Summer on the Patio at Taft Street

Springtime in Sonoma

The soggiest winter in years has left the green hills awash in wildflowers – truly breathtaking!  As the weather warms and the vines start their annual cycle we find hope in the start of yet another vintage.

The pace has definitely picked up in the cellar, as some wines are being prepared for bottling, while others are put into barrel. Custom bottling is also in full swing.

We recently received good news from the highly regarded (and much feared) Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. In April two of our Pinot Noirs were rated in the elite 90+ category. The 2017 Taft Street Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, rated 91 points, was described as “… medium bodied with a lively core of earthy fruit, it has firm, grainy tannins and juicy freshness, finishing long and perfumed.” The 2017 Taft Street Winery Pinot Noir Skikos Vineyard, rated 92+ points, was hailed as “… medium ruby with a nose of citrus peel, dried flowers, saline and dusty earth with a blueberries, black berries and black cherry core.” In winespeak this is all high praise!

Robert Parker Wine Advocate 92+ Points
Robert Parker Wine Advocate 92+ Points

The spring 2019 President’s Club packs were shipped, and club members  joined us on the patio on Saturday, May 11th , had a bite from Fork Catering, and enjoyed the music of the Ricky Ray Band.

Winemaker Melissa Kuhn and Tasting Room Manager Kaitlyn Callagy

Later in the month we began our annual summer concert series A LITTLE STREET MUSIC with local favorites Bottle Shock. This weekend the very popular Volker Strifler Band will perform. A total of eight free concerts will be presented between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so plan accordingly.

However, you don’t need a special invitation to enjoy Taft Street and our wine. Come on over any day between 11:00 and 4:00 (4:30 on weekends). We’ll have an appropriate glass of wine awaiting you.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

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.

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

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

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

Good Ole Summertime

Summer is officially in high gear, and indications thus far show a larger that average harvest. When growers describe things as “not too bad,” they usually are just the opposite. The tragic (and all too common) fires in Mendocino and Lake Counties will undoubtedly affect North Coast grapes this year, but fortunately for us the wind direction has kept much of the smoke and ash away from Sonoma County. A month to go… and counting.

All of Taft Street’s wines have been bottled as scheduled, and the cellar crew is busy bottling for custom crush clients and preparing equipment for harvest.

The Tasting Room is busy entertaining summertime visitors. Last week we had our biggest concert ever with good friend Danny Sorentino playing before a packed crowd. This month we have the popular group Gator Nation (August 12) and our own Greg Abel (August 26).

Future events include the Taste of Sonoma at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University on September 1; and the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in September and October.

We will be making wine from about Labor Day into October. Stop by, have a glass of wine, and enjoy the action.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery