lummi island wine tasting oct 19 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Polenta Sourdough – Made with a levain, also known as sourdough, in which the sourdough starter is fed and built up over several days, then mixed with bread flour and polenta in the final dough mix. This is not the sweet corn cranberry bread that I have done in the past that is enriched with milk and butter, this bread is a nice rustic loaf with great corn flavor. – $5/loaf

Levain w/ Dried Cherries and Pecans – Also a levain bread using a sourdough starter. This allows the fermentation process to start and the gluten to start developing. The final dough adds bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and then loaded up with dried cherries and toasted pecans. A nice rustic loaf that goes well with meats and cheese – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Fruit & Spice Rolls – Not as sweet as many of the pastry choices they include almost half whole wheat, butter along with dried cranberries and golden raisins, fresh orange peel and orange juice, and an interesting array of spices. Brushed with an egg wash and topped with demerara sugar before baking for that extra bit of sweetness and crunch. – 2/$5


Placing comments on the blog

It has recently come to our attention that some of our subscribers have been sending replies to the email subscription version of the blog that you usually goes out very early on Friday mornings. Please note that these emails come from our subscription service, not from us, and your replies disappear into the Cloud somewhere.

Since WE DEFINITELY WANT TO ENCOURAGE COMMENTS, we want you all to know how to do it.

Method 1: click on the link we are now placing at the beginning of each post. We think that will work, but if it doesn’t, try:

Method 2: click on the post heading “lummi island wine tasting & date” at the top of the email page to open the post in a browser window. At the top of that page click on CONTACT US and enter your comments on the form that opens.

Hoping to hear from you!


October Schedule Reminder

We are now on the road for the next three weeks. As has been the case with this post (why our email subscribers didn’t receive this at dawn on Friday), internet access is intermittent and uncertain.

The key takeaway here is that wine shop will be open Fridays only between Oct 19 and Nov 6, and closed Saturdays during the same period, Oct 19, 26, and Nov 2. We regret any inconvenience, but know you will be comforted by the continuing Luxury of Bread Fridays during our absence. And we will keep you posted on our adventures as circumstances allow…!


Mar a Lago Update: Notes on Election Prediction

In a recent article statistical poll researcher Nate Silver talks about some of the more geeky aspects of polling and the meaning of poll results. As you will all recall from your basic statistics courses, the best understanding of statistical predictions is that, given everything we know about the relationships among the co-variability of a large set of measures, any given election result, however improbable, WILL happen sometimes. Yes, think 2016, roll your eyes, raise your fist to an uncaring Heaven, and have another glass of wine.

The coming midterm elections bring with them lots of predictions, and for every prediction, there will be endless punditry about why the numbers most pleasing to them are the most credible. Also, because the midterms are all local or regional races, the populations are more diverse and harder to predict, although common trends cross many regional boundaries and can be predicted with a bit more confidence. One possible takeaway, according to Silver, is that there is a statistical linkage between the outcome of the Senate races and the House races. That means roughly that it is quite likely that Blue will take the House and Red the Senate, somewhat likely that Red will take both, somewhat less  likely but possible that Blue will take both, and quite unlikely that Blue will take the Senate but not the House.

The thing about all of these numbers is that they are probabilities, not predictions, and Anything could happen. The job of voters and campaigns is to do everything they can to improve the probabilities for their side. There will be  Spin and Lies and Muck and Theater all aimed at Fooling as many of the People as possible. The best we can hope for is that everyone sorts fact from fiction and actually casts a vote.


This week’s wine tasting

Conundrum White ’15    California  $17
Blend of Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Viognier, and Muscat Canelli. Nose of citrus orchard in bloom. Tastes sweet without being cloying, showing fig, apricot, exotic spice and melon flavors. Ends clean and pure.

Altos Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda  ‘15   Argentina       $11
Bright ruby color; spicy aromas of fresh cherries and a balanced acidity that makes it fresh and juicy in the mouth, where fine tannins provide a long and pleasant finish.

Bodegas Ateca Atteca ’15     Spain    $14  
Displays aromas of cedar, an earthy minerality, black cherry, and lavender leading to a savory, deep, well-balanced red with succulent fruit and a lengthy, seamless finish.

Sant’ Antonio Monti Garbi Ripasso ’15    Italy    $18
A gorgeous, expressive, tasty Valpolicella; floral notes give lift to the expressive, beautifully centered palate and a long, polished finish.

Pomum Red ’14 Washington $19
Bordeaux blend; aromas of red fruit and exotic spices; On the palate, it shows black cherry, red cranberry and garrigue,  fine elegant tannins and a long finish.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 12 ’18

Bread Friday this week

Black Pepper Walnut- Bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A fair amount of black pepper and toasted walnuts give this bread great flavor with a peppery bite. Goes well with all sorts of meats and cheese and makes a great grilled cheese sandwich – $5/loaf

Flax seed currant Ciabatta – Made with an overnight poolish ferment mixed with the final blend of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye flours, flax seeds and dried currants for a really flavorful artisan loaf – $5/piece

Pastry this week…

Pumpkin Spice Muffins – Delicious autumn muffins made with pumpkin and all the spices that go with it, and topped with a streusel made with butter, brown sugar, pumpkin seeds and a cream cheese filling. Yum! some have called these crack muffins because they are so addictive…! – 4/$5.


St. Peray

Here is is Year 13 in our little wine shop adventure. And over those years, following whatever Eccentric Muse has caught our fancy, we have developed a curious fondness for wines from a number of small and vaguely obscure growing regions. One such region is St. Peray, which sits at the southern end of the Northern Rhone Valley of France, and which totals only 130 acres of vines, most of which are Marsanne and the rest Roussanne. Marsanne is the most popular white wine grape planted in the Northern Rhone wine region.

In Saint Peray the best vineyards are found high on steep hillsides of granite, limestone and clay. In the nineteenth century wines from St. Peray were in high demand but gradually fell from favor.  Now they are again being produced by serious producers willing to make the investments necessary to extract the unique characteristics of this tiny region.

Then again, we have established over these many years that there are certain wines that we really enjoy but which turn out to draw only puzzled expressions from our Faithful. In any case, we did just open a bottle, and yeah, okay, it Definitely Strikes a Chord. It is quite light in the mouth on entry, with a subtle, minerally, white-peachy, and slightly peppery weight that lingers in a seductive yet refreshing– and habit-forming– way. It will be fun to see how it is received…!


October Schedule

We will be here this weekend for our usual schedule, Friday 4-7 and Saturday 2-9 pm. However please be advised that we will be away and the wine shop will be open Fridays only between Oct 12 and Nov 6, and closed Saturdays during the same period, Oct 19, 26, and Nov 2. We regret any inconvenience, but know you will be comforted by the continuing Luxury of Bread Fridays during our absence. We will keep you posted on our adventures.


Hauling Out

see photo

Well, as it turned out it wasn’t a great summer for sailing. Actually, it was a great summer for sailing, but very little sailing happened. Nevertheless, a number of little projects got completed on Dreamtime, including some veneer replacement in the cabin that had been damaged a few years ago, replacing some failing shrouds, and learning more about tuning the #@8% outboard, which has been very finicky. The lesson learned, or “re-learned,” is that time “simply messing about in boats” is a relaxing distraction, whether it is actually sailing or rowing out to pursue maintenance chores.

Yesterday we sailed her into town for haulout this morning. Both went well, and she is now safely moored on her trailer in town for the winter. The trip to town from the Island was marked by light winds and sometimes glassy seas and abstract reflections.


Mar a Lago Update: Power and Women Scorned

Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d. — William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, 1697

It is difficult not to see the recent confirmation of Judge K to SCOTUS as an affront to the last fifty years of Feminist Progress in our Country. True, there has been some learning in the Senate since Anita Hill confronted Clarence Thomas 25 years ago. Then, as now, the Witness was poised, intelligent, thoughtful, courteous, dignified, and Credible, while the Accused was none of those things. And then, as now, the Nominee was confirmed to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court as if the Woman did not exist, or even worse, Existed but Did Not Matter.

This time feels a little Different, with a few Signs of Minor Progress. This time comes after a year of MeToo has marked the Fall of many men from high positions. This time it touches More Deeply than MeToo, beyond workplace discrimination to the day to day cross-cultural Battlefield that girls and women face every day in growing up and going about the business of living as Prey in a world of Predators. This is discussed eloquently in an article read earlier this week (sorry, can’t remember where) that makes a compelling case that This Time, as with PTSD, it is evoking deep resonance and personal memories in ways that are empowering Rage in women across every cultural Divide.

While we cannot remember the name of the article or the author (or as former Poet Laureate Billy Collins put it in an amusing poem):

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones…

All you need to know for now is that the Article we can’t remember ends with the compelling line that prompted this note: “Before Kavanaugh, I was just Angry; Now, I’m F~#king Furious!” Here on Lummi Island, where all the women are Strong, and most of us Old Guys are more Handy than Handsome, that sounds like a Mantra we can all Get Behind.  see more


This week’s wine tasting

Paul Jaboulet Aine Saint-Peray Blanc Les Sauvagères ’15    France     $22
100% Marsanne; A pure, fresh, mineral style of Saint-Peray, saline and citrus driven – a true Rhone revelation from steep hills of pure limestone.

Montes Classic Merlot ’13   Chile     $11
Bright and complex, with blackcurrant and black cherry flavours and a rich, juicy finish. Aged in oak for six months before release.

Atalaya Laya ’17     Spain     $11
70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell; Cassis, blueberry, pungent herbs and mocha aromas lead to an open-knit palateof fresh cherry, dark berry, and a hint of black pepper and a subtle floral note.

Colome Amalaya  ‘16    Argentina       $12
From one of the highest and most remote vineyards in the world (8000 ft). Dark, with a core of crushed currant and plum fruit laced with black tea, fig, raisin and cherry with hints of mesquite and fruitcake. Stays fresh on the finish. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tannat.

Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache  ’15    Australia   $22
From century-old vines; heady aromas of dark berry liqueur, candied licorice and mocha; supple, broad and seamless, with sweet blueberry and cassis , and lush, decadent style, smooth and long, with repeating spiciness and velvety tannins.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 5 ’18

Bread Friday this week

Whole Wheat Levain – Made with a sourdough starter that is built up over several days. The bread is made with levain and bread flour and about 25% fresh milled whole wheat, giving it a ‘toothy’ crumb,  great texture and flavor and a nice crisp crust.  – $5/loaf

Buckwheat Rye – Fresh milled buckwheat and rye flours are soaked for 8 hours without any yeast in a method known as an autolyse. As buckwheat and rye don’t have much gluten this allows what little gluten there is to start developing and really gets the enzymes going before the final mix, which is then fermented overnight in the refrigerator. The buckwheat, rye soaker is mixed with bread flour, salt and yeast and a bit of honey. Goes well with all sorts of meats and cheese – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with plenty of butter, eggs and sugar, fermented overnight in the refrigerator before being rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with dark chocolate. 2/$5


Fior D’Arancio

A few weeks ago we posted a note about a wine from Colli Euganei, a series of ancient volcanic hills north of Venice, where 50 million year old mineral deposits add depth and character to local wines. In that case we were talking about the success of red Bordeaux varietals like cab and merlot in the region.

This week we offer an unusual sparkling dessert wine from the same region, made from a local clone of muscat, which either through its own genetic identity or from some kind of cosmic osmosis  (cosmosis…?) from nearby orange orchards, has strong scents and flavors of orange. This wine is surprising and pleasing in many ways, with its lovely orange blossom bouquet, fine perlage, and fluffy mousse. It makes a great afternoon treat on the deck, or a fine accompaniment with fruit tarts, pies, puddings, or cakes.


October Sunset




Mar a Lago Update: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Kavanaugh

 Legend has it that the idea for Robert Louis Stevenson’s original story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to him in a dream, and the first draft was completed in a few days. The basic story is that Jekyll the upstanding scientist has a few flaws, and experiments with a dangerous chemical cocktail that transforms him body, mind, and spirit into the morally corrupt Hyde, through whose debauchery he can explore his own Dark Side. The tension between the two characters, one good and one evil inhabiting the same body, makes for a compelling story.

It is less well-known that late in life Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis and the effects of medicinal cocaine used to treat it, and there is speculation that he was experiencing some of the elements of his own personality split when he wrote the story.

Recently we have all witnessed a similar transformation in the Senate hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In week one of testimony he played a casual game of softball with Republican Senators, while openly defying Democrats. Then we saw an astonishing day of  hearings which featured a composed, guileless, and credible Christine Blasey-Ford describing in detail how he assaulted her when they were both teenagers, followed by a disturbing, defiant, bullying, scowling, sneering, self-righteous and infantile Kavanaugh raging against the Gross Injustice of the Obvious Conspiracy by the Democrats, the Clintons, and Blasey-Ford to keep him from his Birthright to be a Supreme Court Justice.

He was painful to watch, and his Schtick was entirely familiar to those of us who grew up in alcoholic families. Self-righteous and self-deceiving, his basic message of How Dare You Question Me? is a classic psychopathic strategy for asserting Power. If you look back at the recordings of his Performance, you will see not Mr. Kavanaugh, but Mr. Hyde, sneering and outraged, blaming and vowing revenge, and wallowing in a strangely defiant self-pity. His demeanor, his language, his rudeness, his disrespect, and his bullying are all Familiar Hallmarks of Being Under the Influence of Something, maybe beer in high school, but something more intense, coke maybe, while watching Blasey-Ford’s testimony.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens just today withdrawn his endorsement for Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying there’s merit to the criticism that Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony last week showed a “potential for political bias.” Seems like a Fair Assessment and an Understatement. But it ain’t likely to keep Mr. Hyde off the Court. Sad times.


This week’s wine tasting

Ottella Lugana Bianco ’15     Italy    $12
Trebbiano di Lugano (Turbiana). Intense straw yellow color with green tinges. Exotic notes of candied fruit and citrus, warm and very deep on the nose. Widespread expressive finesse, with rich and persistent texture.

Château Lamothe de Haux Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux ’14   France    $12
A fine wine, with wood and fruit both rich and concentrated, with notes of spice, juicy black fruits and ripe tannins. It is developing slowly and surely and will be ready to drink from 2019.

Zenato ‘Alanera’ Rosso Veronese ’13       Italy            $15
Dark, inky color; rich and focused nose, with ripe berries, dusty oak and a precise note of waxy vanilla bean. On the palate delivers extracted flavors of cherries, strawberry, clay and even a hint of crushed mint. Soft tannins, rounded finish.

Betz La Cote Rousse Syrah ’10            Washington           $55
Black raspberry, flowers, minerals and spices on the nose; juicy on entry, then sinewy and penetrating, with obvious Red Mountain structure. Minerally, spicy, peppery finish with fine-grained tannins and lovely persistence.

Lovo Fior d’Arancio Sparkling Moscato ’17           Italy          $15
A very rare clone of Moscato with an unmistakable citrus scent from nearby orange groves for a sparkling wine with refined bubbles and beautiful, pearlescent color, a perfect aperitif with or without dessert!


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting sept 28 ’18

Bread Friday this week

Fig Anise – One of the more popular breads in the rotation. Made with a sponge that is fermented overnight, then the final dough is mixed with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Honey, dried figs and anise bring in all the flavors of the mediterranean. A great flavorful bread – $5/loaf

Rye w/ Currants, Pumpkin Seeds & Cracked Coriander – Made with a starter fed with rye instead of wheat flour, with final dough about half bread flour and half freshly milled rye flour, some molasses for sweetness and pumpkin seeds, currants and cracked coriander seed. – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Pain aux Raisin – Made with the same laminated dough as croissants, rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with a mix of golden raisins and dried cranberries that have been soaked in sugar syrup. Rolled up and sliced before baking. Yum! – 2/$5



The truth is that drydock has seriously depleted our inventory. We were hoping to bring in a wine order late this week, but the ferry return schedule (Friday evening after 6) has put a damper on that. A search of the cellar revealed enough wine to save us schlepping wine to the island on the passenger boat. It turns out that two of those wines are Italian sangiovese from different parts of Tuscany. And as with other wine grapes, sangiovese has a set of general characteristics with a lot of variation depending on the soil and microclimate where the vines are grown, as well as their age, local tradition, and individual winemaker.

In general sangiovese shows flavors of ripe, tart red fruit like sour cherry, herbal notes like fennel, rosemary, and thyme, local notes of tomato, iron, or balsamic; and varying degrees of minerality. While it must make up 80% of any Chianti, it is also used in many other blends in Tuscany. Both of this weekend’s wines are from Morellino, in the Maremma wine region, which requires 90% sangiovese. It will be interesting to see what distinctions we can find between the two wines!


This week in pictures

(click images to enlarge)






















Mar a Lago Update: Fake News Goes Mainstream

Here we are coming up to Two Years of the New World of Fake News. At first we thought LOL, then OMD, and then WTF, and now we are so far down a Very Long list of acronyms we don’t even have words for them anymore. Political propaganda is well along toward replacing even the most basic facts with bald-faced Lies regularly presented directly alongside said facts. We expect an Updated Official Count of the Tweetster’s Lies from the Washington Post in a few days. But that says nothing about the more broadly orchestrated Big Lies generated constantly by Darth McConnell and his minions.

Today’s All-Day Spectacle at the Confirmation Hearing of Brett Kavanaugh as the Far Right Swing Vote on the Supreme Court shows a Chilling Quantum Leap in Deceit Management. While it no doubt has its risks, their strategy has almost certainly provided the Minimal Cover Republicans want to go ahead and confirm their boy without losing any of their base.

Act One was beautifully choreographed to the tune of the Me Too Movement by funneling Republican questions to Judiciary Committee guest witness Christy Blasey Ford through motherly prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who later told Republican Senators that based on Ford’s testimony, she would not charge Kavanaugh or even pursue a search warrant. As we go to press tonight several Republican Senators and a couple of Democrats from Red States are weighing the political costs of allowing their own ethical values (an admittedly anachronistic notion) to play a role in their decision on Kavanaugh.

If the theme of Act One was Playing Nice and pretending to be respectful of Ford’s possible traumatic experience with Kavanaugh, Act Two was a complete Reversal, energetically making Kavanaugh the Victim and changing the subject entirely from the allegations against him to an alleged Left Wing Conspiracy Against him. After categorically denying all of Ford’s charges, and refusing to answer even the most basic and direct of questions from Democratic Senators, Kavanaugh went on an emotional Rant against Ford, Democrats, the Clintons (he was a hatchet man for Ken Starr), and the Left for their Obvious Conspiracy against him, his family, and his High Reputation by taking a Woman’s word against His.

He was supported by a similarly worded and well-acted outburst by Leave it to Beaver look-alike Lindsay Graham, outraged at the Unfairness of it all. Ah, well played, gentlemen, well played. Despicable, hateful, and Unconscionable, but well played. All of this, we presume, carefully aimed two messages at their Base: 1) Golly gosh, ladies, don’t worry yo’ pretty little heads about us good ole boys bein’ misogynists, cuz we’re all  about  feelin’ yo’ pain and defendin’ yo’ honor; and 2) All you gun-totin’, Tweetster-votin’, immigrant-notin’ guys gotta help us keep them Dems from takin’ your country away from you and givin’ it to a bunch of Illegal Aliens

The Republican Calculation here is whether their long term goals will be better met by trying to save House and Senate majorities in the November election, or by taking control of the Supreme Court for the next thirty years by confirming Kavanaugh. Our bet is that a reliable majority on the Court is more valuable to the billionaires who own the Republican Party than short term House control. We shall see…


This week’s wine tasting

Maryhill Viognier ’15        Washington       $14
Vibrant aromas of orange zest, honeysuckle, and pink grapefruit; flavors of lemon, pear, and white peach. The mouthfeel is delicate, yet full-bodied, withnotes of fresh flowers.

Teutonic Pinot Noir Rosé ’15 Oregon $19
An elegant rosé that’s low in alcohol, showing notes of dark plum, pink apples, and cassis. Voluptuous and succulent with fresh strawberry notes, good minerality, and zesty acidity.

Maryhill Winemaker’s Red ’12 Washington    $11
Fruit-forward and smooth with hints of cherry, blueberry and red fruit. Off-dry with fruity notes on the palate accented by cherry and vanilla. Food-friendly and perfect for everyday enjoyment.

Perazzeta Sara Rosso ’15     Italy   $12
90% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo from the Tuscan south; bright and full-bodied with cherry, crisp acidity, and tantalizing earth tones make this pretty wine a winner with savory dishes.

Bocelli Sangiovese ’16       Italy      $14
Bright, lush, and appealing; deliciously ripe and smoky, with notes of marasca cherry, granite, and rhubarb compote. Finish is long and dry, with admirable acidity that makes the palate taut and pleasing.


Wine Tasting