Onion Soup the Taft Street Way

I love onion soup, but most of the time I get a strong chicken or beef broth flavor which hides the taste of onion. In Michael Ruhlman’s new book – Ruhlman’s Twenty – he suggests substituting water for stock. The results are amazing! Here is a twist on his recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 7-8 pounds Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 6-8 slices country bread, toasted
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • ½ pound Irish cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 cups water
  1. In a large pot on medium heat, melt butter, add onions, and heat until onions start to steam. Uncover, season, and turn to low, and cook until onions turn brown (several hours). Stir occasionally.
  2. Add six cups of water to the onions, bring to simmer, add sherry, and season to taste.
  3. Preheat broiler. Portion soup in ovenproof bowls, float toast on top and cover with cheese. Cook until nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Both Taft Street Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir go exceptionally well with this dish.

New Year’s Greetings

Blue skies and balmy daytime temperatures have been the rule of the day for weeks and weeks now, and everyone is starting to get a bit nervous. Water levels in local reservoirs are still healthy, due to last year’s wet winter, but very little rain and/or snow has fallen in California this season. The vineyards have not been affected, but everyone would like to see at least some stormy weather ahead.

In the winery, we have resumed bottling wines for our clients, and we will get our 2011 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc in the bottle over the next couple of weeks. After that, the 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris and the 2011 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir are scheduled for bottling.

Next weekend, January 14 – 15, we will participate in the 20th anniversary of Wine Road Northern Sonoma County’s annual Winter Wineland. Over 120 wineries and 50 lodgings will celebrate the season with wine, art and (wine) education. The event will take place from 11:00am until 4:00pm each day. Event program and tickets are available online: wineroad.com. Right after Winter Wineland we will give the Tasting Room a makeover, enhancing what is already a pretty cool place.

After a very successful 2011, Team Taft Street is charging right ahead into the new year. Clayton and Moshe are busy restocking store shelves and lining up restaurant accounts, while distributors are building up their depeleted inventories. We have targeted several areas for new and increased market presence, and will make several key placements over the next several months. Winemaker Evelyn White and I will visit Louisiana in mid month to visit accounts and participate in winemaker dinners. We will visit most of our other key distributors over the next several months. Meanwhile, Jake is refining our online operation, which is becoming a major part of our direct sales program. Mike Martini is keeping it all together – finishing the 2011 books, polishing the 2012 budget, and tending to the hundreds of details involved in a modern day winery operation.

Hope to see you at Winter Wineland, and be sure to visit in the weeks that follow and see what we have done to the Tasting Room.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery