Crush is On!

No doubt about it – we are in the thick of it. It is now raining lightly and we expect continued wet weather over the next several days. We enjoyed a picture perfect September, with day after day in the mid 80’s; but things changed quickly over the weekend. Last week was our busiest of the harvest, and this week we expect the hectic pace to continue. Most of the white grapes, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, have been picked. A fair amount of Pinot Noir from warmer regions is already in, but a large amount of fruit remains on the vines. Many growers are “spraying and praying.”
All the grapes we had under contracted are currently fermenting. While we didn’t always receive as much fruit as we wanted, the quality of the fruit appears excellent, and we are confident Evelyn will produce some knockout wines from the 2011 vintage. Another Harvest Fair – another slew of ribbons. Our 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris won a GOLD MEDAL; and SILVER MEDALS went to our 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Garagistes2010 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and 2009 Russian River Valley Riesling. It’s a busy month for everyone at the winery. Yesterday we hosted a reception for wine clubs in western Sonoma County. On Sunday, October 9th, we will have our fall President’s Club party – this time in our new picnic area. Two weeks later, on October 23, we will host our annual Harvest Party. Kaitlyn and Greg are in full party mode. I’ll be off to Colorado and Massachusetts for fall tastings, and the folks in the cellar have more than enough to do in the weeks ahead. If you are planning on attending one of our upcoming events, we are looking forward to seeing you. Any time you are in the area you are more than welcome to drop in for a taste of two of our award winning wines. Cheers to Harvest 2011! Cheers, Mike Tierney President, Taft Street Winery  

Butternut Squash Gratin

This is a good recipe to have in your Holiday collection. It can be done ahead of time, and can easily be doubled or tripled.

Ingredients

  • 3 10oz packages frozen spinach, thawed
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup cream
  • 2 pounds (2 whole) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Squeeze spinach, coarsely chop and put in bowl.
  3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in pan and cook garlic and onion, 5 minutes. Stir into spinach with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cream.
  4. Cut squash into 1/8 inch thick slices. (A mandolin or microwaving the squash briefly can be of help here.)
  5. Layer the squash and spinach in baking dish, starting and ending with the squash. Sprinkle cheese over top layer and dot with remaining butter.
  6. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover and continue until brown and bubbly, another 10-15 minutes.
Enjoy as part of a feast with an appropriate Taft Street wine!

Tis the Season

The rush is over. We opened our cellar doors one last time on November 8th for some Late Harvest Riesling, but that was it. The wines have finished primary fermentation and are awaiting their long winter’s nap. May they rest in peace. Meanwhile the cellar staff is gearing up for winter bottling. Through the New Year we will attend to our clients’ bottlings. After the Holidays we will bottle out 2011 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, followed by the 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris and the 2011 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir. These bottlings are timely, as we are out of the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and are quickly running out of the 2010 Pinot Gris. We might add that stocks of our two stunning 2007 Pinot Noirs – the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley – are running low. This is an excellent time to take advantage of great pricing on a fine vintage. Our California direct sales staff enjoyed another best-month-ever in November. Kudos to Clayton, Mosha and Diana. Our Tasting Room is busy with Holiday shoppers, both in person and online. This Sunday, December 4th, is wine club appreciation day for all West Sonoma County Wineries wine club members. We will try something new this month, as we host a private dinner in our barrel room. If it works as well as we expect, barrel room dinners could become yet another arrow in our party sheath. West County is gorgeous this time of year, as there is still color in the trees and vineyards. The pace has slowed, and a stop in our Tasting Room will invigorate those exhausted by Holiday shopping. We will be open daily at our regular hours with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Season’s Greetings from the folks at Taft Street! Cheers, Mike Tierney President, Taft Street Winery  

Fresh Fig Compote

When you have three fig trees, you’ve got to develop a series of recipes (kind of like zucchini). Here’s a versatile recipe, one that goes well with crème fraiche and/or pound cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh figs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Zest from ½ orange
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Wash figs and cut into eighths
  2. Place all ingredients in pan. Mix.
  3. Heat gently to boiling, simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature
  I like this with a glass of 2009 Russian River Valley Riesling.

Tis the Season

The rush is over. We opened our cellar doors one last time on November 8th for some Late Harvest Riesling, but that was it. The wines have finished primary fermentation and are awaiting their long winter’s nap. May they rest in peace. Meanwhile the cellar staff is gearing up for winter bottling. Through the New Year we will attend to our clients’ bottlings. After the Holidays we will bottle out 2011 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, followed by the 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris and the 2011 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir. These bottlings are timely, as we are out of the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and are quickly running out of the 2010 Pinot Gris. We might add that stocks of our two stunning 2007 Pinot Noirs – the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley – are running low. This is an excellent time to take advantage of great pricing on a fine vintage. Our California direct sales staff enjoyed another best-month-ever in November. Kudos to Clayton, Mosha and Diana. Our Tasting Room is busy with Holiday shoppers, both in person and online. This Sunday, December 4th, is wine club appreciation day for all West Sonoma County Wineries wine club members. We will try something new this month, as we host a private dinner in our barrel room. If it works as well as we expect, barrel room dinners could become yet another arrow in our party sheath. West County is gorgeous this time of year, as there is still color in the trees and vineyards. The pace has slowed, and a stop in our Tasting Room will invigorate those exhausted by Holiday shopping. We will be open daily at our regular hours with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Season’s Greetings from the folks at Taft Street! Cheers, Mike Tierney President, Taft Street Winery