lummi island wine tasting oct 24 ’20

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Bread  Crumbs

Friday Bread pickup will continue at the Ferry Parking Lot on Fridays from 4 – 5:30 pm through October. We are exploring how to bring Bread Fridays back to the wine shop. perhaps in the partial shelter of the wine shop garage door opening beginning in November.

The wine shop is presently open for sales on Saturdays from 3-5 pm for purchases and perhaps a wee splash of a “Wine of the Week.” We don’t think reservations will be necessary, at least for the time being, but since only one group will be allowed inside at a time, you might encounter a short wait if another party is already inside. Appointments possible if timing is important to you.

The usual social distancing guidelines (see below) will apply. Windows will be open and fans and air filters will be in place as necessary to maintain a rapid air exchange cycle while the shop is open.

Social Distancing Guidelines:
1. Only one group (up to four people) will be allowed in the shop at once for up to 20 minutes.
2. Everyone must wear a mask;
3. Each group must be a “pod” that willingly takes responsibility for managing social distance within their group.
4. Reservations optional (most likely not necessary).

 

Wine of the Week: La Spinetta IL Nero di Casanova Sangiovese ’15      Italy     

Ruby red in color with intense cherry and spicy mint characteristics on the nose. Densely rich on the palate, this magnificently structured Sangiovese is rounded with a good grip and fine finish.This is a pure expression of Sangiovese from 20-year-old vines surrounding the Casanova winery. i offers a complex aromatic profile of pressed rose, wet earth, liquorice and wild Mediterranean brush, fully expressing its Tuscan fingerprint. This wine has a distinct structure and power not unlike the more well-known Brunello or Montepulciano and aging in ten-year-old oak casks adds further integration, definition and stability to this exciting win

La Spinetta IL Nero di Casanova Sangiovese ’15        Italy        $20
Intense ruby red color. Aromas of wild cherry, black currant and sweet plum. On the palate, this wine offers silky tannins and a fruity chewy finish as well as lots of cherry with elegant richness. A funky and intense wine. A better under $20 Tuscan Sangiovese might be impossible to find! This vintage of Il Nero is delicious! Intense ruby red in color with intense cherry and spicy mint characteristics on the nose. Densely rich on the palate, this magnificently structured Sangiovese is rounded with a good grip and fine finish.

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Mar a Lago Update:

It’s been a challenging week around the wine shop. In politics, the Republikans  appear ready to clamp down on their opportunity to cram yet another highly Conservative Justice onto the Supreme Court.

Turmoil in election forecasts shows increasing volatility and improving odds for Democrats to take over White House and both houses of Congress. (oh please, oh please!) while Republikaners pat themselves on the back for their moral courage at the ability to break any rule at any time.

Al told there is tremendous volatility in our national body politic.

And being as how some of us have gotten very little sleep the last  few days, for this week we are signing off early.

to be continued…

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 17 ’20

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Schedule Notes

Bread pickup will continue at the Ferry Parking Lot on Fridays from 4 – 5:30 pm through October. We are making progress  toward havingFriday bread pickup in the partial shelter of the wine shop garage. More on that over the next couple of weeks.

As most of our locals know, the Island tallied its first case of COVID recently, apparently transmitted by a visitor to the Willows Inn. The entire staff has been placed in quarantine for the next week or two. Everyone is keeping a low profile.

We are still open at the wine shop Saturdays from 3-5 pm for purchases and perhaps a wee splash of a “Wine of the Week.” We don’t think reservations will be necessary, at least for the time being. However, only one group will be allowed inside at a time, but appointments will remain an option for the future.

The usual social distancing guidelines (see below) will apply. Windows will be open and fans and air filters will be in place to maintain a rapid air exchange cycle while the shop is open.

 

Social Distancing Guidelines:
1. Only one group (up to four people) will be allowed in the shop at once for up to 20 minutes.
2. Everyone must wear a mask;
3. Each group must be a “pod” that willingly takes responsibility for managing social distance within their group.
4. Reservations optional (most likely not necessary).

 

Wine of the Week: Penley Phoenix Cabernet

A bouquet of dark, berried, inky fruit with plenty of sawdusty/smoky oak. While it’s warm with alcohol it remains smooth, supple and persistent. It’s all blackcurrant, bay leaves and aforementioned oak on the palate. Tannin is fine-grained. This is a complete and harmonious wine with great persistence of flavor. Bright and delicious, speaking of contemporary Coonawarra Cabernet.

Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon ’17 Australia $18
The first vines were planted in Coonawarra in South Australia in 1890, predominantly shiraz. The terra rossa soil was quickly recognized as something special covering limestone and dolomite bedrock.

And yes, we will have a bottle open if you drop by!

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Supremes Greatest Hits?

#1 Someday We’ll Be Together (again)

The almost certain appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the U. S. Supreme Court will unite three judges who all worked as lawyers for George W. Bush after the 2000 election. You will recall that the result of those many weeks of haggling over “hanging chads” and “butterfly ballots”was the judicial selection of Bush as the winner over Gore some six weeks after the election had taken place. Those three judges are John Roberts, Bret Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, now together again at last just in time to resolve the next contested Presidential election.

#2 Come See About Me

This little “reunion” adds another layer of significant concern about the Tweetster’s ongoing insistence that the election is going to be rigged by the Democrats and would have to be resolved (in his favor, of course) by the Supreme Court. He has consistently ranted that ballots submitted by mail are by their nature unreliable and corrupt (except for “absentee ballots” which are fine, especially in Florida, where he believes he has an edge.

At the same time, Republican Party lawyers have filed suits all over the country in a massive effort to keep states from counting as many mailed ballots as possible by challenging any that arrive on or after Election Day. These efforts are on top of the major effort underway at the Post Office by the new Republican Postmaster General to decrease the Post Office’s ability to process the large volume of absentee ballots expected all over the country this year due to Covid.

#3 Stop! In The Name Of Love

Meanwhile, one of the standout presentations at the Barrett hearings was that by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, who used a simple set of posters to show how hundreds of millions of $ of Dark Money has poured in from corporate sources over many years to the Federalist Society and a number of shadow organizations to promote the advancement of very conservative appointees to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court. The purpose of these efforts  (summarized here) has been to reverse three important precedents involving:  1) abortion rights (Roe); 2)  national health insurance (Obamacare), and 3) same-sex marriage (Obergefell).

Whitehouse went further to talk about things eighty cases narrowly decided 5-4 by the conservative majority under Justice Roberts in recent years have several properties in common: 1) passed by a bare majority; 2) majority was partisan (all Republican appointees); 3) strong donor interest in having unlimited dark money allowed in politics so that these interests could buy the influence they wanted in Congress.

Specifically, these eighty cases fell into four broad categories of financial interest:

Bottom Line 1: Judges Barrett, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas will be the new conservative majority to rubber-stamp what the Big Money wants, leaving Roberts free to go either way, and leaving the “liberal” minority pretty much out of luck for the foreseeable future.

Bottom Line 2: Any plausible reason for throwing out enough selected results to give the election to the Tweetster is likely to gain traction in a sympathetic new Court.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting october 10 ’20

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Moving Inside

Please note that weekly Bread pickup will continue at the Ferry Parking Lot on Fridays from 4 – 5:30 pm through October. And since Janice is reluctant to return to the old Friday night format upstairs in the wine shop, we are exploring ways to set up bread pickup in the partial shelter of the wine shop garage. More on that over the next couple of weeks. So for the next few weeks, Friday Bread pickup will continue to be at the ferry overflow parking lot.

However, beginning this weekend the wine shop is re-opening Saturdays from 3-5 pm for purchases and perhaps a wee splash of a “Wine of the Week.” We don’t think reservations  will be necessary, at least for the time being. However, only one group will be allowed inside at a time, but appointments will remain an option for the future.

The usual social distancing guidelines (see below) will apply. Windows will be open and fans and air filters will be in place to maintain a rapid air exchange cycle while the shop is open.

 

Social Distancing Guidelines:
1. Only one group (up to four people) will allowed in the shop at once for up to 20 minutes.
2. Everyone must wear a mask;
3. Each group must be a “pod” that willingly takes responsibility for managing social distance within their group.
4. Reservations optional (most likely not necessary).

 

Wine of the Week: Townshend Red Table

Townshend Cellar is located in Greenbluff, Washington, in rolling farm country a little northeast of Spokane. They have been making wine sourced from Columbia Valley fruit since 1998. Their wines are regularly fruit-driven, easy to drink, and good values.

This wine is their low-end — you guessed it — table wine! (The red table on the label always brings a smile.) It is a non-vintage blend of cab, merlot, and syrah from more than one season’s harvest.

Anonymous reviewers sum it up this way:

— Dark, earthy cocoa notes you only get from a PNW wine;
— Mysterious and lovely for the price;
— Medium-bodied, nice dark red with notes of blackberry and a nice pepper finish.
— Delicious red blend and very easy to like. 

Townshend Red Table NV  Washington  $12
Appealing red wine crafted of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.  Bursts with sun-ripened fruit on the nose and entry, with generous fruit and satisfying flavors of purple plums, Bing cherries and boysenberries accented by vanilla bean and toasted oak. 

 

And yes, we will have a bottle open if you drop by!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Embers of Hope

Don’t know about you, but we are feeling deeply fatigued. As our friend Kevin put it back in the Dubya years, “Things are getting worse faster than I’m getting older.” There was an article  in The Nation back in 2003 titled “Rolling Back the Twentieth Century” that explored, based on Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II the rise of the Right over those years and put what we were feeling into clear perspective:

Movement conservatives envision a restored society in which the prevailing values and power relationships resemble the America that existed around 1900, when William McKinley was President. Governing authority and resources are dispersed from Washington, returned to local levels and also to individuals and private institutions, most notably corporations and religious organizations. The primacy of private property rights is re-established over the shared public priorities expressed in government regulation. Above all, private wealth–both enterprises and individuals with higher incomes–are permanently insulated from the progressive claims of the graduated income tax.

Now, nearly twenty years after the article was written, we can see that the plan has continued to unfold with little effective resistance from the Left.  Since it was written we have seen 4 more years of Republican Rule under Bush and eight years of Republican stonewalling of every initiative of the Obama Administration to pass legislation, appoint judges to long-vacant seats, or otherwise participate in the give-and-take compromises that have kept our country moving forward as one indivisible nation for some two centuries.

On top of all that these last four years of the Tweetster have provided the cover of nonstop Distraction and Chaos in his role as their Puppet President while behind the scenes they have indeed continued to transfer vast amounts of wealth from the poorest to the richest and to develop and deploy ubiquitous media platforms that deliver nonstop propaganda to discredit all opposition, including science, truth, compassion, fairness, and ethics.

So. Everything is at stake in this election. Everybody knows that climate change has already made life Economically Uninhabitable in many places, and it is getting worse every year. Everybody knows that the Tweetster is a compulsive liar and less qualified than most of the ordinary people we know to be President. Everybody knows he did in fact commit serious impeachable offenses. And Everybody knows from Republican performances in the Muller, Kavanaugh, and Impeachment hearings that from top to bottom Republican Senators and Representatives are motivated only by expediency and never by principle.

It was, therefore, a little bit comforting that the fly on Pence’s head in last night’s debate seemed to pick up on that…

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 3 ’20

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Moving Inside

In a year when Time has become even more of an abstraction than usual, it feels a little shocking to note that it is now officially October. And that is strange, because the days and weeks since February have been so similar, lacking the  distinguishing features by which we unconsciously catalog the passage of time. No trips, no parties, no dinners out, precious little time with friends and family. No adventures, no movies, no sports events. And maybe worst of all, no wine tasting! It feels like being under siege by some vague outside force we can’t see or hear. Abstract and creepy. Tiring.

We have all made our peace with it as best we can, but now comes Autumn, and time to see if the wine shop can safely operate indoors again. Therefore this Saturday will mark our Last outdoor wine tasting appointments and our First “indoor shopping” appointments. Thanks to all of you who have taken part in those events, which provided us all with comforting doses of the ongoing “salon energy” the wine shop has fostered the last fifteen years, and which we have all been missing.

We are therefore trying out a modest reopening protocol this weekend to test the waters. We will be open for wine sales this Saturday, October 3 from 3-5 pm. And since we are far from ready to accept the risk of of our familiar five-wine tasting flights, We will provide a modest complimentary tasting of our “wine of the week” while you shop or schmooze for a few minutes. Social distancing guidelines (see below) will apply. Windows will be open and fans and air filters will be in place to maintain a rapid air exchange cycle while the shop is open.

Social Distancing Guidelines:
1. Only one group (up to four people) allowed in the shop at once for up to 20 minutes.
2. Everyone must wear a mask whenever they are not actually sipping (!);
3. Each group must be a “pod” that willingly takes responsibility for managing social distance within their group.
4. Reservations optional (most likely not necessary).

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

 

Wine of the Week:  Conundrum Red

Napa Valley’s Caymus Winery has been famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon almost from its first vintage in 1972. The founder, Charles Wagner, died in 2002, and the winery passed on to sons. Properties and labels were bought and sold, and an array of new wines were created. As we like to point out, a key difference between Old World and New World wines is that in Europe there are complex Rules that make place of origin Sacred, so that every wine tells a story of its particular vineyard in any particular year. The story changes with each year’s particular weather pattern, but like a series of mystery novels with the same detective in the same city, every vineyard has a consistent underlying structure and identity associated with the uniqueness of every particular place.  Thus wines change in many ways from season to season, but they always bear their vineyard footprint and a particular winemaker’s fingerprints.

So while Caymus wines can rightfully stake a claim to particular Napa vineyards, blends like Conundrum might blend fruit from many different vineyards. Many top wineries have separate labels for wines blended from “less than the best” juice that did not make the cut for their Flagship wines. In many cases, these are above-average wines even though they don’t have a single, identifiable footprint.

Conundrum Red ’17     California      $22
Petite Sirah, Zin, and Cab; rich, complex and seductive, with round notes of cherries and baking chocolate, fine tannins, and a silky smoothness.

 

Mar a Lago Update: “We’ve Always Been Republicans!”

Back in the Fall of 1972 I was visiting my mother in Bangor, Maine where she was born and where I grew up. The Presidential election was only weeks away, with Democrat McGovern challenging Republican Nixon.

At some point the conversation turned to politics, and I told her I was strongly for McGovern. “But Richahd,” she said in her native and R-less (as in “Ah-less”) Maine accent, “We’ve Always been Republicans!” To which I responded with something like, “But Muthah, we’ve Always been pooah (poor)…it doesn’t make sense for us to be Republicans!”

Of course, back in those days, there were still liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, and all shades in between. Many Maine Republicans were generally far to the Left of many Southern Democrats until not so many years ago. And true enough there have indeed been lots more Republican Maine  Senators over the years than Democrats. Margaret Chase Smith is famous for cutting fellow Republican Senator Joe McCarthy down to size in the early 1950’s, and many other Maine Senators from both parties served several terms with bipartisan support: Republicans Bill Cohen, Olympia Snow, and Susan Collins; Democrats George Mitchell and Ed Muskie; and Independent current Senator Angus King.

Nowadays there are far fewer regional differences in the party loyalties of Senators and Representatives, with more and more “party discipline” holding individuals to the Party Line of the Moment. This political style came into being with a vengeance when Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich burst onto the scene as Speaker after the 1994 election. His outrageous “Contract On America” declared War on the two-party system, on President Bill Clinton, on All Things Democratic, and on inter-party collegiality itself.

Bottom Line: This Election is too important to vote from habit, and our votes should be about more than Party loyalty. They should be about what’s best for a healthy society and a bright and sustainable future for our planet and our species. Your vote is important; please cast it wisely!

 

 

 

Wine Tasting