RAMBLING ON………….and on…..and on

Warm, smoke filled days indicate the Western wildfire season is in full swing. High summer means tomatoes and Asian pears are out in (over)abundance, and our six fig trees are about ready to bear. Why anyone has six fig trees is beyond me. Grapes are a month or so away. Peppers and eggplant are making their moves, and citrus, apples and squash are not far behind.

We’re going to try something new at the Tasting Room. Every month we’ll work with one of my recipes – a kind of hands on cooking demonstration/lesson. Our first get together will take place next Friday. August 21st, from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. We’ll make fresh spring rolls, using the recipe I picked up on my trip to Viet Nam last month. We’ll pair the rolls with our 2008 Mendocino Gewurztraminer, which we’ll offer at a special price that day. Come and join the fun.

The weekly summer concert series held in the square in Healdsburg is all too quickly coming to an end. Our favorite local musician, Danny Sorrentino, played this week. Danny and his band played at Kathy’s and my 40th anniversary party the year before last. They kick butt. Only two concerts to go, with the great Roy Rogers bringing things to a conclusion August 25th. Nothing says summer like a basket full of fresh food, several chilled bottles of Taft Street wine, and friends enjoying an early evening in the park.

I read a lot. I also collect cookbooks, so I am not much interested in cluttering up the house with old paperbacks. I am, therefore, a faithful user of the Sonoma County library, Healdsburg branch. The library holds the most extensive wine library in the United States, and I go there often to check out wine industry periodicals. I also feed my mystery habit, and in the past couple of weeks I’ve caught up with a few of my favorite gumshoe writers: Lee Child, Ed McBain, Robert Parker and Bill Pronzini. I also read Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis. The book, edited by Maher and Dorr, consists of a series of interviews with Miles Davis, from the 1950’s until right before his death in 1991. A great musician and a very irascible human being. But who cares when you can listen to Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain, and Bitch’s Brew. Interesting read.

One Sonoma County landmark I can see (almost) from my back porch is the Dry Creek Store – Established 1881. This is the only non agricultural retailer allowed in the Dry Creek Valley, having been around for longer than any zoning restrictions. A few years back Gina Gallo (yes, those Gallos) bought the place, and she has done a fine job in upgrading the food, while maintaining the ambiance – good old time Sonoma funk. The bar is terrific – a tiny room filled with old signs and farm paraphernalia. Excellent Bear Republic IPA on tap. Sipping a tall, cool one while sitting on an Adirondack chair looking out over the Dry Creek Valley is relaxation, indeed.

One of the many good things about being in the wine business is keeping up with the competition. We at Taft Street conduct monthly tastings, where we take one of our current releases and blind taste it against six or seven similar wines, often from the Russian River Valley. Last month we did Zinfandel, and our 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Cobblestone Vineyard won handily. This Friday we are tasting 2008 Pinot Noir Rose. Rose wine has experienced a big upsurge in popularity over the last several years, and we have done quite well with ours. We will post the results on our Facebook/Taft Street Winery page.

….and so on. Come see us next Fridays for spring rolls and wine.

Until then,


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