Summer is Here!

After a few cool days with a couple of sprinkles, Mother Nature got right back on track and we are in the midst of summer in Sonoma – warm days and cool nights. It appears a very big crop is at hand, as many growers report large numbers of big clusters of grapes. It also looks like an early harvest; I picked my first tomatoes a couple of days ago! In the cellar Evelyn and crew are preparing wine for two bottlings: our 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, and our 2011 Alexander Valley Merlot – both scheduled for summer release. Great news from Sunset Magazine. Their wine competition, one of the world’s largest and one in which few medals are awarded, gave the Taft Street 2012 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc a GOLD MEDAL, one of only two awarded for wines from the Russian River Valley. Our 2012 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir was awarded a BRONZE MEDAL, the highest award in its category. Congratulations Evelyn! Our summer music series, A Little Street Music, got off to a resounding start last weekend with the appearance of the Pulsators. More than 300 people packed our  grounds, drank Taft Street wine, picnicked and enjoyed themselves immensely. Our next performance is on June 30th, with It’s a Beautiful Day Acoustic feat, with David LaFlame. Come early for a good seat. You don’t have to wait for live music to visit us. The shade cloth is in place, the trees are growing and providing more shade, the bocce court is beckoning – and the Taft Street wine is chilled (or with the reds – cellar temperature). Kaitlyn and staff are ready for you. Cheers, Mike Tierney President, Taft Street Winery

Jerk Chicken with Watermelon Salad

Summertime brings to mind a number of things, among them spicy barbeque and icy cold watermelon. This dish combines these taste treats. Ingredients:
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 habanero chiles, stemmed and seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 whole skin-on, bone-in chicken legs and thighs
Cooking Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a food processor and run until smooth. Place chicken in a 9×13 baking dish and pour marinade over, mixing to make sure marinade is under the skins. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Barbecue over moderate heat so skins won’t burn, about 40 minutes. Transfer to plate and serve with watermelon salad.
WATERMELON SALAD Ingredients:
  • 1 small, chilled seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1 bunch basil, shredded
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Pepper to taste
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a large, chilled salad bowl mix the top three ingredients.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Serve with jerk chicken.
This is a dish that celebrates summer, as does the Taft Street 2012 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir. Try them together. Serves 6-8