lummi island wine tasting june 21-22 ’19

NO Friday Breads This Week


Sorry, folks, our Baker is away taking in a few sporting events. She will return with your Weekly Bread next week. Look for your weekly email sometime Sunday!






Summer Solstice

Friday, June 21 is the Summer Solstice, the first day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the  moment this year when the sun is (for just a moment) directly above the Tropic of Cancer, the highest latitude in any year where a viewer on Earth can have the Sun Directly Overhead. Each year the point is different, but always falls (more or less) on the line of latitude at 23° 26′ N, aka the Tropic of Cancer. All of this relative motion occurs because the Earth’s axis is tilted at a constant (more or less) 23.5° from the ecliptic. Can you imagine how weird the world would be if it weren’t tilted? This year Summer Solstice will occur at 8:54 am PST Friday, June 21, about the time many of you might be reading this post!

Spring has been Puffing Out here for several weeks now, and we’re just a few days past the Full Moon, with its characteristic “lowest low” tides. Days will start getting shorter; Sunset will start moving southward a bit each day, and Sunrise will start being a little later.

Our next cosmic “cross-quarter day” will be in six weeks, roughly in early August. It is called Lammas, and celebrates the wheat harvest, as well as the beginning of the descent into winter. Here’s a good story about the holiday.



The Cahors wine region snakes along gravel terraces formed along the meandering Lot River to the west of the very old city of Cahors. The dominant grape in Cahors for centuries has been malbec; it is also grown in Bordeaux, where it is used mostly in blending cabernet and merlot dominant wines. Winemaking in the region dates back to Roman times in 50 BC.

Influenced by both the Atlantic Ocean to the Northwest and the Mediterranean to the south, malbec from Cahors often has a certain rustic character, showing dark color, robust tannins, and flavors of young blackberries, tobacco, coffee, and meat, with a mineral component from the limestone soils, with good tannic  structure and concentration. In Cahors, malbec is called Cot; during the Middle Ages it was called the “black wine” for its deep, purple-ebony hue. Cahors wines must have a minimum of 70% malbec, with the rest either merlot (to soften), or tannat (to sharpen).

In recent decades malbec has been grown very successfully in Argentina and Chile. Malbec from Argentina tends to be more plummy and fruit-forward than Cahors, with a velvety soft texture. In Mendoza, at the foot of the Andes, the grape makes rich, robust wines with brambly black mountain fruit and sweet floral notes. With scarce rain, early summer hail, and a forceful gale called the Zonda, Argentine vines have to dig deep into the alluvial sand and clay soils deposited from millennia of Andean snow melt to make any wine at all.

This week’s tasting includes Clos Triguedina, a nice example of the Cahors style of malbec; come check it out!



Mar a Lago Update: Malignant Normality

Recently a panel of top mental health experts, led by Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee, after detailed analysis of the voluminous documentation of the Tweetster’s behavior in the Mueller Report, has unanimously found that the Tweetster “ is mentally unfit, a threat to the United States and the world, and as such should have his powers severely restricted.”

In the foreward to Dr. Lee’s latest book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, renowned psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton used the phrase “Malignant Normality” to describe the resigned acceptance people experience after long enough exposure to the wrong, destructive and pathological behavior of others around them. It can happen in families and groups of all sizes, up to whole nations. In a recent interview, Lifton discusses the panel’s decision that the so-called Goldwater Rule was secondary to their Duty to Warn about patients who represent a Danger to Self or Others.

Malignant Normality was magnificently illustrated in comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s show last night featuring the Tweetster’s opening Campaign speech in Florida, in which he made a long series of false statements (you know, “Lies”) about his accomplishments in office. Kimmel than goes on to point out that every single claim  was a Conspicuous Lie, yet still his fans cheer. Apparently it all sounds good in the Great State of Malignant Normality.

Another sign: as nearly as we can tell, the New York Times stopped counting the Tweetster’s Daily Lies at 10,000 a little over a month ago. Let’s see…10,000 lies in 30 months…about 11 lies a day on average. Now consider the Hell that has generally broken out when Any Other Politician has been caught in even One Lie… and then ask yourself, “What is Wrong with this Picture?”

We are reminded of an old cartoon, in which an Elderly Man (always dear to our hearts!) sits on a park bench dispensing bread crumbs to a Pigeon. However it is clear in the cartoon that the “Pigeon” is a very thinly disguised Human Person pretending to be a Pigeon. A passerby is leaning over and saying to the Crumb Giver, “Sir…that person is making a Fool of you.”

Back then the natural assumption would be that the Crumb Giver would Snap Out of It and stop throwing crumbs. But under the Malignant Normality of our Time, the Crumb Giver would just double down and throw more crumbs to the Fake Bird. Pretty Scary.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19


This week’s wine tasting

San Martino Prosecco    Italy     $11
Pale straw yellow in colour, aromatic and elegant nose (unusual in prosecco), with notes of apple and banana; pleasantly full and harmonious on the palate.

Domaine de l’Amauve La Daurèle, CdR Villages Séguret ’17      France       $18
Grenache blanc, clairette, viognier, & ugni blanc; expressive nose of white fruits, mirabelle plum, and acacia honey; soft on the palate with lively citrus flavors…very Food Versatile!

Goose Ridge g3 Red ’16     Washington    $15
Syrah-cab-merlot blend; supple ripe plum and blackberry notes with hints of spice, vanilla, black currant and Bing cherry. Nicely balanced with a lush, round mouth and a long, lingering finish.

Garnacha de Fuego ’14   Spain      $11
As usual, loads of fruit with strawberry and black cherry notes intermixed with licorice and earth, and great purity and richness for this price point.

Triguedina Clos Triguedina ’11     France        $19  
Superb ruby red with some purplish glints. Black and red fruits, a peppermint note. Well balanced and concentrated, with ripe and supple tannins for a rich, solid, well balanced wine that well expresses the minerality of Cahors Malbec.








Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 14-15 ’19

Friday Breads This Week

Levain w/ Dried Cherries and Pecans – Begins with a levain starter the night before final mixing of the dough; the final dough for this bread is made with comnbines the levain, bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat with dried cherries and toasted pecans. A nice rustic loaf that goes well with meats and cheese – $5/loaf

Pan de Cioccolate – A delicious chocolate artisan bread made with bread flour and fresh milled rye flour, honey for sweetness, vanilla and dark chocolate. Makes fabulous toast, even better french toast, or maybe peanut butter toast! Let your imagination go wild – $5/loaf.

…and pastry this week— should go particularly well with the season’s fresh berries

Brioche Tarts au Sucre – aka brioche sugar tarts. A rich brioche dough full of eggs and butter, rolled into a round tart and topped with more eggs, cream, butter and sugar. – 2/$5



World’s Best Canned Tuna!

Pretty much everyone on Lummi Island (maybe a thousand year-round, maybe two thousand in the summer) knows, respects, reveres, and salivates at the name “Lummi Island Wild.” People from Elsewhere have most likely Never Heard of neither it nor of  Reefnet Fishing, an ancient method developed by the Salish People of this region a Long, Long Time Ago. The technique found favor with immigrants to the Pacific Northwest beginning about a hundred years ago, and persists today in only a few places around the world, most famously right here on Lummi Island.   see photo

Earlier this week, in preparation for a brief visit from Old Friends, and in search of local Gourmet Delights, we stopped at Lummi Island Wild on the way into Bellingham and, and learned several Good Things we would like to share with You Our Faithful Followers.

Of particular interest are the facts that 1) LIW has been canning some of the Best Albacore Tuna on the Planet for several years now (how could we Not Know This???); 2) YOU can now BUY THIS TUNA right here in the wine shop for their regular (and well worth it) price of $7.50 per 6 oz. can; and 3) they also sell (sadly we can’t without a proper freezer) 6 oz. frozen fillets of Reefnet Wild Sockeye Salmon, which we bought and grilled simply for our friends two days ago, and All Agreed it was easily the Best Salmon We Had Ever Tasted, largely due to its Supernaturally High Fat Content.

The Bottom Line here is that we Now Carry the Lummi Island Wild canned Albacore Tuna, well worth keeping At Ready in the Pantry for those last-minute Food Emergencies that so often arise…! As we yoos-ta say in Maine, “My Gawd it’s Good!”


Pic St. Loup

We confess a certain infatuation with the little wine region of Pic St. Loup, a short distance north from the French Mediterranean city of Montpellier. The “Pic” is a 640-meter “Tooth” of Rock that dominates the French landscape for miles in every direction. At some mythic level, there is a Powerful Energy here, as if there is something in the soil composition that makes gravity a little stronger, or the ancient gods of the place Still Rule Deep Under the Mountain. It’s Tangible; you can Feel It.

The wines from this place, which must be predominantly syrah, grenache, and mourvedre (as in nearby Southern Rhone) have a certain gravitas. The vines must be at least six years old (not three) before being harvested for making red wine, but make excellent rosé. The climate tends to be cooler and wetter than elsewhere in Languedoc, which stretches in a band along the Mediterranean, while Pic St. Loup is open to more of the Atlantic climate from the north and west. This combination of soils and weather, along with whatever Magic is sown by the energy of the Pic itself, makes for wines that have an esoteric je ne sais quoi appeal that goes beyond notions of terroir in the direction of something more Profound, archetypal, or, for lack of a better term, “Spiritual.”

And yes, this is all a big Metaphor to describe my own personal affection for wines from this appellation. As always, of course, it is up to you to make up your own mind!


Mar a Lago Update: Polarization Check

In late 1952 I turned seven years old. Several months earlier (June) my older sister and I had been sort of ‘kidnapped’ from Maine by our recently estranged Father. Our parents were, as it turns out,  splitting up their marriage, though even they wouldn’t realize it for some many months.

For half a year we lived with our grandparents in Hartford, Connecticut in a pleasant 3-story Row House with our War Hero-Body Builder Uncle Joe and his son (our cousin); and our Uncle Frank, his wife Our Aunt, and their two sons (More Cousins) .  It was the first time we had seen Television and the first time we had encountered Political Campaigning. I remember Panel Trucks with Loudspeakers on top driving through the neighborhood broadcasting Slogans and bearing signs “I Like Ike!”

As a six-year old, I had no idea what an “Ike” was, but I got the notion from what I heard that he was the Good Guy and the Five o’clock Shadowed Stevenson (remember it was black and white TV days) was the Bad Guy. But Now I wonder: so was this the Beginning of Polarization?

Politics remained more or less in the Great Background and it seemed about Personalities…this time the beard-shadowed Nixon vs. the stylish JFK. And then there was major cultural polarization over the Vietnam War– the heart-breaking tragedies of 1968, and then Nixon-Agnew’s Silent Majority vs. the Hippies and the War Protesters until Agnew’s conviction and Nixon’s resignation. The Nixon years laid the Foundation for our present Dystopia with the consolidation of power under Reagan and Bush. The Eighties became the Decade of the Bottom Line, the Nineties the Decade of Vapid Pragmatism, the Aughts the Decade Republican Secession, and the Teens the Decade of Autocratic Consolidation.

The last fifty years tell a story of deliberate undermining of Truth, deliberate polarization of Americans into distrustful and pliable blocks, and consistent efforts to distract attention from the consolidation of power and wealth into fewer and fewer hands. All of this has brought us to the brink of a Global Dystopian Apocalypse by crippling historical mechanisms for collaboration and compromise on the essential business of harmonizing human activity with the physical and social constraints of our tiny and vulnerable planet. Or, more succinctly, as one dear friend put it a few years ago, “Things are getting Worse faster than we are getting Older.”

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19


This week’s wine tasting

Idilico Albariño ’17     Washington    $14
Stainless steel fermentation and aging with moderate lees contact for four months. Shows notes of citrus and tropical fruit followed by luscious, crisp and refreshing flavors. Drink anytime the sun shines.

Chat. Lancyre Pic St. Loup Rosé ’18      France       $14
Raspberry and pear aromas on the nose, with distinctive spicy, minty garrigue notes. Big, bold and firm on the palate, ending with a long, clean finish.

Tenuta Rubino Oltreme Susamaniello ’16       Italy      $14
Fresh, fragrant notes of cherries, pomegranate, raspberries and hints of ripe plum; fruity, minerally, and round on the palate with soft, pleasant tannins, a versatile and seductive pairing with richer dishes.

Can Blau Can Blau ’16      Spain     $16
Long a favorite; always shows aromas and flavors of ripe, dark fruits and berries, a seamless texture, and long, silky finish. Generally improves with lots of aeration.

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








Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 7-8 ’19

Friday Breads This Week

Poolish Ale – Tthe preferment here is a poolish, made with bread flour, a bit of yeast and a nice ale beer for the liquid and fermented overnight. Mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. This makes a great all around bread with a nice crisp crust – $5/loaf

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – a flavorful artisan bread made with a poolish, fresh milled buckwheat and bread flour. Buckwheat is not a grain it is actually a seed and closer in the plant family to rhubarb and sorrel than to wheat and contains no gluten. Though this bread is not gluten free as it is also includes bread flour made from wheat. Buckwheat has an earthy flavor that in this bread is balanced with a little honey. Some toasted walnuts add a nice crunch. – $5/loaf

Traditional Croissants – Made with two preferments; 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



Nice Wine, Nice Bottle

villasparina_bottleGavi is a famous white wine region in Piedmont, Italy, surrounding the city of the same name, hence the wine is called “Gavi di Gavi.” Since the 17th century, Cortese has been the grape behind the Gavi di Gavi. It is mostly grown around the city of Alessandria and the Monferrato hills, and is known for its bracing acidity and ability to retain freshness, even when grown in hot environments. Apple, peach and honeydew flavors are commonly associated with it, often showing lime, almond, and light herbal or grassy aromas.The wines are best enjoyed young and  go well with Asiago and Parmesan cheeses and seafood.

Cortese has been grown in the southeastern part of Piedmont for centuries, as mentioned in documents that date back to the beginning of the 17th Century. It has long been considered Piedmont’s finest white variety and is often credited as introducing the world to Italian white wine. Nowadays, however, it faces growing competition from Arneis (which we poured for you a few weeks ago), and Moscato d’Asti.

And as if that weren’t enough, the wine comes in a lovely bottle designed to mimic the blown-glass bottles used in the region hundreds of years ago!


Mar a Lago Update: The Finger Pointing at the Moon

There is an old Teaching: “Do not mistake the Finger pointing at the Moon for the Moon Itself.” Its message is a Warning to remember that the Idea of Anything is  is not the Actuality. Ideas are best when taken with a few grains of salt. The Moon is the Moon. A Finger is a Finger. Mind is a Metaphorical Soup, or perhaps an inspiration for a drawing.

We human beings are fond of labels. When we Name something, there is a sense of mental relaxation in reaching a conclusion, and thus being liberated from the tension of wondering and not knowing. Modern News Media use the power of this tension to keep us engaged and tuned in to an endless parade of things we ought to worry about and Follow lest we should Miss Something.

For some many weeks now there has been a concerted effort across the news media to get a Democratic member of the House of Representatives to put an Official Impeachment Label on their various investigations. It is obviously a political Hot Button. Naming it an Impeachment Inquiry would open the Floodgates of “See?? It’s a Witch Hunt, folks, a Witch Hunt…just more Fake News…!”

At the same time numerous Federal and State level investigations into the Administration could have major implications for the ongoing investigations in Congress. Just yesterday Speaker Pelosi was quoted as saying in a closed meeting that she didn’t want to see the Tweetster impeached; she wants to see him in Jail. Well, we just want to see him Gone. Since Impeachment is likely a futile or even counterproductive endeavor, it makes sense to follow each of Mueller’s breadcrumbs where it may lead, while continuing every effort to keep the House and send the Tweetster and Dark Lord McConnell back to Mordor where they belong.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19


This week’s wine tasting

Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi ’13 Italy $17
Bright golden color. Scent of overripe pears, spices, citrus fruit and aromatic herbs; Well balanced notes of honey and butter; full-bodied and savory. And a wine bottle worth saving!

Bargemone Provence Rose ’18  France    $14
Beautiful pale pink. Bright, mineral-dusted aromas of pink grapefruit and dried red berries. Light and racy on the palate, with tangy citrus and redcurrant flavors. Finishes brisk and dry, with good lingering spiciness and length.

Carmen Carmenere ’17     Chile     $16
Aromas of fresh berries, baking spices and chocolate get this wine going; full bodied yet balanced, with toasty black fruit flavors with grip and intensity; full bodied yet balanced, with blackberry, herbal plum and spices.

Robert Ramsay Mason’s Red ’17   Washington  $17
Easy-drinking cinsault-dominant Rhone blend; subtle nose of black cherry paste with a hint of cinnamon spice that expands on the palate to a soft anise finish.

Flaneur Pinot Noir  ’17    Oregon    $28
Sharply etched berry and cherry fruit flavors, with a hint of brown sugar. Light citrus acidity underlies an astringent finish, which builds interest with hints of cherry tobacco and cola.








Wine Tasting

lummi island wine june 1 ’19

Quick note

Thursday night we were camped out of internet range and were unable to publish our weekly blog to reach you on Friday morning as usual. We got home today (Friday) just as Janice was arriving to open the wine shop for Friday Bread pickup at 4pm.

This post is to let you all know that the wine shop WILL be Open Saturday June 1 from 2-6 as usual. This week’s wines (see below) drew lots of positive comments tonight…we hope you will all find time to drop by and try them on Saturday!


This week’s wine tasting

La Torretta Chardonnay ‘17      Italy      $11
Fresh, crisp and bright on the palate with bracing notes of minerality; nose of golden apples and hint of honey. Harmonious and well balanced.

Bieler Rosé ’17      France     $17
Grenache-Syrah blend; soft and bright, with plenty of red-berry and currant flavors. Its fruitiness and balanced acidity make for an immediately attractive, easy wine.

La Torretta Pinot Noir ‘16         Italy      $12
Ruby red color. Medium bodied. Complex aromas and flavors of violets, strawberries, raspberries and vanilla. Soft velvety texture.

Capcanes Mas Donis Old Vines ‘15       Spain       $12
Velvety mouthfeel and texture; wild red and black berry flavors, with cherry, spices and herbs; medium to full-bodied with soft and velvet tannins and nicely refreshing finish.

Corte Volponi Ripasso ’15     Italy    $21
A classic ripasso, with rich nose and flavors, good tannic backbone, and a great pairing for rich Italian fare.

Wine Tasting