-to-medium length finish. Enjoyable on its own (especially on a warm spring/summer day); but all I could think about was pairing it with a delicious white garlic sauce pizza topped with mushrooms and onions. So, I did the following day and it was a nice match. Click here to find this wine and click here to watch the CellarPass interview with Scott Klann. 

Newsome-Harlow 2010 Dalton Ranch Syrah 

2) Newsome-Harlow Wines 2010 Dalton Ranch Vineyard [Calaveras County] Syrah (SRP $32): I had an opportunity to taste this selection during a recent CellarPass TV virtual wine tasting. When done right -- I personally like the way Syrah expresses itself in both cool and warm climates. This example falls within the latter category and sports a [fairly] luscious and ripe profile. In the glass, it displays a deep ruby/purple color with layers of ripe [dark] berry fruit aromas and flavors that mingle with (sweet) high-tone red fruit undertones, plum, spice, and [very] delicate earthy accents. On the palate, this wine is soft and round with a velvety texture, good balance, polished tannins, and a medium-length pleasant finish. When asked to go out on a limb with a pairing idea – I tweeted “Savory herb waffles with a maple-bacon drizzle and pan seared duck breast.” This is a dish I plan to make and pair with a bottle of this wine in the near future. Click here to find this wine and click here to watch the CellarPass interview with Scott Klann. 

Twisted Oak Winery 2009 ‘The Spaniard’ 

3) Twisted Oak Winery 2009 [Calaveras County] ‘The Spaniard’ (SRP $49): This is a dark and pleasing blend of 68% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, and 17% Garnacha that I originally had an opportunity to review for #TempranilloDay and have since enjoyed another bottle with bacon-wrapped filet mignon. In the glass, this wine sports a deep color with dark cherry and blackberry aromas with underlying darker fruit tones, light smoky notes, and a hint of meatiness. It is medium-to-full in body with well-integrated tannins and a savory mid-palate with a warm, cedar-accented lasting finish. During the virtual tasting, I recall seeing a number of positive tweets about this wine. It is another nice effort from the twisted bunch out there in Calaveras County. Check them out!  Click here to find this wine and be sure to follow proprietor Jeff Stai on Twitter. Dude is a hoot! 

Gene Simmons got nothing on Woody!

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were received as a media sample for an event. Thoughts are my own.

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