Cold Asian Noodle Salad with Russian River Sauvignon Blanc

Cold Asian Noodle Salad

With the hot days of harvest upon us, it’s time to plan a few meals that provide ease, can be (partially) made ahead, and are literally cool. Here’s an old standby.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 pound fresh egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • pepper
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta to al dente in a big pot of salted water (be careful not to overcook). Drain and rinse with cold water. Chill.
  2. Peel cucumber, slice lengthwise, and deseed with a spoon. Thinly slice.
  3. Whisk together sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar and pepper in a bowl. Stir in cucumber.
  4. When ready to serve, add chicken and sauce to noodles and mix thoroughly. Garnish with scallions and serve.

Serves 4 with a bottle of Taft Street Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

The 2017 Crush is On!

It’s hot today (109° in Healdsburg), and it will be hotter tomorrow (111°). Not exactly a picture-perfect start for Harvest 2017, but things should cool down a bit by Labor Day. This heat wave on top of a long, warm summer should mean an early and big crop. We brought in some Pinot Noir for rosé a few days ago, and our first big loads of Chardonnay start arriving tomorrow. The roads of Sonoma County now have more trucks laden with grapes than rental cars full of tourists –such is September.

Winemaker Melissa Kuhn has been visiting vineyards in recent weeks, checking sugar and acid levels and organizing logistical plans for grape deliveries. Coordination is especially crucial in seasons such as this one, when it appears many of the vineyards will ripen at the same time. Speaking of deliveries, Taft Street welcomes Graham Steven Callagy into the world. Kaitlyn gave birth to this 7 pound, 9-ounce charmer on August 30 – her 5th day of maternity leave. Mother and child are home and doing great.

This weekend marks the conclusion of another concert season at Taft Street. A Little Street Music 2017 finishes up with local band Soul Fuse on Sunday, September 3 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. We are thrilled to be able to gather together top local musicians, our own winery fans and the general public – it’s something in which we take great pride. We are already discussing the lineup for 2018.

September starts the high season in wine country. Grab a hat, bring a picnic, sit it our shaded patio area, play bocce ball, listen to live music (September 3), and chill. We look forward to seeing you!

Cheers,

Mike Tierney

President, Taft Street Winery

Taft Street Tasting Room

Time to Get Ready

With temperatures about to climb to the 100 degrees mark for the umpteenth time this summer, folks in the winery are starting to get nervous. This feeling deepened when we learned a neighbor is planning to pick for rose next week. With a full schedule of bottling lined up for August, things may get hectic sooner than we hoped.

In the Tasting Room, Kaitlyn and staff are welcoming the summer crowds. August will be a big month for Kaitlyn, as we have three concerts, a Taste Route #116 Wine Club Appreciation event, and the start of her maternity leave!

Speaking of concerts, we are bracing for a huge crowd for the August 13th appearance of local favorites The Pulsators. Later in the month, on August 27th the Michael Capella Band will be seen at Taft Street for the first time. We have the pleasure to present Texan singer/songwriter Jamie Lin Wilson for a special show on Sunday, August 20th. With all these events we just hope the grapes will slow down a bit in their ripening!

So there you have it – a typical crazy summer. The skies remain blue, the picnic area is ready, and the wine is cool. We just need you to complete the picture.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon, Feta, And Mint Salad

In the last few years, this simple salad has become a summertime staple. Just remember; the better the ingredients, the better the results.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus zest from ½ the lemon
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzle
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put watermelon in large bowl. Add lemon juie, zest, oil and mint. Toss until evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer salad to a serving dish and top with feta. Sprinkle remaining zest, olive oil and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Serves 4 – 6.

If you are lucky enough to possess some Taft Street 2016 Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir, you have yourself a feast. However, the Taft Street Chardonnay or Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc will not disappoint.

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