Hearty Frittata

As we inch our way towards warmer weather our attention turns to casual dining. Here is a dish that can be served anytime/anyplace; equally appropriate from morning til evening.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked greens (spinach, kale….), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt
  • 12 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ½ cup goat cheese, rumbled
  • ½ cup chives, chopped

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 400. Heat 2 tablespoons  oil in large saucepan, adding garlic, shallot and pepper to taste. Add greens and salt to taste. After 2 minutes transfer to paper towels.
  2. Combine eggs, chicken, cream, salt, pepper and greens mixture. Heat remaining oil in cast iron or nonstick pan and pour in egg mixture. Cook until edges set.
  3. Mix cheese with chives and lemon juice and scatter atop eggs. Transfer pan to oven and cook 10 – 12 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through.
  4. Cut into wedges. Served 4 – 6.

This goes especially well with our 2018 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir. Like the frittata, good from morning til night!

Pasta Alla Amatriciana

Pasta Alla Amatriciana

During the rainy season (and it has been rainy!) comfort food is required. A simple pasta with baguette and Taft Street wine is all that’s needed on a blustery winter’s evening.

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • ½ pound quality bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound pasta (bucatini or fettucine work well)
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put large pot of water on to boil. Saute bacon in olive oil until crisp. Drain and set aside. Cook onion in remaining oil/fat until soft. Add pepper flakes to taste
  2. Cook pasta to al dente (time will vary).
  3. In a large bowl combine bacon, onion, tomatoes and pasta. Heat and serve, topping with grated cheese.
    Serves 4 – 6 and goes particularly well with Taft Street Alexander Valley Merlot.
Yes, it has been a wet year in wine country. The Russian River flooded twice during the month on February, with last week’s storm causing serious damage to communities along its banks. As I write this (March 2nd) roads are still closed, electricity is spotty, and the mop up has just begun. Not a pretty sight. On a personal note, the Tierney family home sits on the banks of the Russian River in Guerneville – the center of the flood zone. Fortunately, water was contained to our basement area. A work crew is cleaning up and we should be back to normal in a couple of days There has been some damage to vineyards along the Russian River and nearby tributaries, but the vines are dormant this time of year, so catastrophic damage was avoided. The winery was out of harm’s way, though nearby roads were closed. Work continues at the winery. Our 2018 Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir has been universally well received, and the 2018 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache Blanc will soon follow. Meanwhile, client bottling remains a constant, and finishing the wines in tank and barrel is an ongoing concern. Last week we entertained winter crowds at the annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. We are preparing the Tasting Room grounds for the picnic season, and have made most of our decisions regarding this summer’s Street Music concert program. In the meantime we are waiting for the sun to return. Come join us as we wait – we’ll share a glass of wine. Cheers, Mike Tierney President, Taft Street Winery

Enough Rain Already!

Yes, it has been a wet year in wine country. The Russian River flooded twice during the month on February, with last week’s storm causing serious damage to communities along its banks. As I write this (March 2nd) roads are still closed, electricity is spotty, and the mop up has just begun. Not a pretty sight. On a personal note, the Tierney family home sits on the banks of the Russian River in Guerneville – the center of the flood zone. Fortunately, water was contained to our basement area. A work crew is cleaning up and we should be back to normal in a couple of days.

There has
been some damage to vineyards along the Russian River and nearby tributaries,
but the vines are dormant this time of year, so catastrophic damage was
avoided. The winery was out of harm’s way, though nearby roads were closed.

Work continues at the winery. Our 2018 Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir has been universally well received, and the 2018 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache Blanc will soon follow. Meanwhile, client bottling remains a constant, and finishing the wines in tank and barrel is an ongoing concern.

We are preparing the Tasting Room grounds for the picnic season, and have made most of our decisions regarding this summer’s Street Music concert program.

In the
meantime we are waiting for the sun to return. Come join us as we wait – we’ll
share a glass of wine.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Quiet Time in Wine Country

After a tumultuous year which included wildfires, a long and bountiful harvest, and general economic craziness, peace and quiet reign supreme at the moment. After a busy flurry of bottling between harvest and Christmas, our production crew is taking a much needed and well deserved rest before the fun begins again after the first of the year. Mike and Jake are finishing up the year’s books, and indications point to 2018 being a solid year.

In January we bottle three Russian River Valley wines from the 2018 Vintage: Sauvignon Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir, and (for the first time) Grenache Blanc. We traditionally release the rose on Valentine’s weekend and hope to follow that tradition this year. The other wines will be released in early spring.

The big wine event this month in our neck of the woods is the 27th annual Winter Wineland Weekend, taking place this year January 19 – 20. This is a great opportunity to taste current vintages, try the wide range of varietals grown in the Russian River Valley and neighboring appellations – the perfect winter escape.

This is an especially good time of year to visit wine country. The crowds have shrunk; traffic and parking are manageable, and reservations are usually not required. The wines and staff remain as good as ever.

See you soon.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Harvest Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes

The Holidays Season is all about food (and family), and one dish that always adds a festive touch is twice baked potatoes. An added advantage is that the dish is easy to prepare.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • Olive oil, salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Optional garnish: crumbled bacon/chopped chives

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Brush potatoes with olive oil and salt, place on rimmed cookie sheet, and bake until soft (about one hour).
  2. Cool slightly and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop inside of potato, leaving ¼ inch edge to maintain shape.
  3. In bowl add butter, sour cream and scooped out potato. Mash until creamy, and add ½ cheese. Top with remaining cheese and optional garnishes.
  4. Cook in 350 oven until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

We served this on Christmas with a prime rib and Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Local Figs

Fig Bostock

The last figs are still on the tree. They won’t be for long. One way to enjoy this wonderful fruit is in a glorified French toast originating in Normandy (Brioche aux amandes).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  •  1 egg
  •  ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium loaf brioche
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 8 fresh figs, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Using an electric mixer or food processor combine almonds, honey, egg, flour and salt until smooth. Chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Slice brioche into 8 thick slices. Whisk eggs and 1 teaspoon water in small bowl and brush one side of brioche slices with egg wash. Place on rimmed baking sheet and spread each slice with 2 tablespoons almond crème, Top with figs, cut side up. Brush with butter.
  3. Bake until golden (18-20 minutes). Dust with sugar and serve.

This would make a wonderful brunch, with perhaps a Taft Street Pinot Noir to take it up another notch.

A Late Grate Harvest

The sun is still shining brightly and the temperature is hovering in the mid 80’s. It must be November in wine country. The harvest is over – for us, and only because we ran our room to hold any more grapes. A bumper crop of high quality fruit has made vintners happy across the state, and many of growers who are able to find a home for their grapes are still picking. (HOLD THE PRESS! I just got word we are taking in 45 tons of Russian River Valley Chardonnay for neighbor John Balletto next Monday.) We start bottling clients’ wines the week after next and will go full speed ahead until Christmas. We are already excited out our 2018 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and our 2018 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir, which will be bottled the first of the year.

We were pleased to see the Taft Street 2017 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc win the BEST SAIVIGNON BLANC FOR THANKSGIVING by the @getharvestcard’s panel of local culinary stars. We are also looking forward to Route 116 Wine Club Appreciation weekend, November 17 – 18; when members of neighboring wine clubs can take advantage of wine club pricing at all participating wineries. This is a great way to stock up for the Holidays.

I enjoyed a visit to the New York market last month, where we met old friends and established a number of new accounts. Mike Martini will stop in Louisiana this month to plan for our future in that area.

We are currently putting together our 2019 budget, which will include upgrades in the Tasting Room and patio areas. This will result will only add to the Taft Street experience – already exceedingly pleasant!

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

Sea Bass Stew

Sea Bass Stew

As we get into fall we need heartier dishes – and red wine. Here’s the dish – and the wine to go with it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, hopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped herbs (thyme, parsley, basil)
  • ¾ cup white wine (Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 quart crushed tomatoe
  • 3 cups broth
  • 2 pounds sea bass fillets, cubed

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, celery, salt and pepper and cook until soft (4-5 minutes). Add herbs and garlic and cook briefly (1 minute).
  2. Stir in white wine and crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Add broth and cook 20 minutes.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper and add to pot, stirring gently to distribute fish evenly. Cook 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Ladle into serving bowls and serve with favorite crusty bread.

A 2017 Alexander Valley Merlot would accompany this nicely. Serves 4-6

Melissa with grapes!

Rush to the Finish

With rain forecast for the next several days growers are stepping up the pace on picking. Tomorrow we will bring in Pinot Noir for rose and a good portion of chardonnay. The storm is not expected to be a major threat to the vintage, but betting on the weather is never a sure thing.

There are still a number of long days ahead but the harvest has by and large gone smoothly. Everyone is excited about the quality of fruit; very little mildew and healthy yields.

The crush pad is not the only busy spot in the winery. Kaitlyn and company begin distributing wine club fall six packs on October 1st.

The next weekend, October 5 – 7, we pour at the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair, where our 2017 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc won a GOLD MEDAL. Then on October 14th we have our fall Wine Club Party, with live music, terrific good, and of course lots of good cheer.

On the sales side, we have picked up a distributor in Oregon, a market we have not been in for 15 years. I am on my way back to New York this weekend to work with our friends at Vision Brands.

After a couple of days of showers the skies should clear and the temperatures should return to the mid-80’s. Perfect time to go wine tasting, play bocce, and have a picnic. We know just the place!

Cheers,

Mike Tierney

President, Taft Street

Harvest No. 37. Here we come.

After a very warm June and early July the weather turned decidedly cooler, with daytime temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s instead of the more usual mid 90’s. This has delayed harvest anywhere from 1 -2 weeks. This is the first Labor Day in five years we have not harvested our own grapes. We have used the extra time wisely, however, and have made it through last minute bottling, machinery and barrel cleaning. Our first grapes are not scheduled for 10 days, unless…

Overall it appears the harvest will be larger than last year’s, and the grape quality seems very good, especially since the grapes are experiencing more time on the vine.

The Tasting Room staff is taking a breather after completing Season #7 of A Little Street Music. We enjoyed the largest crowd of the season yesterday with the Vokler Strifler Band. Our Autumn Flame Maple trees were in full color and the temperature in the high 70’s; a memorable day to end the concert season.

This week we will take some current releases over to the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, where they will be judged against the best wines of Sonoma County. Winners will be announced later this month in time for the actual fair itself, which occurs on the first weekend of October. We’ll keep you posted.

As summer season ends, harvest begins. Our best weather is approaching, wine is being made, life is good. Come join us.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery