Fish Cakes Taft Street Style

I’m a sucker for fresh fish, and everything is better with bacon. This recipe combines the two, and when washed down with a class of Taft Street Russian River Sauvignon Blanc satisfaction is achieved.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound fresh fish (I like rock cod)
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • A handful of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices thick bacon
  • Olive oil

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place fish, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, cilantro and salt and pepper in food processor and pulse until well combined.
  2. Form into four patties each about an inch thick.
  3. Partially cook bacon, and wrap each patty with a bacon strip, using a toothpick to fasten.
  4. Heat olive oil in skillet and cook patties until browned, 6 or 7 minutes. Flip and brown other sides (the bacon will be fully cooked now).

Serve with a seasonal salad and enjoy with a glass of Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc.

Into Action

Northern California is something special in the spring. I just return from a quick trip to Boston, where I was met with windy snow and temperatures in the low 20’s. Getting off the plane at SFO it was 88. Now there is some rain in the forecast, with dry and warmer weather due next week. Everything is in bloom – great picturesque landscapes at the cost of allergic reactions to the pollen-filled air. The vineyards look healthy after a real winter, and hopes are high for a quality vintage.

Our early wines – 2015 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir and 2015 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc – are in the bottle, with the Rose of Pinot Noir available at the Tasting Room as of this weekend. Another debut this weekend will be made by our 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir “Garagistes”, a wine with a following that assures a quick sell out. The Rose  and “Garagistes” will be available at our 32nd Birthday Party this Sunday, April 10th. It was April Fools’ Day 1982 when we opened our doors up the road in Forestville; the start of a long, strange, wonderful trip.

Our staff has been busy. Winemaker Evelyn White poured Taft Street at Vin Diego, a huge consumer event in San Diego. I returned from a quick trip to Boston for a trade tasting (and got caught in their latest snow storm). Jake worked the Bay Area market with Henry Wine Group reps. Kaitlyn is home taking care of Baby Clara.

Next month we take it up a notch. Our Club Party, California trade tastings, the start of our annual concert series, plus the usual chaos all suggest the season is soon upon us.

Come share the fun!

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Grilled Octopus with Ancho Sauce

Just returned from a quick visit to Mexico, and couldn’t get enough of the grilled fresh seafood. Here was one of my favorites, which will be enhanced by a glass of Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc as well as a cervesa or margarita.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • One cleaned octopus, head and tentacles separated
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups sherry
  • Oil/salt
  • SAUCE (Refer to Mike’s Kitchen, March 2016.)

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 300. In a large casserole heat oil. Add half the octopus and cook until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining octopus.
  2. Add shallots and garlic to casserole cook until lightly browned. Add paprika and stir. Add sherry and bring to boil. Return octopus to casserole, cover and cook in oven until tender, perhaps an hour and a half. Let octopus cool in the liquid.
  3. Make sauce, as per Mike’s Kitchen, March 2016. Briefly heat peppers on a hot skillet – 10 seconds per side. Place them in a pot with stock, bring to boil, then set aside to cool (30 minutes). Mix together garlic and spices, add to pepper stock, and put in blender until smooth.
  4. Remove octopus from liquid and wipe off skin with a paper towel. Cut head in half.
  5. Light grill and brush with oil. Grill octopus until charred, about 5 minutes. Brush with chile sauce and serve.

A Little Street Music 2016

A Little Street Music is back for a fifth season with another incredible West Sonoma County summer line-up.

Join us the second and last Sundays of the month, starting in May. The events are free, the tasting room opens at 11am with music from 3-6 PM.

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.

Enjoy the summer, Taft Street style.

A New Season Breaks Out

We have been enjoying (with trepidation) fine spring weather for the past several weeks. Warm sunny days have let the vines swell and bud break has spread throughout the county. El Nino is still on everyone’s mind, however, and most of us look forward to a wet month or so ahead.  Another season has begun.

March promises to be an active month. I take off for Atlanta and work the first three days in the month there. Next weekend (March 4 – 6) hails the beginning of the Wine Road’s annual Barrel Tasting. This very popular event goes through the following weekend (March 11 -13), with thousands of wine lovers attending for near and far.

The Barrel Tasting and other Tasting Room events will be without our Tasting Room manager for the next couple of months, as Kaitlyn Callagy began maternity leave this week! Baby Callagy is due mid-March, and we all wait excitedly for Kaitlyn and Patrick’s firstborn.

Our 2016 summer music series – A Little Street Music – has been finalized, and a schedule will be out shortly. We’ve brought back some old friends and have added a few new groups to the program. The talent we will showcase this summer is amazing! Can’t wait.

March and April are particularly good times to visit the Tasting Room. Enjoy the serenity of west county before the summer rush begins, which is earlier and earlier each year. Enjoy our wine, play bocce, bring a picnic – live the good life.

Cheers!

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Taft Street Enchiladas

Last week at a Board of Directors’ meeting, I took some time to make authentic enchiladas – no canned food included! The dish was well received and will no doubt be served again and again. Our 2013 Alexander Merlot goes especially well with this spicy fare.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 guajillo peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded pork
  • 10 ounces fresh cheese – Oaxaca
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • Cilantro

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Sauce: Briefly heat peppers on a hot skillet – 10 seconds per side. Place them in a pot with stock, bring to boil, then set aside to cool (30 minutes). Mix together garlic and spices, add to pepper stock, and put in blender until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in fry pan and cook tortillas 10 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels. Coat each side of tortillas with pepper sauce, place ½ cup of shredded pork in center, and roll into a tube.
  4. In a 9X13 glass or ceramic dish spread ½ cup of pepper mixture. Place all tortilla tubes, seam to the bottom, and top with remaining sauce. Crumbled cheese and onion go on top.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until the cheese has a nice brown edge to it. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

Serves 6

Life is Good

February has started off clear and cold, a brief respite from the wettest January in five years. Rainfall for the season now matches seasonal averages for Northern California, with reservoirs near capacity and more rain the long term forecasts. Add to that the fact that San Francisco is hosting this year’s Super Bowl, the Warriors are on a tear, and Taft Street wine continues to shine…life is good.

February should be a busy month. We kick off our work with program with the Henry Wine Group, when we work with individual sales reps introducing our wine to retailers and restauranteurs. On Saturday, February 13, we have our annual Sweet 116 party, when local wineries promote the area and have special offerings for wine club members. We also introduce our latest Rose of Pinot Noir; this year it’s a 2015 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir.

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition results have been published. Our 2013 Russian River Valley Syrah won a GOLD MEDAL and our 2013 Alexander Valley Merlot also won a GOLD MEDAL. The rest of our wines all won SILVER MEDALS. We will pour the GOLD MEDAL wines on Saturday, February 13 at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

On the horizon is next month’s Wine Road Barrel Tasting, taking place March 4-6 and March 11-13. From that March madness, the season starts picking up and off we go again.

Stop by now between storms and relax in the calm surroundings of Sonoma’s West County. It’s good for the soul.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Poke – Taft Street Style

Serve this at your Super Bowl party on wonton chips with plenty of icy Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc. Later this month you’ll be able to pair Taft Street Poke with Taft Street 2015 North Coast Rose!

Serves 6 – 8 as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds fresh ahi/yellowfin tuna, sliced thin
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup green onion, diced (some extra for garnish)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, diced

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice tuna and place in bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients in separate bowl and mix. Add mixture to the tuna and gently mix. Let stand or refrigerate 15 minutes.
  3. Place on platter and garnish with additional diced green onions.

Enjoy!

 

 

Taft Street Potted Cheese

Here is a creative and tasty way to use up the ends of your Holiday cheeses. Basically, we mix cheese, Taft Street wine, butter, mustard, pepper and green onions. The cheeses and herbs can vary; and although we highly espouse Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc in this dish, we have been known to use sherry, port, or even distilled beverages.

Enjoy! Serve with crackers and/or apple slices.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces assorted cheeses
  • 1/3 cup Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced thin

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine cheeses, Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc, butter, mustard and pepper in food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl and mix in green onions. Refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Another New Year

Winter has arrived in California. Intermittent rain and snow have been the rule for the past several weeks, and there are few signs that the situation will soon change. The wet weather has been COLD. Pipes at the winery have burst, and our GM Mike Martini has added welding to his skill set. I spent a few days with my family in the Sierra’s, where the thermometer read 5 degrees on New Year’s Eve. The vineyards are in good shape, however, and pruning is well underway. With all the moisture the hills have turned a brilliant emerald green – quite a welcome sight.

It is back to work in the cellar this week. Our 2015 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir Rose, Pinot Gris and North Coast Rose are all scheduled for bottling this month. New Assistant Winemaker Erin O’Brien will have her hands full from Day 1.

This week Jake Martini and I will meet with the Northern California sales team of The Henry Wine Group to formally kick off the Taft Street Brand. Next month we will host a lunch/meeting with several Bay Area units to underscore the importance we place on the vital California marketplace.

Coming up next week is the 24th annual Winter WINEland. On January 16th and 17th participants will have a chance to meet winemakers, taste limited releases and library wines, and enjoy the unhurried pace of winter in wine country. Taft Street will offer special discount pricing to participants, as well as showcasing our Tasting Room exclusive 2013 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon.

Come join us next weekend, or anytime during the “off season;” when the crowds are gone, the hills are green, and the wine is tasty.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery