The most successful Russian River Wine Road Barrel Tasting weekends have just finished. Over the past two weekends we have introduced a pair of Pinot Noirs: a 2008 Mendocino County Pinot Noir (115 cases); and a 2008 Sonoma County Pinot Noir (111 cases). We bottled them with our original (think 1982) label, designed by Maureen Bragdon. These “heritage wines” will only be available on line www.taftstreetwinery.com starting April 1st. Stay tuned.

Gorgeous weather, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness (two of my alma maters made it to The Dance – go St. Mary’s College Gaels and Cal Bears!) all spell Spring. However, an even more important event is now taking place – the vines are starting to push. Go vines! (update: we’re still rooting for St. Mary’s)

It has not been a great month for us at Taft Street in terms of health. First, I had some complications in a pacemaker procedure and enjoyed an overnight stay at Santa Rosa’s Memorial Hospital. Then Mike Martini suffered a stroke and a hole was discovered in his heart. A local columnist quipped the event was misdiagnosed – it had long been thought the hole was in Mike’s head! Finally, Laurie Keith, our California sales manager, was in an automobile accident in Los Angeles and her rental car was totaled. The good news is Laurie was not injured. Mike and I are on the mend – both back at work.

Am enjoying the last of a way too short visit from our son and his family from Shanghai. It doesn’t get much better than doting on one’s grandchild. They are off tomorrow, laden with Taft Street wine.

Speaking of China, just finished Peter Hessler’s COUNTRY DRIVING:

A Journey Through China From Farm To Factory. Hessler takes us with him on a fascinating, often hilarious journey by car through a country experiencing dramatic transformation. This is an intimate portrayal of a society by someone who knows the language and culture. Good stuff.

Next week I’ll be talking with winemaker Evelyn White on Pinot Noir. We’ll discuss the grape variety in general and describe the qualities of our two “heritage wines” in particular. Check it out www.taftstreetwinery.com.

Enjoy Spring – perhaps with a glass of Taft Street wine.



Taft Street Winery @ the 2010 ZAP Festival

Quick video our President Mike Tierney at ZAP Festival in San Francisco.

Taft Street Winery – ZAP Festival Winery Interview

Taft Street Shrimp Tacos

On a recent trip to So Cal we had some great shrimp tacos on the public pier in Santa Barbara. Here’s our take.


  • 1 pound shrimp (30 count) cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons Taft Street Rub (recipe to follow)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sriracha sauce
  • ½ small head cabbage, finely sliced
  • 4 ounces blue cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas

Taft Street Rub

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Brown cumin seed and coriander seed in a fry pan until they begin to smoke. Put in spice grinder and grind to powder. Mix in chili powder, sugar, and salt and pepper.
  2. Make slaw by combining cabbage, blue cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Season shrimp with Taft Street Rub. Heat oil in fry pan and add shrimp. Cook until opaque (about 2 minutes).
  4. Mix in a squirt of sriracha sauce.
  5. Heat tortillas on stovetop or in oven wrapped in aluminum foil.
  6. Serve with slaw.

Serves 4. These really go well with our new 2009 Sonoma County Rose’ of Pinot Noir.

Spring Forward

The Winter Olympics are done, the Russian River Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting is here, the vineyards and orchards have been pruned, the spring garden has been planted, the fruit trees are abloom, the reservoirs are full (very good news), St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, as is March Madness – we are definitely coming out of winter.

In the winery the pace remains measured. Client bottling has continued, as has topping and overall care of the wines. As the weather warms up blending trials will begin for bottling of the 2009 white wines later this spring.

In the press Taft Street continues to garnish boffo reviews. The latest edition of CONNOISSEURS’ GUIDE TO CALIFORNIS WINES (FEBRUARY 2010) has this to say about our 2008 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc:

“Fragrant and fruity with a deft trim of fresh grass to its ongoing theme of kiwi and green melon, this rounded and accessible wine is enlivened by nicely fit acid with nary a hint of coarseness at any point. It is a little too rich and lacks quite the right bite to complement oysters, but its generous fruit directs it to service with flavorful dishes like salmon. 89 points (one puff)”

On the street we have been moving at full throttle. Aside from getting ready for Barrel Tasting these first two weekends, we will be on the road. Laurie will work the Southern California market next week, and will pour our wine at the opening of the new Total Wine and More store in Las Vegas. Mike Martini will visit New Hampshire and I’ll be in the New York market later this month.

In the Tasting Room Kaitlyn and company are getting ready for the crowds that make up Barrel Tasting – the first two weekends in March. This year we have bottled two 2008 Pinot Noirs – a Mendocino County and a Sonoma County – and bottled them with our original (think 1982) label. We will offer them to our visitors during Barrel Tasting, and will later have the wines available online. Stay tuned.

It’s easy to keep up with the goings on at Taft Street. In addition to the monthly State of the Street, you can receive our weekly email, monthly blog, monthly “Conversation with Evelyn,” and follow our Facebookand Twitter sites. Start at www.taftstreetwinery.com

Hope to see you at Barrel Tasting.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery