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Through the Grapevine: Lonely and unsatisfied — Twisted 2013 old vine zinfandel

Twisted Wine 2013 old vine zinfandel. Photo by Alan Bennett, Culture Editor.
Twisted Wine 2013 old vine zinfandel. Photo by Alan Bennett, Culture Editor.

Grade: C-

Sex sells, at least when it comes to wine.

Seriously, if “sexy” had a scent, Twisted’s 2013 old vine zinfandel would be it. With a deep violet color and enticing aromas of freshly pressed berries, sultry tobacco, clove and smoldering oak, I think I need a cigarette.

Opening a bottle of this wine is like locking eyes with a stranger: you don’t want to fall for them, but you just can’t help it. How could you not, when the bottle itself challenges you to, “Branch out of the zone and be a little indulgent, a little racy and a little rock n’ roll?” Certainly, one whiff of this stuff will transport you to an underground nightclub, where a man in black throws aside a tiny window and asks you for a password. You somehow make it inside, although you weren’t invited, and there it is: Twisted, sitting alone at the bar, making eyes at you. You make your way to the dancefloor, where things start getting steamy. But the heat of the moment doesn’t last very long — while things may be hot and heavy at first, you realize that your initial attraction starts to wane.

Twisted’s 2013 old vine zinfandel may have lured you in with its musky cologne, but one sip will reveal to you why it is priced so low. Immediately, the tongue becomes cloaked in jammy decadence, a fruit-forward seduction of flavor. Unfortunately, Twisted only knows one dance move and that’s where the act becomes redundant. Yes, this wine is a bit of a tease, its aromas promising a full-bodied experience, but only offering a window into the unknown.

All the sensual layers of tobacco and oak fade into memory, and you’ll find yourself left longing for more. Sweet as it is — which is very — it is unfortunately uncoordinated, and it stumbles in its mission to provide a balanced glass. According to the winemaker, this wine should provide flavors of dark berry and black pepper. While the berries dominate, black pepper is nowhere to be found. Perhaps it is in the bathroom, doing its hair or fixing its mascara. Things start to get sloppy as people start spilling drinks and begin tripping over their heels. Where was clove in this mess? Probably at the bar, buying yet another drink.

It is natural for zinfandel to be sweet. The grape fairs well in hotter climates and so can produce more sugar than cooler-climate varietals. But it is also natural for zinfandel to show its naughty side, to be a little bitter when necessary. Twisted’s zin was all show and no substance. There is no tannin to give the drinker a sense of mystery, although a rich buttery quality does add depth to the wine’s otherwise light mouthfeel.

For $4.99, I suppose I got what I paid for. I suppose Twisted makes no attempt to be classy, or to provide any complex form of communication. No, described as, “about discovering your own individual wine style, without any of the complicated rules traditionally associated with wine,” at least Twisted is outright as to its intentions. Twisted is for the night, not the long-term.

Perhaps I am not privy to this modern hookup culture. Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to prefer a wine I can talk to, a wine that will be there for me when I’m sad, a wine that will lend me its shoulder when I’m in need of a good cry. But now, I just feel used. Drinking Twisted’s 2013 old vine zinfandel unfortunately left me feeling dirty and in need of a trip to church.
Twisted 2013 old vine zinfandel can be purchased at most grocery stores, including Bell’s Orono IGA for $4.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle. It is recommended you spend a few more dollars for something else.

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