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

 

Sangiovese

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

lummi island wine tasting sept 21 ’18

Bread Friday this week

Whole Wheat Ciabatta – Uses an italian biga pre-ferment as well as a levain. Once mixed the dough is fermented overnight for a lot of flavor to the final bread. Made with regular bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat, and a little olive oil for more flavor. A great rustic bread – $5/piece

Pain Normand – Exemplifies the flavor of french Normandy region which is known for its apples. Made with fresh- milled whole wheat and rye flours as well as bread flour, apple cider, and dried apples. A delicious artisan bread – $5/loaf.

and pastry this week…

Bagels!also made with a bit of preferment, in this case a sponge, mixed, shaped and refrigerated overnight before being boiled and baked in the traditional manner for a delicious, chewy bagel. Your bagels come with assorted toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, mixed sesame and poppy and plain. Each order is mixed – sorry no choices – 4/$5

 

Queen Anne’s Lace

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)


For the last month or so our daily walks have taken us past lots of Queen Anne’s lace down near Legoe Bay. It is named for Queen Anne of England (1665-1714), who according to legend, pricked her finger and  dripped blood on the white lace she was sewing. This summer revealed that it goes through a remarkable set of transformations as it flowers, arousing our curiosity about it.

 

 

 

 

 

It is also commonly known as wild carrot — the roots smell like carrots–an edible plant cultivated as a vegetable by early Europeans, the Romans, and early American colonists. It is high in sugar and has often been used as a sweetener by many cultures. Its early flowering features a single, tiny, dark purple flower in the center of a dense circle of white flowers which open for pollination. The entire cluster then closes into a basket that evolves further as it goes to seed.

 

 

The roots can be eaten, but caution is required because a number of poisonous plants (like poison hemlock) can be mistaken for this one. The roots can be used in soups and stews or for making tea. Leaves work as salad ingredients, and flower clusters can be cooked or used to garnish a salad.

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, it goes through a long series of beautiful and fascinating transformations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montepulciano Riserva

A year or two ago we posted a note about the sometimes confusing differences between the grape varietal montepulciano, sometimes called Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, made in the charming Tuscan hilltop town of Montepulciano from the the local version of Italy’s most iconic grape, sangiovese, and Montepulciano D’Abruzzo,  a red wine grape grown in the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy, stretching between the Apennine mountains of Italy’s spine and the Adriatic coast.

Descriptions of the aromas and flavors of the two grapes don’t add much to distinguishing one from the other, with a typical Nobile described as flavors of dark ripe berries, with notes of plum and hints of earthiness, while d’Abruzzo Riserva can be described as highly aromatic with earthy black berry notes and an inky-purple color with a thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Since at this very moment I am, um, sampling this weekend’s Marchetti Rosso Conero Riserva, I can tell you with some confidence that after 30 minutes or so of aeration, I endorse this description whole-heartedly. On the one hand this wine seems deeper and darker on entry than a Nobile from Montepulciano; on the other after opening it is less tannic, richer, and longer on the palate. I.e., you will definitely want some, and we only have the one case. Best get here early…!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Turning Points

In the interests of Full Disclosure, we admit being categorically opposed to any judicial nominee endorsed by the Federalist Society. By its very nature, such an endorsement is a research finding that said nominee had been vetted and found Highly Likely to support a pro-Corporate, pro-Gun, anti-Choice Political Agenda.

This is in High Contrast to the model adopted and long-practiced by our Canadian neighbors, who set a Much Higher Standard for their judicial nominees. Though that standard is unwritten, in practice it results in Review Courts made up of Justices who are so thoughtful and responsible that it is impossible to predict which way any individual judge will vote on any particular case. 

The more we think about it, the more we are in awe and a good deal of Envy because it seems like such a Perfect Criterion for an effective and balanced Judiciary: the ability to take each case on its own merits relative to the Law as written. What better Guardian of Democracy could anyone imagine?

This is in sharp contrast to our own Appellate Judiciary, which has become increasingly politicized over the last few decades, beginning perhaps with Robert Bork in 1987, the Anita Hill-contested nomination of Clarence What’s-His-Name in 1991, the Republican Refusal even to consider the President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, up to the current Fast-Tracking of Judge Kavanaugh in 2018.

So it is in this context that we consider the Oh-So-Chimplike Spect-Deb-Acle of the Republicans’ rush to approve Kavanaugh to the Supremes before the November Election vs. the Dems’ Last Stand for Balanced Justice over the next thirty years. In particular, at the moment there is an accusation on the table that Kavanaugh committed a felony assault as a 17 yr-old minor under the influence of a copious amount of alcohol.

One thing we can say for sure is that there are a lot of lines converging on this matter, most of them Partisan. Our view of the moment is that once again, as So Often in the last few years, we find Our Nation in an Ethical Dilemma which requires our representative government to put on their wigs and robes, step up, and Deliberate with Open Hearts and Minds and Good Intention. The Me-Too Movement has created new and higher expectations for Men in Power, and Consequences for those who do not measure up. At some Very Deep Level, this Nomination is becoming a Metaphor for our most basic philosophical differences, and the results of the meta-combat over the next few weeks may shape the Global Future for a Very Long Time. 

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 4713 as of 9/1/18

 

This week’s wine tasting

Montinore Borealis White   Oregon   $12
Blend of Müller-Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris; scents of orange blossom, ripe honeydew, guava and kiwi; sumptuous and round, bursting with stone fruit, Meyer lemon and juicy pear drizzled with caramel.

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.

Chateau Mayne-Vieil Buisson Redon ’14   France     $10
From 25 year old vines; 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc from clay-loam soil. Well made, easy to drink, and very affordable. 

Ramirana Cab Reserva ’15    Chile    $12
Expressive notes of red and black berries, with notes of black pepper, chocolate, and tobacco. Nicely balanced body, acidity, and tannins, with a pleasing finish.

Marchetti Montepulciano Rosso Conero Riserva ’14       Italy     $22
Great expressions of the Montepulciano varietal; a  sleek, muscular wine aged 18 months in French oak, and made of only free run juice.  Enticing notes of exotic spice, vanilla, dried cranberry, and dark chocolate.

Wine Tasting