Yearly Archives: 2009
NI HAU FROM SHANGHAI
I was pleased to see evidence of Irish good cheer both in Shanghai (across the street from my son’s place), and in Niseko (right up the street).
The Irish. Before leaving home, I had the great pleasure, along with Mike Martini and Kaitlyn, of spend several hours in our Tasting Room with a visitor from Ireland (Mike Tierney) and his son (Mike Tierney). Three Mike Tierneys in a single room may sound excessive, but a jolly good time was had by all.
I was pleased to see evidence of Irish good cheer both in Shanghai (across the street from my son’s place), and in Niseko (right up the street).
As of today Taft Street will feature a new and improved web site, which will have the capability of streamlining your purchases of our favorite wines. To add more joy to the Holiday Season we will offer FREE SHIPPING on all orders during the month of December. Check it out at www.taftstreetwinery.com
Back in the winery, the pace has picked up a bit as the end of the year bottling program has kicked in, and the newly fermented wines are being transferred to barrels and tanks.
Our wines continue to impress the critics. In the e-zine Inside Sonoma dated November 19th our 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling was praised…“Aromas of honeyed apricot and pear counterpoint lean citrus, agave margarita.”
It is a busy time of year for all. We saw record crowds at last month’s Russian River Wine Road’s WINE & FOOD AFFAIR; I spent weekends in Florida and Arizona pouring our wines at ten Total Wine & More stores; and Kaitlyn and crew had another terrific month as folks stocked up for Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season.
December promises to continue the run, and it kicks off this weekend with the local EIGHT AT THE GATEwine club sale. On Sunday, December 6th wine club members at Taft Street and seven other local wineries can take advantage of club pricing at all wineries. This event, which started a couple of years ago, has turned into wildly popular occasion, and this Sunday should be no exception.
With the Holiday Season kicking into high gear, life has a way of turning stressful. We at Taft Street have found an effective stress reducing routine. At the end of the day (or the middle), sit down with a friend and enjoy a glass of Taft Street wine. We have found it improves one’s state of mind and promotes a gentler world view.
To a gentler world view this Holiday Season!
The new web site is up and running. Orders are coming in daily, and even our most uber technoid friends and critics are applauding the style and ease of the site. Remember there are just a couple of days left to order wine for a pre Christmas arrival. Kudos to Jake Martini for a fine job of web design.
We are definitely in winter mode at the winery. Bottling, barrel work, and putting together blends are the orders of the day. Yesterday, Mike Martini, Evelyn and I tasted through some 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir blends. Yummy! We will bottle next spring, and I can’t wait to see this wine shine.
This Friday we’ll celebrate the Holidays with a crab cioppino lunch for the Taft Street staff. One of the joys of winter in Sonoma County is fresh crab, along with some Taft Street Russian River Valley Chardonnay or Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Our 8 at the Gate wine club day was a great success. Last Sunday wine club members at Taft Street and seven other nearby Russian River Valley wineries were able to take advantage of club pricing at all eight wineries. We were packed all day, and it was great to meet so many new faces.
I am looking forward to this Saturday; when not one, not two, but three Mike Tierney’s will be at the winery. Last year Laurie was at a tasting in San Jose and met a charming fellow from Ireland – Mike Tierney. His son, also Mike Tierney, lives in San Jose. The dad is visiting this week, and they will be visiting the winery on Saturday. We will raise a glass of Taft Street and post some photos on Facebook.
Everyone at Taft Street wishes you a very Happy Holidays. Kathy and I are off to China and Japan to spend some time with our son Matt, his wife Anne, and our grandson Otto. We will return right after the first of the year.
President, Taft Street Winery
This Sunday I will serve the annual savory biscotti to complement our array of wines for the local wine club members. We use our local favorite cheese, a cow’s milk farmer’s cheese from local cheesemaker Joe Matos, but Parmigiano-Regggiano is a fine substitute.
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 ½ cups Matos cheese, finely grated
- 1 ½ sticks cold butter, diced
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and one tablespoon black pepper. Blend in butter to create a coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs and milk and add to mixture until a soft dough forms.
- Turn dough on board and quarter. Form each piece into a log, about 12″ by 2″ by 1″. Transfer to 2 ungreased baking sheets.
- Whisk remaining egg and brush logs, then top with remaining cheese and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, switching position of pans every 10 minutes.
- Cool 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 300. Take each log at cut into i/2 inch diagonal slices. Return to pans, cut side down. Bake another 20 minutes, turning over slices midway.
- Cool 15 minutes. Can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature.
These are great with Taft Street Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.
I am sitting in the Atlantic Airport, waiting for my connecting flight to San Francisco. For the past three days I have toured the west coast of Florida, visiting Total Wine & More stores and conducting tastings in Orlando, Tampa, St Petersburg, Sarasota, Ft Myers and Naples. A grueling schedule, but the response to our wines was heartening, and the perfect weather was very welcome. A couple of highlights for me included seeing the after church crowd descend on the Naples store; and bumping into an old friend who once owned a wine shop in Sag Harbor in New York and was now working in Sarasota.
The harvest is over and a calm of sorts has returned to the winery. The bottling line is open for business, however; so there is always plenty to do.
We had a great time at the recent Russian River Wine Road Wine and Food Affair, held the weekend of November 4th and 5th. We had our biggest crowds ever, with over 180 visitors on Sunday. I made and smoked 40 pounds of sausage (over 30 feet!) to pair with our 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Cobblestone Vineyard and our 2006 Dry Creek Valley Syrah St Emydius Acres. Yum!
Later this week it’s off to Phoenix, where we will visit the Total Wine & More stores in the area, pouring our wines and spreading the Taft Street word. The fun just never ends.
With Thanksgiving coming up fast, time is running out on our Turkey Day Special. The focus will be on our 2008 Mendocino Gewurztraminer and the 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling – both GOLD MEDAL winners. Buy six and pay for five (yes, you can mix and match). We pay the shipping! So give Kaitlyn a call (800) 334-TAFT and get your Thanksgiving Beverages.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
We gave Harvest 2009 a fitting farewell last Saturday. Under perfect fall skies we gathered the Taft Street family, including growers and other folks with ties to the winery; and had ourselves a party! We built a fire pit and started a fire with a load of oak and a couple of old wine barrels and let it roar for four and a half hours. Then we loaded the grill with a full sirloin, New York and filet (58 pounds total) and cooked. We gathered on the crush pad between tanks filled with new wine and watched the moon rise. We also enjoyed several bottles of Taft Street wine. A good time was had by all.
The harvest went quite smoothly, and for us at Taft Street it couldn’t have gone much better. All our grapes came in before the mid October rainstorm, and indications point to excellent wines. Some of our custom crush clients had grapes hanging and there was some problem with rot, but the good weather which followed the storm helped salvage most of the grapes. Things are slowly getting back to normal at the winery, with 14 hour days a thing of the past. Attention is now focused on following fermentations, getting wines into barrel, and cleaning equipment.
October was a busy month for everyone. While Evelyn and her crew were making wine, Mike Martini changed his cellar outfit for something a bit more presentable and worked with our distributor in Florida. I hit the Boston and New York markets, and then was off to Denver to catch their first snowfall of the season. Next week I’ll visit Florida, and the following week will be in the Phoenix area. We are seeing an increase in sales activity in most of our markets – a hopeful sign.
November is always a big month in the Tasting Room. This weekend we will participate in the Wine and Food Affair, when more than 150 wines in the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley offer wine pairing with specially prepared foods. I’ll make smoked sausages, which we’ll pair with our 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Cobblestone Vineyard and our 2006 Dry Creek Valley Syrah St. Emydius Acres. Kaitlyn reports October was our best month ever in the Tasting Room – kudos to Kaitlyn and her staff!
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we have decided to promote two wines which go especially well with turkey and all the trimmings. Until Thanksgiving we will offer six bottles of either the 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling and/or the 2008 Mendocino Gewurztraminer for the price of five. On top of that we will through in free shipping! The Riesling won a Best of Class at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair; the Gewurztraminer a Gold Medal at the Mendocino County Fair. It’s time to act now to gussy up your Thanksgiving table.
We note with sadness the passing of longtime Sonoma County resident and musician Norton Buffalo. Norton’s music graced innumerable Taft Street parties and that tradition will continue. R.I.P. Norton Buffalo.
All for now. My blog will be around the 15th of the month.
The inspiration for our fire pit cooking came from an Argentine recipe – Una Vaca Entera. This recipe called for “1 medium cow, about 1400 pounds, butterflied, skin removed.” We decided to start with something a bit more manageable, and our Saturday party was a big success. Chimichurri sauce is a staple of Argentine cooking, and it varies from region to region; but the basics include parsley, garlic and olive oil. Makes 2 cups.
- 2 cups parsley leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- 6 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- Combine parsley with salt, garlic pepper flakes, and half the oil in a food processor. Process, scrapping down the sides of the container if necessary.
- Add vinegar and the rest of the oil and process.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with a wide variety of dishes. It was a real hit with grilled steak!
Zinfandel and Syrah are natural fits for steak with chimichurri sauce – Taft Street of course.
is upon us. Just after I put away tables from the President’s Club party, stashed cushions and rattan furniture from the decks and patio, and harvested forty pounds of tomatoes – the skies opened. From four to six inches of rain will drop over the next 24 hours. Timing is everything, and this year (and this week) we did just fine. All our grapes are in, and the final arrival (Riesling) began fermentation today.
Our party was a great success. Under overcast skies we enjoyed the music of local band Bottle Shock, ate delicious barbecue from our friend, grape grower and dairyman Dominic Carinalli, and paired wine with appetizers made from our garden. Over 200 people attended the best ever rendition of our fall get together. Check out the photos on the Taft Street Winery Facebook account.
The Gold Medal and Best of Class awards at this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair is continuing to excite retailers and restaurants alike. These winners can now be found in virtually every local wine shop, and many restaurants are featuring one or more of the wines. We are doing our bit at the Tasting Room, where we are offering a case with three bottles of each of the GOLD MEDAL winners – 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Garagistes, 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris, and 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling – for $195. That is more than 20% off our regular price. Call the Tasting Room (800) 234-8238.
Just had a hectic but productive trip back east last week. On the heels of the Harvest Fair weekend and the hosting of a group from our New York distributor, I flew to Boston for a trade tasting on Tuesday. I was gladdened to note the familiarity retailers and restaurateurs had with our wines, and the reception they had to our current releases. Then it was off to New York City, where we had a couple of very successful days on the streets of Manhattan. Home late Friday night and behind the stove all day Saturday, preparing for the Club party. I slept quite well Sunday night.
We are already thinking about the next event – Una Cuarta Parte Vaca. I mentioned last month of finding a terrific recipe in the new cookbook SEVEN FIRES. The recipe called for a “medium cow, about 1200 ponds, skinned and butterflied.” Mike Martini and I got to thinking about what fun it would be to try this, but in a rare moment of sanity we decided it might be a good idea to try it first on a smaller scale. So the plan is to fire up a quarter of a beef. We’ve talked to local butchers and it’s doable. So on Halloween we will have our annual after crush party with an added attraction
The very next weekend is the Russian River Wine Road’s Wine and Food Affair. It appears we are in the midst of the party season.
The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is the country’s largest regional wine competition and unique celebration of the senses, set in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country during the most splendid season of the year. Judged by renowned wine critics and sommeliers from throughout the country, Sonoma County’s Harvest Fair is truly a competition of the best of the best.
For Taft Street Winery, the 2009 awards night was very successful. Four of our wines were awarded Gold Medals, with three selected as Best of Class!
We are now at the height of Crush, with truckloads of gorgeous fruit arriving daily. It’s all hands on deck and then some, as Harvest 2009 appears to be a winner.
Certainly Taft Street is a winner. For those not in touch over the past week, we collected 4 GOLD MEDALS AT THE Sonoma County Harvest Fair, including 3 BEST OF CLASS awards. In the country’s largest regional wine competition we came away with top honors (BEST OF CLASS) with our 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, our 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris, and our 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling. Our 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Garagistes won a GOLD MEDAL; OUR 2008 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, our 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, and our 2008 Sonoma Coast Rose of Pinot Noir all took SILVER MEDALS. Our 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Cobblestone Vineyard and our 2007 Dry Creek Valley Syrah St Emydius Acres were awarded BRONZE MEDALS. Every wine we entered won an award. (Ask us about the Sweepstakes winner.)
This weekend, October 3 & 4, we will pour the wines to the public at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
These awards come right on the heels of our boffo review in the October issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine, where our 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Garagistes received 91 points (Outstanding), and our 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay earned 90 points (Outstanding) and a BEST BUY. The critics see the light!
To share the happiness Taft Street is offering a special on its GOLD MEDAL winning wines. For the month of October we will offer a mixed case with three bottles each of the GOLD MEDAL winners (both Chardonnays, the Pinot Gris, and the Riesling). This normally would cost $246; we will have it on sale for $195 – more than a 20% discount. Call the winery at 1(800)334-8238 or email us at email@example.com.
It is OND TIME (October/November/December), the busiest business quarter of the year. During the month Mike Martini will change his wine stained jeans to a more wine country casual look as he runs off to Florida for a quick series of tastings. Next week I am off to Boston and New York to work with our distributors. Later in the month I’ll be a week with our reps in Colorado. Laurie will continue hitting accounts up and down the state.
In the Tasting Room Kaitlyn and crew are gearing up for our President’s Club party Sunday, October 11th. It looks like this may be our biggest event ever, so rsvp soon if you haven’t done so already.
Enough for now; it’s back to work.
Hope to see you at the President’s Club party on October 11th.