Asian Grill Steak

Asian Grilled Steak

With the 4th of July right around the corner, our culinary thoughts naturally turn to the grill. On hot days (and evenings) it’s nice to get something done that both tasty and quick. The following accomplishes both.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup tahini sauce (soy will do)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 2 chopped cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 ½ pounds tri-tip

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat grill. Place top six ingredients into food processor and blend thoroughly. Pour mixture over tri-tip, turning several times.
  2. Place meat on the grill and baste meat often with marinade.
  3. Cook until a thermometer reads 120 in thickest part of the meat. Take off the grill and let rest for ten minutes.
  4. Cut thinly and serve with Asian rice or noodle salad.

Serves 4 – 6

A nice bottle of 2014 Alexander Valley Merlot would go well here.

 

Summer Wines

Last Crazy Days of Summer

We’ve had our first heat wave of the year, with temperatures approaching truly hot (110!). It finally cooled off and lately, we have enjoyed warm days and cool nights. Good for the soul and good for the grapes.

Things in the winery are as expected; we are busy bottling wine and will continue until the end of July when we start to gear up for harvest. Melissa is settling in nicely as winemaker, tending last year’s wines while getting ready for her first crush at Taft Street.

Kaitlyn is as busy as ever, welcoming the summer crowds while preparing for baby #2 in September. The Tasting Room is seeing another banner year, with locals, tourists, and cyclists taking advantage of our picnic area and patio.

The summer music series – A Little Street Music – rolls on with capacity crowds the norm. With The Daniel Castro Band up next (July 9th) our capacity streak will no doubt continue.

So that’s the story folks – Summer 2017. Sunshine, music, bocce – and Taft Street wine.

Come enjoy with us.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Shrimp & Rice

One Dish Easy Supper

We are constantly on the lookout for a simple, good tasting dish that goes well with one of our wines. In summertime that wine of often Taft Street Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, and the following shrimp and rice combo works particularly well with it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ cups long grained rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • ½ teaspoon black vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • Garnish (parsley, crumbled nori, cilantro, etc.)

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook rice per directions. Let cool.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add garlic and shrimp, cooking until garlic browns and shrimp turns opaque.
  3. Add rice, tamari, vinegar and fish sauce, stirring until well mixed. Serve immediately and top with sesame seeds and garnish of choice. Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc is a requirement!

Serves 4

Summer on the Patio at Taft Street

The Summer Season Has Begun

All of a sudden we are into full summer mode. The weather has warmed, the hills have browned, and the visitors have arrived. We started our concert series with a great show by Steve Pile and Lazyman. The place was packed, the vibe was perfect, and we are happy to be back in our comfort zone.

It’s not that we haven’t been busy. Jake and I spent a productive week in New York in April, while Mike Martini was making progress in the Chicago market. I returned from a hop over to Spain to meet Sales Manager David Gast in Reno for a market visit and a winemaker dinner. This pace should continue through the harvest season.

Today we say a formal farewell to winemaker Evelyn White with a luncheon here at the winery. Evelyn has contributed much to us on so many levels, and she will always be a part of the Taft Street family. The good news is she will remain in the neighborhood and we expect to continue to see her often. Meanwhile, new winemaker, Melissa Kuhn is settling in nicely and daily operations are progressing seamlessly. Speaking of the Taft Street family, we are expecting an addition this harvest season when Kaitlyn Callaghy will bring forth baby #2!

In the winery, seasonal work continues. Bottling is on schedule, contracts have been drawn up for the coming harvest, and plans are being adjusted in the marketplace. Another season in the wine business.

Our picnic grounds have never looked better. The winter rains have done wonders to the trees and shrubs, and there is truly a park like setting to enjoy some of the best wines in the Russian River Valley. Join us.

Cheers!
Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Best of the Best

The Best of the Best

Winter has ended – abruptly. Last week cool and wet weather, which has been with us since November, changed to midsummer skies and temperatures. Looks like we’re headed into the 90’s over the next few days, and very few people are complaining.

In this year’s North Coast Wine Competition the Taft Street 2016 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir took home the Best of Show Rose, the Best of Sonoma County and the ultimate prize, the Best of the Best award. Winemaker Evelyn White sourced the pinot grapes from Bella Sonoma Vineyards owned by “Pasta King” Arturo Ibleto in the southern reaches of the Russian River Valley AVA. Needless to say, sales have been brisk and the wine is quickly selling out.

In other major news, we are announcing the retirement of winemaker Evelyn White. It has been a great ride over the past ten harvests, and Evelyn’s contributions to Taft Street have been many and varied. It is quite fitting that her latest release has been deemed the Best Wine in the North Coast this year. We wish her a long and eventful retirement.

In other major news, we announce the hiring of our new winemaking team. Melissa Kuhn joins us as our new winemaker. She has previously worked up the road at Owl Ridge Wine Services, where she was production manager with old time Taft Street winemaker John Tierney. We have also added Guy Davis as consulting oenologist. Guy is the owner/winemaker at Davis Family Vineyards in Healdsburg, where he has gained a well-earned reputation for his winemaking skills. We look forward to continued success with our lineup of wines.

The season has begun. Blue skies, warm weather, and increasing crowds mark the beginning of the Tasting Season. Our concert series is coming, our picnic grounds are tidied up, and we still have a few cases of rose left. Get here soon!

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

Shrimp Pasta

Shrimp Pasta With Rose Sauce

Our BEST OF THE BEST 2016 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir has drawn accolades from many. One is the grower of the award winning wine. Arturo Ibleto is known in Sonoma County as “Pasta King.” He’s partial, but he thinks the Best of the Best rose goes best with pasta. Here’s one of our favorites

INGREDIENTS:

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and stir in pasta, cooking until al dente (7 – 9 minutes). Drain into a colander, setting aside one cup of cooking liquid.
  2. While pasta is cooking heat oil in a skillet and add shallots, garlic, and salt. Cook 3 – 5 minutes and add wine and tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cream. If the mixture is too dry add cooking liquid as needed.
  3. Divide pasta on plates, pouring shrimp sauce on top. Add basil leaves as garnish. Serve with the rest of the Taft Street Rose. You may need another bottle!

Serves 4

A Little Street Music 2017

A Little Street Music 2017

A Little Street Music is back for another summer season with an incredible West Sonoma County summer line-up. Join us the second and fourth Sundays of the month. The events are free, the tasting room opens at 11 a.m. with music from 2-5 p.m. Bring your favorite lawn chair and be sure to pack a picnic. We’ll have bottles and wines available by the glass; please no outside alcoholic beverages.

Join us for any or all of this season’s incredible line-up:

Enjoy the summer, Taft Street style.

Spring is Right Around…

We thought we are done with the rainiest winter in ages, but the precipitation has not left us alone. Cloudy skies with intermittent rain are forecast for the next few days. I took a few days off and lounged around Palm Springs, where the 85 degree days and shirtsleeve evenings were a welcome change. It appears we are going to wait a bit before we see those conditions in wine country.

Spring is Right Around the Corner.

Spring is Right Around the Corner.

Back in the winery, we are busy firming up contracts and commitments for this year’s harvest. We have our usual sources of fruit from the Russian River Valley, and we foresee an increase in production to meet market demands. The custom crush side of the business will see healthy growth as well; it appears 2017 will be a busy one for Taft Street.

Our 2016 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc is now being sold in all our markets, and the 2016 Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir is available in the Tasting Room and online. The next wine to be released will be the 2015 Russian River Chardonnay, sometime in May.

In April we will host visiting distributor representatives, celebrate our 35th Anniversary(!!!), and participate in a Taste 116 wine club event. We will also spend time sprucing up the picnic and concert grounds in preparation for another busy summer. Next month starts the music and outdoor fun in the sun. Join us.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

asparagus risotto

Asparagus Risotto

Don’t believe the fake news that asparagus does not go well with wine. Everything (almost) goes well with wine; you just have to get the right combination. Here is a way to enjoy the springtime freshness of both asparagus and our new 2016 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat stock in pot, keep hot.
  2. Heat oil in skillet and cook onion until tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice and garlic and stir until rice turns opaque. Add wine. Add stock in ½ cup portions, stirring until absorbed. Continue adding stock for 10-12 minutes; then add asparagus and stir and add stock until less than a cup remains (25 minutes total).
  3. Stir in last of the stock with cheese. Taste and season as needed. Risotto should be creamy. Serve at once in shallow soup bowls.

Enjoy!

Spring is Here…Almost

We are currently enjoying a respite from one of the wettest winters in memory. More than 50 inches of rain have fallen in most parts of the county, and those places were not even the wettest. However, the vines are in winter dormancy and little damage has been reported. In fact, right now the cherry and plum trees are in blossom, and with the green hills as a backdrop, Sonoma County does not look much better.

The big event in March is the Wine Road’s annual Barrel Tasting, this year on March 3 – 5 and March 10 – 12.  Evelyn has come up with a pair of Pinot Noir samples that will show how vineyard and clone selection are integral parts of creating world-class Pinot Noir. One sample will come from the Skikos Vineyard, clone #667; the other from the Winkler Vineyard, clone #23. Both are being aged in new Damy French oak barrels.

Our summer concert series – A Little Street Music 2017 – is shaping up to be a memorable one. Old friends and local favorites Steve Pile, Tom Rigney, Daniel Castro and The Pulsators will be joined by some new faces. We always look forward to these mellow Sunday afternoons, where good wine, good music and good times meet at the picnic area of the Taft Street Winery.

You don’t have to wait until summer to have a good time. Bring some friends and a bite and we’ll supply the wine and bocci court. Hope to see you soon.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery