Winter in Wineland

After a very wet December, winter in Sonoma County has turned cold and dry. It is time for pruning in the vineyards, and getting the early white wines bottled. Our 2012 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Sonoma Country Rose of Pinot Noir, and 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris will soon be in the marketplace.

The results from the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition are in, and we are proud to announce GOLD MEDALS for our 2009 Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir Garagistes and our 2011 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir. Our 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay and our 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir won SILVER MEDALS. Winemaker Evelyn White will pour the award winning wines at Fort Mason in San Francisco on Saturday, February 16th.

Speaking of accolades, we received a nice review from renowned wine bloggers, Two Guys from Napa.

Scoring great wine at known favorites was easy at the 2013 Winter Wineland.  If you aren’t already familiar with these wineries, please change that.  We have consistently enjoyed their wines over the years and of the ones they were pouring last weekend, these are the wines we preferred the most:

Taft Street Winery – 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2011 “Garagistes” Russian River Valley Chardonnay  (2030 Barlow Lane, Sebastopol, 707-823-2049)

February will be a busy month for us. Sales Manager Paul Young and I will travel to Southern California next week for an introductory visit with the folks at Ribevi Wines International. Later, Paul will head back east to work in the Massachusetts market. Later visits to Louisiana, Texas and New York are in the works. With Winter WINEland now behind us, Kaitlyn and crew have a month to get ready for Barrel Tasting, March 1 – 3 and March 8 – 10. February would be a great time to visit us, as the Tasting Room will be relatively uncrowded and the season’s new wines will be available.

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Turkey Chili with White Beans, Chocolate and Coffee

This is a nice twist on white chili. The chocolate and coffee add an extra layer of flavor, which nicely complements a spicy red – Taft Street 2009 Dry Creek Valley Syrah comes to mind.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coffee beans, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 x 28 ounce can tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 x 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in large pan. Cook onion until soft, 6 – 8 minutes. Add oregano and cumin and stir for a minutes. Add turkey and stir until no longer brown.
  2. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, chocolate, coffee, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add beans, discard bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes. (Can be made a day ahead.)

Diced red onion, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and sour cream can be served as condiments.  Cornbread also goes well with this dish.