lummi island wine tasting nov 9 ‘18

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Bread Friday this week

Semolina w/ Fennel & Raisins – A levain bread made with bread flour, semolina and some fresh milled whole wheat. A little butter for a tender crumb and fennel seeds and golden raisins round out the flavors, which pair really well with meats and cheese, but it also makes pretty darn good toast! – $5/loaf

Spelt Levain – Spelt is an ancient wheat grain with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and less gluten than modern wheat. This bread is made with a levain, or sourdough, traditional bread flour and about 1/3 spelt flour, fresh milled whole spelt and fresh milled whole rye. – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche Almond Buns – a delicious brioche dough full of butter, milk, eggs, and sugar, rolled out and spread with a rich almond filling before being rolled up and placed in baking forms and baked. Delish! – 2/$5

 

Radman Cab

As you all know we have been away for several weeks, and arrived home tonight on the 5:40 ferry. Though closed the last few Saturdays, the shop has been open on Fridays for Bread and Wine Tasting (an old and Wise tradition dating back Thousands of Years and the excuse for many a Human Gathering), and the shelves are getting Bare. Since this weekend marks the Annual Lummi Island Winter Studio Tour (for a long time held the first weekend in December but the weather was so consistently Inhospitable a few years ago it was moved to the second weekend in November.)  So our choice was to restock via Distributor with uncertain delivery on Friday, or to shop on the way home. We chose the latter, and as a result four of our wines this weekend are from Oregon.

Most are from Chehalem Cellars or Sineann Winery which we visited yesterday. One hit from Sineann was a wine made by rookie winemaker Lisa of Radman Cellars, a cabernet from Red Mountain that will definitely get your attention.

If you browse through the list below you will notice that the wines are on average more expensive than our usual tasting array. All you need to know is that you will pay the same token tasting fee as usual despite the the superior quality of this tasting. These wines may all be a little more $$ than most of us are comfortable with, but hey, days are getting short, nights are getting cold, and every once in a while a little Gratuitous Self-Indulgence is warmly Fulfilling. So come on by and treat yourself to some of the Greater Comforts of our Civilization!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Rollerball Revisited

The Really Good News is that the Rag-Tag remnants of the once-proud Democratic Party have gained a two-year Foothold on Existence. That deserves a long overdue exhalation….Aaahhhhhhhhhhh….! Here we are clipped onto the Sheer Cliff of Corporate Obsolescence with cheap carabiners and rotten footholds, Barely Relevant, but still fighting against inevitable Corporate Control with a naive optimism that Justice will ultimately prevail. What we have gained is a “Well, maybe…!” and that is a Major Improvement over where we have been since the Tweetster Coup.

The more sobering news is that there was no Blue Wave, at best maybe a few Blue Ripples. Many Red States remain gerrymandered several percentage points out of reach for Democrats while also successfully and quietly removing many hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters from voter rolls in their states. The important task for the next two years is to restore balance to our electoral process by: 1) gaining  control of more State Legislatures before the 2020 Census; and 2) restoring voting rights to millions of Democratic voters illegally deprived of their Constitutional Right to vote by being systematically removed from voter registration rolls.

The Great Enemy remains the consolidation of Global Power into fewer and fewer Corporate, Plutocratic Hands. There have not been nationalistic or moral wars for a very long time now. Rather they have been replaced by a global network of Proxy Wars that transcend national and idealogical borders with a common theme of replacing nation-states with corporate states. The metaphorical blueprint for all of this was brilliantly and presciently laid out in the mid-1970’s film Rollerball. Although the video version of the central philosophical scene of the film is no longer available online, the audio version is available here, where actor John Houseman describes to Populist Star Jonathan (played by James Caan) the  Way Things Really Are.

This transcends political parties and even national borders. It is about Supernational Corporate Domination of every aspect of global management. The really scary thing about all of this is that there is so far no evidence that the Bazillionaire Players who are Driving all of this have even the slightest Awareness or Concern for the Fragility of our Planet’s Interdependent Systems or the sustainability of Life itself in an environment dominated by the Quest for Short-term Profit.

This week’s election may be far too little and far too late to make a difference. Or, more hopefully it might provide a Window of Possibility for a Compelling and Desirable Future. An important battle has been won, yes, but while the Orcs and their Dark Lords are still In Power the Age of Humans hangs by a Thread, and at the moment we are our own Worst Enemy.

 

This week’s wine tasting

Chehalem Three Vineyard Rose ‘17     Oregon   91pts   $23
Showcasing strawberry in all its delicious forms, accented by rose petal, gravel and pale spice. A rich palate with bright acid tension lends to subtle notes of pomegranate and dried cherries.

Chahalem  Inox Chardonnay ’16    Oregon   90pts    $19
Fermented and aged sur lie without oak; delivers rich aromas of white and yellow fruits, with bright crisp notes of citrus zest, honey, apple, and spicy minerality on the long, broad finish.

Sineann Pisa Terrace Pinot Noir ’13    Washington/NewZealand     $30
Made in NZ’s Otago region by Sineann winemaker Peter Rosback; full and ripe, with great structure, good natural acidity and subtle, lingering intensity; plum and black cherry flavors are framed by soft tannins and notes of baking spices, dried herbs and fresh earth.

Radman Cellars  Cabernet Sauvignon ’15    Washington    $40
Fruit sourced from Shaw Vineyards in Red Mountain AVA, wine made at Sineann winery. Deep and dark in color, classic nose of black currant, smooth and lingering palate of pruney black currant, gentle but persistent tannins, and long, smooth finish.

Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet  ’15     California       $20
Huge, rich, and opulent, with complex flavors of chocolate, coffee, blackberries, cassis, mint, and velvety tannins. New French oak adds notes of vanilla and toast; concentrated, rich, and smooth on the palate.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting nov 2 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Barley & Rye w/ Pumpkin Seeds- Made with a levain that is fermented  overnight before the final dough is mixed with a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled rye, barley and whole wheat flours. Some buttermilk makes for a tender crumb, honey for sweetness and toasted pumpkin seeds add to the flavor and texture. A really flavorful artisan loaf – $5/loaf

Kamut Levain – Kamut, also known as khorasan wheat, is an ancient grain that has more protein than conventional wheat. Some people who can’t tolerate wheat find kamut to be more digestible. The bread is made with a levain that is fermented overnight before being mixed with with bread flour and fresh milled whole kamut flour. It has a nutty, rich flavor and makes a golden color loaf. – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Croissants! – Made with two preferments, a levain as well as prefermented “old dough” where a portion of the flour, water, salt and yeast is fermented overnight. The final dough is then made with more flour, butter, milk and sugar, laminated with more butter before being cut and shaped into traditional french croissants. – 2/$5

 

Rescued!

(click photos to enlarge)
The main purpose of our present trip was to attend a mini class reunion with some of my closest college mates. We had such a good time last year at our 50th back East that our friend Tim invited us all to his place on a mountain overlooking LA to watch Navy play Notre Dame (game in San Diego, we watching on TV), which as everyone knows, is the longest-running college football rivalry in the country, some 98 years this year.

To get to his house, one drives about 3 miles up a narrow, twisting one-lane road, often with a steep dropoff on one side, with a couple of seriously steep sections. We arrived on a very hot day, near 100°, and were making good progress until we got about halfway up a 17-degree slope, the steepest on the road, and the car just stopped…it did not have the power to get the trailer up that hill, and backing down was, um, Quite Unappealing.

What unfolded was a Welcome Rescue Operation in which Tim brought down his vintage six-wheel-drive Swiss Army Truck, and we hooked a chain from our towing ring (gotta love those Volvo engineers!) to the truck, and up we went! And though we worried the next couple of days about the trip down the hill, trailer and car brakes did their job and descent was tense but uneventful…all in all, a bit more Adventure than we had in mind, but as you can see the expansive view across LA and suburbs was well worth the effort!

 

Birthdays at Bodega Bay

We have mentioned a few times in recent years that a favorite camping spot with our trailer is a small RV park in Bodega Bay, California. The park itself, like many, is well-run and well-maintained, but comparatively speaking, offers no extraordinary amenities in the park itself. Its charm is that it borders on a California State Park and campground, often largely deserted in the off-season, offering few of the water and electric hookups that many of us are looking for these days.

We arrived here yesterday, and are parked next to Mike and Diane, close neighbors on the Island, and whom most of you know from the wine shop. Tomorrow we will leave here and caravan up US 1 toward home, arriving next week sometime.

Tonight we dined at a favorite restaurant nearby that we have mentioned before in this blog, a small and charming little place (Terrapin Creek) that happens to have a Michelin Star to its credit, definitely reflected in the quality of the food and service, but not particularly in the prices. (See previous posts here and here).

Once again we recommend it heartily if you are ever in the area…YUM!

Since our birthdays are about a week apart, (Pat’s a few days ago, mine a few days hence) this was a great opportunity for a celebration at a great little restaurant with dear friends from home!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Verifiable Voting

The long-awaited Midterm Election is just around the corner. Results will be in in less than a week. How much confidence to we have that the results will accurately reflect the Will of the People?

There are many reasons to be skeptical. Until the 2000 Florida debacle in which the Supreme Court selected the President on a legal technicality…a decision later proved contrary to the will of the people of Florida…most of us assumed that our election system was secure and reliable.

In 2004 Ohio was the New Florida, winning W another four years  on questionable election results. Then of course we have the Debacle of 2016, with unprecedented spending by bazillionaire donors, social media infiltration and manipulation by Russian hackers, widespread disenfranchisement of left-leaning voters, and a nonstop slanderous media attack on Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton. No one in their right mind believes even for one second that the Tweetster actually won that election.

So. Here we are on the eve of another National Election. By all accounts a large voter turnout is expected. How confident are we that the results of the election will accurately reflect the preferences of our diverse communities? The answer for most of us these days is “Not Very.”

Which is why, regardless of the outcomes of this particular election, which at present seem unlikely to bolster our confidence, it is in our collective long-term interest to: 1) support non-partisan efforts to make elections secure, accessible to all eligible voters, and verifiable, and 2) do away with partisan gerrymandering at every level of government and have voting districts designed by non-partisan organizations dedicated to fair redistricting.

A good way to support the first goal (verifiable voting) is through the Verified Voting Foundation,  a non-governmental, nonpartisan organization founded in 2003 by David L. Dill, a computer scientist from Stanford University, whose objective is to preserve the democratic process by requiring that voting machines produce a tangible, verifiable paper receipt for each vote. Universal use of the verifiable paper ballot would have gone a long way toward preventing the loss in voter confidence after the 2000, 2004, and 2016 elections.

And the best way to support the second goal (ending gerrymandering) is to support the Campaign Legal Center, which works at all levels of government to support every citizen’s right to vote.

And of course…BE SURE TO VOTE!!!

 

This week’s wine tasting

Chat. Blizard Blanc d’Amour  ’16      France   $14
Grenache blanc, viognier, marsanne, rousanne; complex, fruity fragrances of grapefruit, white peach, lychee and acacia flower. Balanced, ample and suave, with a fresh finish.

Phantom Chardonnay ’17   California   $17
Entices with rich layers of flavor. Green apple and pear transform into spicy notes of freshly baked apple pie, while barrel fermentation imparts a creamy, luscious mouthfeel.

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.

l’Ecuyer de Couronneau Bordeaux Rouge ’15    France    $16
Merlot-dominated it has been made with ‘easy-drinking’ very much in mind, offering a bit of New World ripeness; full bodied with good depth; palate of berries, red fruit, and hints of tobacco in a long finish.

Martoccia Poggio Apricale  ’17    Italy  $14
Sangiovese Grosso with a little Merlot and Cab Franc; Fruity and persistent nose of wild berries and spice. Soft and balanced with fine tannins this Sant’Antimo Rosso works well with any meal!

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 26 ’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 f lour 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

 

War on The Verizon

While generally our trip is going well, there have been a few glitches. First, we find we have bitten off quite a bit more mileage commitment than is comfortable. But, as we tell the dogs, migration is its own reward, and like vacations of all kinds, the whole point is to change your routine enough that you have to pay attention to This Moment, because you can’t rely on Habit to get you through.

One source of Dissonance has been Pat’s new Ipad, bought a few months ago. Our old one was slowing down, not having the same energy it once had, forgetting how to do things it used to do easily…you know, signs of Old Age.

So the new ipad (her old one was a 2012 ipad 2) is faster and more efficient. But unlike the old one, which operated on a month to month contract with Verizon, this one was Bought from a Verizon Store, at an attractive price compared to the Apple Store. Or so we thought. The catch is that it came with a 2-year Contract, which included 2GB of data per month. And all seemed well till we started this trip. Yesterday we found we were out of data already, which is baffling for many reasons. Because we needed the GPS function that being online gave us, we spent hours finding a Verizon store, finding creative ways to reimagine the passwords, pin codes, Apple id’s, and several other arcane numbers that we had to know for Verizon to add data or even acknowledge that we or our machine or our account existed.

The customer service people at Verizon seem to do their best to cope with one’s frustration, but the overwhelming impression is that they are following rote scripts designed to sell us more time and more products rather than respond to our issues. The way the past couple of days have gone, we find ourselves longing for the good old days of pay phones and impossible-to-refold road maps; they were affordable, they worked, and you never had the feeling one gets today of Monster Corporations whipping legions of panting MBA’s to extract every last penny from every last Consumer. But, as I say, it’s been a frustrating couple of days…

 

Mar a Lago Update: You Have Mail!

It seems logical that there should be as many leftist Assassins and rightists. But since the news today about the bomb-threat packages sent by Someone to a dozen or so high-profile Progressives, we are again reminded that it is easier to name left-leaning victims of Assassins that right-leaning ones. Or is it?

To be sure, we have done no official Research on this topic. This is a much more casual philosophical inquiry: how many people around the world can you name who have been assassinated during your lifetime?

Let’s see…in no particular order: JFK, MLK, RFK, Gandhi, Allende, Rabin, John Lennon, all pretty much Lefties. Then you have some Righties, maybe done in by Lefties, but maybe by Further-Righties…Khadafi, Saddam Hussein, there are long lists on both sides.

Either way, they seem the result of deeply held political biases, the Frustration of not Feeling Heard, and the Ongoing Burden of feeling Misused, Abused, Exploited, Ignored, Insulted, and more by the Unfeeling Powers that Be (see above). We all have our own values and the biases that come with them, and many of us pile on with like-minded friends in pillorying leaders and ideas we deplore. As individual citizens we are Free to do that. As so-called Leader of All, the Tweetster’s Job is to represent the Entire Country. But like the Witches in Macbeth, he is Compelled to Stir the Pot, every moment, every day. And it takes an inevitable Toll.

 

This week’s wine tasting

Mer Soleil Unoaked Chardonnay ’15   California    $16
A pure, clean expression of Chardonnay, fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and small concrete tanks. Aromas of flower blossoms and crisp pears, round and layered on the palate, with vibrant acidity and depth.

J Lohr Cypress Merlot ’16    California      $10
Classic varietal aromas of black cherry and plum with subtle hints of oak;  savory red fruit and comforting weight finishes with a touch of chalky tannin.  Seriously over-delivers for its modest price.

Crios Malbec ’17   Argentina      $13
Bright, dark red. Redcurrant, black cherry, ripe strawberry and spices on the nose; sweet red fruit flavors are complicated by earth, licorice and menthol; creamy fruit is firmed by smooth tannins…a terrific value.

Celler Can Blau Can Blau ’16        Spain        $16
Aromas of ripe black and blue fruit with smoky mineral and licorice notes; Seamless texture, with sweet boysenberry, floral pastille and snappy spiciness. Finishes silky and long, with a sneaky tannic grip.

Piaggio  Carmignano Il Sasso ’13    Italy   $29    
Rich, ample and voluptuous, with black cherry, plum, lavender, spice, tobacco and dried herb notes, and int3ense fruit and texture. There is not much subtlety here, just plain gorgeous!.

 

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

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