taft street winery

Mike Martini of Taft Street Winery

mike martini taft streetMike Martini, winemaker at Taft Street Winery, joins Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country. His last time on the show was last year around this time, on this episode of August 24, 2022.

Taft Street is open Friday through Sunday 11:00 am to 4:30 pm. They are a relatively small operation so they made a decision not to run a big room, but guests are welcome and encouraged to bring a picnic and beverages and they are very dog-friendly.

Taft Street Winery also has bocce courts. Steve Jaxon remembers playing bocce with his family at his uncle’s house in the summer. The winery holds a bocce tournament with the Sonoma County Alliances Education Committee, to raise money to buy books for the schools.

The beauty of bocce as a game is it is something you can compete with and you never have to put down your wine glass. – Mike Martini.

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Dan Berger tells how Mike has started making a Beaujolais style wine in Sonoma County, with Pinot Noir grapes, instead of Gamay grapes. They make their Beaujolais the same way as in France. That means closing up the whole clusters before pressing, with carbon dioxide to keep any oxygen out, so it’s anaerobic. This starts a fermentation inside the berries, before the juice is pressed. It makes a very fruit-forward wine that is ready to drink early.

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Georges Duboeuf and Beaujolais

Mike tells how the French wine merchant Georges Duboeuf (1933-2020) figured out ways to make Beaujolais Nouveau into a special event in France, by holding it until the release date and making its arrival in Paris on the third Thursday of November into a dramatic and newsworthy event. The release of Beaujolais Nouveau is still a big deal in France every November.

When Mike’s son took over the company three vintages ago, they decided to start making Beaujolais from Pinot Noir. They only make 56 cases, using the same Pinot Noir grapes as they use for the Rosé, because it has lower sugar and higher acidity. His goal is to sell it all by New Year’s Day. The grapes are coming into the winery on Monday. They will be making both the Rosé and the Beaujolais again this year.

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