Vintage 2012 – One for the Books

What a difference a year – or two – makes!

After two years of “challenging” harvest – wet springs, followed by fruit shattering heat waves, followed by early rains – this year’s harvest is headed for the record books as about as ideal as possible.

Production across the board is way above the last two years, and above the most optimistic predictions of even a few months ago. Even more important is the quality of the fruit. Growers and winemakers alike are raving about the purity and intensity of flavors. We processed more than 1100 tons of fruit this year, up from 700+ in 2011. In fact, we turned away a number of offers of grapes, as wineries throughout the county (and the state) found themselves with full tanks and barrels.

Our staff, led by winemaker Evelyn White and ably assisted by general manager Mike Martini, put in the 12 – 16 hour days week after week to get the job done correctly. Cleanup has begun and our hats are off to our talented and dedicated production staff!

So what do we do during the chaos of harvest? We party! First we poured our DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL/BEST OF CLASS 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The next weekend we hosted our annual fall President’s Club party; and we ended the month with a harvest party!

How do we start this month? The Russian River Wine Road’s Wine and Food Affair, where we will pair our 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris with a spicy sriracha chicken. Also check out this month’s Mike Kitchen featuring Garlic Tarts.

There’s more going on. Our new sales manager Paul Young was off on his first outing – to New Orleans, and followed that with a quick visit to Southern California. In the winery we are making our plans and budget for 2013, and the energy and enthusiasm are palpable!

With the harvest over and things returning to normal, it’s a great time to stop by for a glass of wine. Kaitlyn and crew will help you enjoy the bounty of our special place.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Garlic Tart

Fall is upon us, and heartier dishes with red wine fit the bill. Here’s a festive vegetarian dish that works with a number of red wines – I particularly like the 2009 Dry Creek Syrah.

2009 Dry Creek Syrah.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 ounce puff pastry
  • 3 head garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a fluted tart pan roll out puff pastry to line bottom and sides. Put waxed paper on bottom with weights, put in fridge for 30  minutes, then blind bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove weights and bake 10 more minutes.
  2. Put garlic in pan cover with water and blanch for 4 minutes. Drain. Fry garlic in oil for 2 minutes, add balsamic and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, thyme and salt and cook until liquid has evaporated (10 minutes).
  3. Break cheese into pieces and scatter in tart shell. Spoon garlic and syrup over cheese. Whisk egg, cream, salt and pepper and pour over tart.
  4. Reduce oven to 325 and cook for 40 minutes when the tart has set. Cool.

Serve with green salad and Taft Street 2009 Dry Creek Valley Syrah. Enjoy!