The first major storms of the season are upon us, and we expect 8-10 inches of rain to fall over the next couple of days. The vines are quickly losing their leaves and the hills are turning green.- winter is on its way.
In the cellar the new wines are completing their fermentation, and indications are the young wines are every bit as good as we had hoped. Alcohol levels are a full point less than the average over the last few years; and with good acid levels the wines show terrific balance.
We continue to adjust and improve our market presence. Our latest move is the appointment of Ribevi Wines International as our Southern California distributor. Ribevi is a highly regarded importer of Italian, Chilean and Argentine wines; and they have hired Mosha Rastgar to head their California wine division, meaning Mosha will continue to represent Taft Street in Southern California. This is truly a win – win situation for both Taft Street and Mosha, and we thank him for his great work over the past year and a half.
The crowds continue in the Tasting Room, though at a more relaxed pace than earlier in the fall. The next event is this weekend, when ten local wineries hold a wine club appreciation day. On Sunday, December 2nd members of all wine clubs can take advantage of discounts from the other participating wineries. If you are not a wine club member, it would be a good time to join and stock up on you Holiday supplies.
The Tasting Room will be open daily through the Holiday Season, though we close for Christmas and New Year’s. You might call ahead on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
May you have a wonderful Holiday Season. We raise a glass of Taft Street to you.
We cooked these for Thanksgiving and they were a big hit. They match well with many winter dishes – roasts, soups, and the like. Plus, they really work with our current house favorite – Taft Street 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir!
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup grated cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped hers (rosemary, parsley, sage …)
- Preheat oven to 450. Lightly coat a standard muffin pan with butter or oil spray. When oven is heated, heat the pan for 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in bowl whisk together milk, eggs, butter, flour and salt until well blended. Add cheese and herbs and mix well.
- Remove pan from oven and pour batter into each cup about 2/3 full. You should use all the batter. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to 400 and bake 15 minutes more.
- Cool for a couple of minutes and serve warm. Enjoy!
What a difference a year – or two – makes!
After two years of “challenging” harvest – wet springs, followed by fruit shattering heat waves, followed by early rains – this year’s harvest is headed for the record books as about as ideal as possible.
Production across the board is way above the last two years, and above the most optimistic predictions of even a few months ago. Even more important is the quality of the fruit. Growers and winemakers alike are raving about the purity and intensity of flavors. We processed more than 1100 tons of fruit this year, up from 700+ in 2011. In fact, we turned away a number of offers of grapes, as wineries throughout the county (and the state) found themselves with full tanks and barrels.
Our staff, led by winemaker Evelyn White and ably assisted by general manager Mike Martini, put in the 12 – 16 hour days week after week to get the job done correctly. Cleanup has begun and our hats are off to our talented and dedicated production staff!
So what do we do during the chaos of harvest? We party! First we poured our DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL/BEST OF CLASS 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The next weekend we hosted our annual fall President’s Club party; and we ended the month with a harvest party!
How do we start this month? The Russian River Wine Road’s Wine and Food Affair, where we will pair our 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris with a spicy sriracha chicken. Also check out this month’s Mike Kitchen featuring Garlic Tarts.
There’s more going on. Our new sales manager Paul Young was off on his first outing – to New Orleans, and followed that with a quick visit to Southern California. In the winery we are making our plans and budget for 2013, and the energy and enthusiasm are palpable!
With the harvest over and things returning to normal, it’s a great time to stop by for a glass of wine. Kaitlyn and crew will help you enjoy the bounty of our special place.
President, Taft Street Winery
Fall is upon us, and heartier dishes with red wine fit the bill. Here’s a festive vegetarian dish that works with a number of red wines – I particularly like the 2009 Dry Creek Syrah.
2009 Dry Creek Syrah.
- 12 ounce puff pastry
- 3 head garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- In a fluted tart pan roll out puff pastry to line bottom and sides. Put waxed paper on bottom with weights, put in fridge for 30 minutes, then blind bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove weights and bake 10 more minutes.
- Put garlic in pan cover with water and blanch for 4 minutes. Drain. Fry garlic in oil for 2 minutes, add balsamic and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, thyme and salt and cook until liquid has evaporated (10 minutes).
- Break cheese into pieces and scatter in tart shell. Spoon garlic and syrup over cheese. Whisk egg, cream, salt and pepper and pour over tart.
- Reduce oven to 325 and cook for 40 minutes when the tart has set. Cool.
Serve with green salad and Taft Street 2009 Dry Creek Valley Syrah. Enjoy!
Some great photos from the 2012 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Judges Dinner, hosted by Taft Street Winery. A special thanks to all the judges for their time with this year’s competition.
Taft Street Winery is very happy to announce the addition of Paul Young to the Taft Street family. He comes to Taft Street with 23 years of experience as Director of Sales and Marketing for Heck Estates and Kenwood Vineyards.
“Paul is a true professional who understands the needs of distributors and the demands of brand management,” said Mike Tierney, President of Taft Street Winery. “Taft Street is fortunate to have just celebrated its thirty years in the wine business with the same core group that started in the garage. With the addition of Paul to the team that includes winemaker Evelyn White, we are very excited for the continued success in this industry.”
Judged by renowned wine critics and sommeliers from throughout the country, the Sonoma County’s Harvest Fair is one of the most exciting and prestigious California wine competitions. With over 1,000 of the County’s finest wines submitted, we are truly excited to be recognized as one of the best!
We’ll be pouring this award winner at the Harvest Fair Wine Pavilion on October 5, 6 & 7. Be sure to get your tickets early and stop by our booth for a memorable Taft Street experience.
Can’t make it to the event? We are pre-releasing the 2011 vintage to our friends and family during the coming holidays.
Be the first to order this Double Gold Medal winner today!
Pretty much everyone in the wine business here in California is smiling these days. The weather has been perfect, the harvest is both big and beautiful, and wineries are able to build back inventories after a couple of lean harvests. Most of our grapes are already fermenting, though we still have several hundred tons of grapes to process for our custom crush clients.
Had a busier than usual weekend. On Friday we hosted a dinner for the judges and officials for the 2012 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. (See Mike’s Kitchen for the menu) The next night was the awards dinner, where we managed to wine a DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL and BEST OF CLASS award for our 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. We completed the weekend with our final concert of the season, and our old friends Bottle Shock put on their usual mellow performance.
This weekend we’ll be pouring our award winning wines at the Harvest Fair. The next weekend (October 14th) we’ll entertain our President’s Club with our annual fall party. We’ll finish out the month (October 27th) with our end of harvest party. All this while we continue to make wine!
We would like to welcome Paul Young to the Taft Street family. Paul is our new Sales Manager, and will be responsible for the distribution of our wine throughout the country and overseas. Paul brings with him a wealth of experience, at both Kenwood Vineyards and Heck Estates. He knows the marketplace and we look forward to working with him in the further growth of the Taft Street brand.
For those of you in the area, this is undoubtedly the finest time of year to visit the winery. We’re making wine, the trees and vines are aglow, our picnic area is at its prime, and (as usual) we have award winning wines to taste. Come on by and share!
President, Taft Street Winery
Last week we hosted a group of judges and officials from the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair. We decided to go whole hog, so here’s what we did.
We called our friend and neighbor Lou Preston, who supplied us with a 74 pound (dressed) pig. We took her to the winery where we put her in brine (50 gallons water/10 pounds salt/5 pounds sugar) and filled the tub with ice (50 pounds). There she sat for 36 hours. We pulled her out, dried her off, and let her sit for six or seven hours.
At 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning we lit a fire with oak logs in our smoker. After an hour and a half there was a nice bed of coals, so we placed the pig in the smoker. We kept the fire going at a temperature of about 225 by adding a log to the fire every hour or so. We would occasionally mist the pig with a spray mixture of soy sauce and cider vinegar.
By 3:00p.m. Friday afternoon we had internal temperature reading of about 150, a sign that the pig was ready. We took it out of the smoker and let it sit for an hour and a half.
After that it was skin, slice and serve with slaw and baked apples stuffed with bleu cheese.
Oh yes, and a variety of Taft Street wines!
The time is now! The 2012 Taft Street harvest begins today, and so far, everything looks amazing. Here’s a few early photos with more to come!