James Suckling’s Tasting Report

Well-known wine critic James Suckling has just released his exhaustive tasting report on Sonoma County Pinot Noirs (over 200 wines).

Taft Street was awarded 91 points for its 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Sucking noted “interesting aromas of dried herbs with rose petal and strawberries. Full body, with silky tannins and a lightly toasted oak combination.” Taft Street’s 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir garnered 90 points. Suckling described the wine as “a fresh and bright style of Pinot Noir with delicate raspberry and strawberry character. Clean and almost minerally with a blue slate undertone. Very drinkable.”

The report clearly showed Taft Street to be in the very top rung of Pinot Noir producers in this storied appellation. For a full listing of wine reviews and scores go to www.jamessuckling.com.


We served these butterscotch brownies at our President’s Club part, and they were a great success. The recipe can be multiplied.


  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butterscotch bits
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat sugars and butter until well blended. Mix in egg whites and vanilla.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat until blended.
  3. Spread evenly on a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle and press in the butterscotch. Bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 16. A glass of Taft Street Zinfandel or Syrah is appropriate.

Bring on the Summer

The days are warming up, the vineyards are in bloom, and the feel of summer is everywhere. Growers are cautiously optimistic, and there is even talk of a good crop.

Our new twist on capping machine has arrived and is ready to start next week. It will be a busy summer in the bottling room. Our 2011 Russian River Pinot Gris was released last month; our 2011 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir is available as of today; and our 2010 Russian River Chardonnay and 2009 Russian River Pinot Noir will be released shortly.

Our newly renovated Tasting Room and picnic area has enjoyed a terrific opening month. We hosted the annual spring President’s Club party on May 19th, and over 100 members enjoyed wine and food in our new digs. This past weekend we opened our STREET MUSIC summer concert series with local favorite Bottle Shock. The response was wildly enthusiastic, and we can’t wait for the next concert with bluegrass band Blue and Lonesome – on Sunday, June 24th. May was our best month ever for Tasting Room direct sales!

The Tasting Room is not the only place we are selling wine. We welcome aboard Marc Batlin to our sales team in Northern California. Marc is based on the Peninsula, and will cover San Francisco to the Silicon Valley. Our friends in the South Bay will be seeing more of Taft Street.

With good weather finally here and our Tasting Room area all spiffied up, it’s a great time for a visit. Taste our new releases, play a little bocce ball, and picnic under the trees.

Be sure to check out this month’s recipe: Blondies.

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery