Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

I am currently emptying my freezer as I prepare for my annual fishing trip to Alaska. I am stuck with the enviable predicament of having too much salmon. Here is an easy and delicious way to solve that problem.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon pepper, roughly cracked
  • 1 cup dill, chopped
  • 3 ounces coarse sea salt
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • 1 pound salmon filet, skin on and pin bones removed
  • 1 cup yoghurt/sour cream mix
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Lemon wedges

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a bowl mix pepper, dill salt and sugar.
  2. Place a large sheet of cling wrap on counter and pour half the mixture in the center in shape of the salmon filet.
  3. Place salmon skin side down on top of the mixture and top the salmon with the remaining mix. Wrap the salmon securely and place on dish.
  4. Top salmon with another plate and place weights on plate (eg 2 x 14 oz tins).
  5. Refrigerate 12 hours, flip salmon and refrigerate 12 more hours. Rinse, pat dry and refrigerate 3 – 4 hours.
  6. Serve on toasts with mustard sauce and lemon wedges.

This will serve 8 – 10 as an appetizer and goes especially well with Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate 92+ Points

Robert Parker Wine Advocate – April 2019

We’re thrilled to announce our 2017 Russian River Valley Skikos Vineyard Pinot Noir was awarded 92+ points from Robert Parker Wine Advocate

From Issue No. 242: The 2017 Pinot Noir Skikos Vineyard is pale to medium ruby with a nose of citrus peel, dried flowers, saline and dusty earth with a blueberries, black berries and black cherry core. It’s light to medium-bodied and perfumed in the mouth, with grainy structuring tannins and a floral-tinged finish. 176 cases produced.

Three other wines were also reviewed and awarded 90+ points:

  • 91 Points: 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • 90 Points: 2016 Russian River Valley Garagistes Pinot Noir
  • 90 Points: 2016 Russian River Valley Garagistes Chardonnay

Spring is in full bloom here in Sonoma County, and with warmer weather, we encourage alfresco drinking and dining. Pack a picnic and swing by the Tasting Room to sip this award winner and all our other favorites. 

A Little Street Music 2019

A Little Street Music 2019

A Little Street Music continues with our eighth season at Taft Street Winery. Join us Sunday’s starting in May for great local music and wonderful wines.

The tasting room is open at 11AM, with live music 2-5PM. Bring your favorite lawn chair and be sure to pack a picnic. Enjoy wines by the Glass or bottle and please no outside alcoholic beverages.

Happy 37th To Us!

As is the case every April Fools’ Day, we celebrate our existence in this strange and wonderful business. Making quality wine for our family and friends has always been a pleasure, and we don’t plan any changes. Even if winter continues way longer than it should around here. March was wet and April promises a soggy entrance. Drought will not be a factor in the 2019 vintage. Bottling (and kegging) are in full swing, as the early whites from 2018 are packaged for the marketplace. Our custom work is an ever growing part of our business as our reputation for artisan work continues to grow.

The latest issue of PinotFile, a newsletter devoted to fine Pinot Noirs, reviewed our 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, noting:

Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Enticing notes of Bing cherry, dark raspberry, baking spice, cola and graham. A quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ….. nicely composed and welcoming, with some finishing generosity. A fantastic value. Tasted twice with the same results. Score: 92

Prince of Pinot, March 22, 2019

Remember the above when choosing your Easter wines (and maybe some other Taft Street selections as well). The good weather is just around the corner. It’s time to get the lawn chairs ready for picnics at the winery, and A Little Street Music will soon follow. We’re ready.

Cheers!
Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

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.