lummi island wine tasting sept 24 ’20

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Now What?

Here we are at the last weekend in September. Somewhat to our surprise we have had no takers for our Saturday afternoon wine tastings on the two Saturdays since Drydock started, nor are any scheduled for this weekend.   The few that happened were fun and emotionally nourishing for us and (we hope) the participants, so definitely worth doing! We thank those of you who participated…you really boosted our mood!

At this point we have no plan for October. We will be exploring options for bringing Friday bread pickup back to the wine shop and limited openings Saturdays for shopping and sales. Ideas welcome; what would work for you?

Social Distancing Guidelines:
1. Everyone must wear a mask when they are not seated;
2. Groups sharing a table must be a “pod” that regularly share space together, or otherwise take responsibility for managing social distance within their group; and
3. Everyone agrees not to arrive before their appointment begins and to leave before it ends.

To make a reservation, call number next to our logo (above, right).

 

Wine of the Week: Toso Reserve Malbec

Pascual Toso is named for its founder, who emigrated from Italy to Argentina in 1880 (OMD, that’s 140 years ago!), settling in Mendoza. With a family history in winemaking he became intrigued by the exceptional quality of the vineyards in the region, and opened his first winery in San Jose in 1890. In subsequent years he (among others!) discovered the exceptional terroir of the area around Maipu (not to be confused with Chile’s Maipu Valley) , bought land and developed vineyards. Today Toso is owned by the J Llorente corporation.

To our palates, this malbec is a particular favorite. Toso also makes a basic malbec which, while quite serviceable, is far outclassed by the reserve bottling. Bottom line: this wine has an appealing balance and richness that places it a rung or two above your average Mendoza malbec. (Just sayin’!)

 

Toso Reserve Malbec ’17      Argentina       $21
Elegant and balanced with food concentration and ripeness; focused, clean notes of blackberry, plum, and ripe,
dark cherries; a plush, elegant mouthfeel, easy tannins, and lingering notes of leather and Spring soil.

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Hubris and Karma

A few weeks ago we posted this about Julius Caesar: “As he crossed the Rubicon from Gaul back into Roman lands in 49 BC in defiance of orders not to return to Rome, Julius Caesar is reputed to have said, “Alea iacta est!”— The die is cast! That action began a five-year war that would transform the 700 year-old Roman Republic into the Roman Empire, creating karmic currents that still drive human history.” By implication, all acts of Hubris unleash currents of hatred, vengeance, determination, and retaliation that fuel endless cycles of suffering.

This week our Nation has been grieving the passing last Friday of beloved and iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bator Ginsberg. Within an hour of her passing, Darth McConnell, the world’s most Highly Developed Hypocrite, announced gleefully that he would move immediately to install her successor, a complete reversal of the stance he took in early 2016 on Obama’s nomination. You all know the story.

Last weekend I found myself in an emotional funk, tired, achey, and depressed, with a feeling behind my eyes as if a giant lake of tears was building that might burst forth like Glacial Lake Missoula. Mindful examination brought the realization that the passing of Justice Ginsberg, met immediately with a ready-to-go Republican script to fill her seat in time for the October Court session, was demanding inner resources that were already deeply compromised by:

At some level right now we are all holding back tears. That’s how we cope, and it takes a lot of effort. The Last Thing we need right now is a bitter power struggle over the Supreme Court, but it appears we will have to endure it so Darth gets his winning Justice on the bench and they can once and for all blast the Affordable Care Act to Kingdom Come, stop wasting money on  the sick and the elderly, and get back to the business of making the rich even richer. And, Darth seems to think, usher in the Corporate Feudal  State he has always dreamed about.

But Karma is likely not that simple. Once you light a fire, the flames, the heat, and the pain all take their own paths. Just as Caesar’s Rubicon led to his Ides of March in the Senate five years later, Darth’s obsession to load the Court is very likely to bite him back in its own perfect way.

Let’s all do our best to stay safe, stay tuned, and take good care of each other.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting sept 19 ’20

click on photos for larger images

Saturday Outdoor Wine Tastings By Appointment!

While Covid constrains and good weather continues, we are offering limited Saturday afternoon outdoor wine tastings by appointment for two parties of up to five people each. To minimize overlap between groups we are scheduling the first group for 2:30 and the second at 4:00. Tasting fee is $5 each for a flight of four wines. Social distancing rules will be observed, and hand sanitizer will be provided. See guidelines below.

NOTES:
1.Call early, as the two slots sometimes fill early in the week;
2. Due to the outdoor venue, reservations are weather-dependent. (We are exploring ways to extend our season a bit, we’ll see how that goes…)

Social Distancing Guidelines:
1. Everyone must wear a mask when they are not seated;
2. Groups sharing a table must be a “pod” that regularly share space together, or otherwise take responsibility for managing social distance within their group; and
3. Everyone agrees not to arrive before their appointment begins and to leave before it ends.

To make a reservation, call number next to our logo (above, right).

 

Wine of the Week: Marietta Old Vine Red  

This wine is billed as a sort of a “field blend,” but not exactly. A true field blend is when several varietals are planted in the same vineyard and exposed to the same soil, climate, and water conditions over the same growing season, and can be harvested, crushed, fermented, aged and blended together.

It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, and Syrah from different vineyards near Geyserville (California) near the north end of the Dry Creek Valley, and “field blend” is a bit of a misnomer. Also, we know nothing about the differences among the vineyards these varietals come from, but whatever we call it, it is a festive and enjoyable wine at a modest price.

Predominantly Zinfandel, this wine combines hand selected fruit from multiple vineyards, resulting in a unique, bright red wine with solid structure. For decades the groundbreaking combination of grape varieties and multiple vintages in this wine has set the bar and blazed the path for red blends all throughout North America.

Marietta Old Vine Red Lot 70: A pleasantly bright and lively red wine, plump with blackberries and black cherries. Secondary notes of wild mint, dusty earth and even a hint of mocha provide an alluring, grounded experience in the glass. Comforting and irresistibly familiar, this is one of the original and best known red blends produced in California; a ‘drink now, enjoy often’ wine that can easily be taken more seriously as the moment demands)

 

Mar a Lago Update: Forty-five Days

We are now a mere six weeks till the Presidential Election on November 3. The whole world is feeling the tension, because the outcome will have a profound effect on the future of our entire planet. It is a little like how you would feel as the Dark Side’s Death Star goes into orbit around your planet and starts taking aim; like, Everything is On the Line.

Still, these days we welcome comfort whenever we can find it, and there are a few hopeful possibilities in the news despite the constant weight of the Virus, the Fires, the Hurricanes, the Economy, and the incessant Tweetsteria headlining. Here are a few to ponder.

The Problem Solvers Caucus
Since 2017 there has actually been a bipartisan group of 50 (25-25) Congressional Representatives dedicated to working across the aisle to produce workable compromises that will have a chance  to push past the many entrenched barriers to compromise that have made legislative collaboration nearly impossible. Two days ago the group placed a compromise Covid Stimulus package before Congress. It is the result of a great deal of the kind of work we expect our legislators to do but which has become rare. Their comprehensive bill is putting a lot of pressure on the rest of their Congressional colleagues, and might therefore have a good chance of passing. That would be a Good Thing.

Securing the Election
Former White House Intelligence Chief Dan Coats just posted an op-ed in the NY Times underlining that the stakes in this election together with the distrust and animosity between the two parties make it an immediate imperative for Congress  to  implement a robust election oversight system across the country to insure confidence in the validity of the results. As emotions and rhetoric now stand, without such a well-organized and carefully designed nonpartisan oversight process, many will question the results: “We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that the people’s will expressed through their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted.” Although time is now very short to create that kind of oversight structure, his idea has a great deal of merit.

Um…in full disclosure, some of us have long been convinced that the Republicans have had a built-in fudge factor of about 4% in several states (FL in ’00, OH in ’04, and WI in ’16), and only huge voter turnout let Obama prevail in ’08 and ’12. But then again, some of us ( the hopelessly naive) think gerrymandering, purging of voting rolls, and making voters wait for many hours to vote are criminal acts.

Unrest at the Dept of Justice
Meanwhile, at the DOJ, the recent resignation of long-time federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy seems to be yet another senior staff resignation in protest to Attorney General Barr’s misuse of his office to manipulate investigation findings to be more favorable to Trump’ s (and Barr’s) political desires. This follows numerous other such resignations, including prosecutors working in the Michael Flynn and Roger Stone cases. Because Ms. Dannehy resigned from DOJ (rather than just withdraw from that investigation) “she can warn Congress and the rest of us about what prompted such a dramatic move by a highly regarded career public servant.”

Well, that would be nice, but the deck seems loaded against it. Everybody now knows that Barr is a dedicated co-conspirator who seems increasingly dedicated to putting the power of the Presidency “Above” (but in reality Below)— the Constitution.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting sept 12 ’20

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Saturday Outdoor Wine Tastings By Appointment!

All of you Regulars know our friend Anne who lives a few hundred yards down the street. In the early days of the wine shop there were more than a few hours when she was our only guest. Many of you also know her daughter Julia who visits periodically from England, and her long-time-ago preppie classmate Jonathan who lives on Cape Cod. They were dimly acquainted back then, “re-met” at a school reunion a few years ago, and are now an established trans-Atlantic “item.” We always look forward to and enjoy their visits, and were pleased to join them on Anne’s flower-rich patio Monday night for wine and catching up.

As can happen these days, conversation centered on politics, and at some point they departed the scene to fetch something. About ten minutes later they came back wearing these Yo! Semite! T-shirts designed and distributed to friends by an iconic schoolmate. You may recognize the featured phrase from recent political news…and sorry, not available in Stores! Fun!

While Covid constrains and good weather continues, we are offering limited Saturday afternoon outdoor wine tastings by appointment for two parties of up to five people each. To minimize overlap between groups we are scheduling the first group for 2:30 and the second at 4:00. Tasting fee is $5 each for a flight of four wines. Social distancing rules will be observed, and hand sanitizer will be provided. See guidelines below.

NOTES:
1. Note that the two slots sometimes fill early in the week;
2. Due to the outdoor venue, reservations are weather-dependent. (We are exploring ways to extend our season a bit, we’ll see how that goes…)

Social Distancing Guidelines:

1. Everyone must wear a mask when they are not seated;
2. Groups sharing a table must be a “pod”of family or close friends that regularly share space together, or otherwise take responsibility for managing social distance within their group; and
3. Everyone agrees not to arrive before their appointment begins and to leave before it ends.

To make a reservation, call number next to our logo (above, right).

Wine of the Week: Pomum Red ’15

For this weekend’s tasting guests we return to an old favorite wine from a favorite Washington winemaker, Javier Alfonso of Pomum Cellars in Woodinville. The wine is his Pomum Red, a compelling blend of cab and cab franc, rounded out with malbec, petite syrah, and merlot. Javier grew up in Spain’s Ribero Del Duero region, and brings his heritage to his winemaking here in Washington. His wines show his preference for highly drinkable wines with rich, evolving, and lingering flavors, silky tannic depth and length, and a Muse that beckons “hey, Amigo, un vaso mas!”

A few years ago (OMD, just realized it has been eight!)  Javier and wife Shyla made a surprise visit to the wine shop on a Saturday afternoon, and it was great fun. We remember this now because this weekend we are pouring his Pomum Red, and this vintage (sampling at this very moment!) is really Quite Delightful, with contrasting aromas and flavors of rich nectarine and blackberry fruit and a juicy, lingering finish.

He also has a second label we have carried for some years called Idilico. At the moment we have his Idilico Garnacha on the shelf, and in warmer weather we generally carry his Albarino as well. Both bear the fingerprints of his winemaking style, which generally means “yes, you’re gonna like it!”

Pomum Red ’15     Washington     $19
Mostly cab and cab franc with malbec, petite verdot, merlot; aromas of both fresh and leathery red fruit and exotic spices; On the palate shows black cherry, cranberry and garrigue,  fine elegant tannins and a long finish.

 

Dreamtime For Sale

For whatever reasons, the way our lives have gone in the last few years has not provided much support for  sailing, and with some ambivalence we have made the difficult decision to put our Montgomery 23, Dreamtime  on the market. She is presently moored at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, probably until the end of Drydock, when she will likely go back on her trailer for the winter behind CityMac in Bellingham.

This is a sweet boat to sail, but there never seems to be the time and commitment actually to get underway. Click on the Dreamtime Pics button at top of page to see more photos.

Only about 20 of these boats were made, all between 1979 and 1984. They have become something of a cult classic in a certain circle, along with their smaller counterparts, the Montgomery 17 and Montgomery 15.

Current asking price has been lowered to $15,500, which includes boat, custom trailer, Honda 9.9 outboard, and 8 ft Westmarine inflatable dinghy (with its ever-handy fold-down wheels!).  Call or email for additional information (see logo area, above).

 

Mar a Lago Update: Economic Extinction

This morning, listening to the News on the radio, we had a hard time getting our heads around the number and extent of active wildfires in Washington,  Oregon, and much of California. Huge swaths of forests, grasslands, and meadows have provided explosive fuel under conditions of scorching temperatures, tinder-dry fuel, and high winds. 400,000 acres went up in flames in 24 hours. Even the recently devastated California town of Paradise was revisited by yet another Fire. These fires have come on so suddenly, caused so much damage, and destroyed so much infrastructure so quickly that it is feeling increasingly  Apocolyptic. Yet in the midst of it all, the Tweetster doubles down on subsidies for fossil fuel development on the fragile continental shelf and in sensitive wildlife refuges.

A warmer planet increases atmospheric temperatures and kinetic energy in the atmosphere, causing greater evaporation, more rainfall, and more flooding. We saw it last year in the Caribbean, and we saw it last week as first a tropical storm and then a hurricane hit the Gulf Coast in the space of a week.

As these risks increase, insurance rates and lending rates will be driven upward. At some point well before a property becomes physically uninhabitable, it will have already become economically uninhabitable as both buyers and lenders grow less and less willing to invest in it. Let’s face it; there is no undeveloped habitable place where 7 billion people can all go to find food, water, and shelter. The only sensible thing for us humans to do is to pull the emergency brake on our  destructive habits.

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting sept 5 ’20

click on photos for larger images

Saturday Outdoor Wine Tastings By Appointment!

While Covid and good weather continue, we are offering limited Saturday afternoon outdoor wine tastings by appointment for two parties of up to five people each. To minimize overlap between groups we are scheduling the first group for 2:30 and the second at 4:00. Tasting fee is $5 each for a flight of four wines. Social distancing rules will be observed, and hand sanitizer will be provided. See guidelines below.

NOTES:
1. Note that the two slots sometimes fill early in the week;
2. Due to the outdoor venue, reservations are weather-dependent. (We are exploring ways to extend our season a bit, we’ll see how that goes…)

Social Distancing Guidelines

1. Everyone must wear a mask when they are not seated;
2. Groups sharing a table must be a “pod”of family or close friends that regularly share space together, or otherwise take responsibility for managing social distance within their group; and
3. Everyone agrees not to arrive before their appointment begins and to leave before it ends.

To make a reservation, call number next to our logo (above, right).

 

Drydock Wine Supplies

We have been stocking up our wine shelves a bit for Annual Drydock, which we all know means passenger traffic only from Sept 12 – Oct 3. Even when we are NOT in a Pandemic most of us old-timers try to avoid the close quarters on the passenger ferry and hole up here on The Rock till the car ferry returns, all spiffed up and ready to serve yet another year. So this year it should be Very Quiet around here, except for the occasional strange chugging, coughing, pinging sounds from the “Island Cars” that come into service while the Real Car in on the mainland in case you need to go to town for some reason.

In preparation for the inevitable Claustrophobic binging needs that Drydock evokes (each week it gets a little worse) we have stocked up on popular favorite wines and added a few new ones that presented just too good a deal to pass up. See our current list on the “Order Wine” tab at the top of this page.

When you have made selections, you can submit an order as follows:

It’s that Simple!

 

Dreamtime For Sale

For whatever reasons, the way our lives have gone in the last few years has not provided much support for  sailing, and with some ambivalence we have made the difficult decision to put our Montgomery 23, Dreamtime  on the market. She is presently moored at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, probably until the end of Drydock, when she will likely go back on her trailer for the winter behind CityMac in Bellingham.

This is a sweet boat to sail, but there never seems to be the time and commitment actually to get underway. Click on the Dreamtime Pics button at top of page to see more photos.

Only about 20 of these boats were made, all between 1979 and 1984. They have become something of a cult classic along with their smaller counterparts, the Montgomery 17 and Montgomery 15.

Current asking price has been lowered to $16,000, which includes boat, custom trailer, Honda 9.9 outboard, and 8 ft Westmarine inflatable dinghy (with it ever-handy fold-down wheels!).  Call or email for additional information (see logo area, above).

 

Mar a Lago Update: On Dignity

A friend recently loaned us his copy of the recent New York Review of Books to read this article by Joseph O’Neill, in which he reviews at some length Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country, a new book by well-known Washington Post journalist E.J. Dionne.

O’Neill begins with this: Somewhat unexpectedly, ensuring the success of the Democratic Party has become the most important political project in the world…(U.S.) leadership is essential if the climate crisis and other world-historical dangers are to be overcome. This can happen only if Democrats dominate the national government for the best part of the next ten years   (because)…the contemporary Republican Party is (according to Noam Chomsky) “the most dangerous organization in human history.”

Thus ensues a detailed summary of Dionne’s arguments in support of these ideas, beginning with the catastrophic confluence of the irresponsible hubris of Trumpian Republicanism with the Perfect Storm of the global Covid pandemic, Global Warming, accelerating species extinctions, desertification, sea level rise, the increasing uninhabitability of large portions of the Earth due to flooding, heat, and increasingly destructive storm winds; the ever-increasing concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands while the human population grows exponentially beyond what the planet can sustain; and the ongoing physical  violence against and economic disenfranchisement of entire subgroups of our fellow citizens solely from self-serving habits of prejudice.

Because it has become increasingly clear over the past four years that Republicans are All In with Denying that any of these things exist or matter, Dionne’s working Hypothesis is that the only way Life as we Know It can be saved is with the leadership and example of the United States, the only country in the world that can (or could at one time) organize and lead such an effort. The key to such a major shift in American politics, says Dionne, is a new kind of Democratic Party, in which the petty squabbles among the Myriad Interests (after all, Democrats are by default Everyone who is Not a Republican) can be put aside in recognition of and commitment to a broadly defined concept of Dignity.

By this he means a broad philosophical commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The concept links issues of justice; recognition; the distributional effects of taxation, economic, and environmental policy; workers’ rights; and equal opportunities. In short, Dignity seems to focus what we usually think of as Equality from the more abstract to more measurable kinds of outcomes. An interesting idea…

 

Wine Tasting