lummi island wine tasting april 20 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Pain au Levain – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat and rye flours. After building the sourdough and mixing the final dough it gets a long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator. This really allows the flavor to develop in this bread. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Cinnamon Raisin – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat as well as rolled oats. Some honey for sweetness, a little milk for a tender crumb and loaded with raisins and a healthy dose of cinnamon. This is not a rich sweet bread with a swirl of cinnamon sugar, the cinnamon is mixed in and to flavor the entire bread and it is a hearty rustic loaf. Great for breakfast toast, even better for french toast – $5/loaf

And pastry this week…

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with plenty of butter, eggs and sugar, rolled out and spread with pastry cream before sprinkling with dark chocolate. The dough is folded over all that delicious filling and cut into individual pieces. As with all pastry quantities are limited so if you want these delightful pastries be sure and get your order in early. 2/$5

Concert This Weekend!

Our Spring Concert with singer-songwriter-minstrel Robert Sarazin Blake is filling up but there are still a few spaces left:  from 4-6 pm this Sunday, April 22 in the wine shop!

As Robert’s many local followers know, he is a modern-day troubadour who travels widely (mostly here in the Pacific Northwest and in Ireland) to share his craft, very often in pub atmospheres like our dear wine shop. And to all venues he brings his sonorous voice, open heart, wry humor, and engaging songs to weave a web of well-being around you. For those of you who have not attended any of our concerts, know that our little shop is a great venue for Robert’s style, which is is always engaging and energizing.

Suggested performance donation is a modest $15 per person, and a selection of wines will be available by the glass. And since space is very limited, please confirm reservations soon!
Learn more about Robert’s music here.

 

April Flowers

Just down the street is a beautiful flowering plum tree (or is it cherry?) that has grown into a bonsai-like shape next to the road. Each year around this time it Puffs Out. rich with Blossoms, perfect in its Leggy Asymmetry. It has become an annual Icon of Spring, buds slowly taking shape, and then over a day or two Bursting into Full Bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up close each blossom shows its own personality…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further along on the same walk
On a well-work path
We find this array of mushrooms,
More little Miracles,
Graceful Parasols in the Afternoon Sun.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: A Few More Stops at WTF Station

Some while back we mused about the Parallels between the Tweetster’s “Government” and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. You will recall that Time had marooned the Hatter, the March Hare, and Dormouse in an Eternal Teatime where although Chaos and Contradiction are the ruling principles, one is tantalized to suspect that some mostly incomprehensible sense of order might still exist if only we could grasp it.

In recent days the  world has presented us with a series of neck-snapping, double-taking, “are you kidding me” moments in which whatever Shreds of Reality we have been clinging to for the past year have been crumbling like Graham Crackers in Hot Cocoa, a kind of soupy, Irretrievable Mess of Goo.

These scenes include the Tweetster’s “lawyer” Michael Cohen linked to  Tweetsqueteer Sean Hannity of Fox News; a growing trail of bizarre “business expenses” rung up by EPA head Scott Pruitt, like Teams of Bodyguards to accompany him Everywhere; the Appearance of Stormy Daniels and her Lawyer just about Everywhere, like Surreal Punctuation Marks around everything the Tweetster does; the Release and Feeding Frenzy around ex-FBI Director James Comey’s new book, its Meaning, and the Tweetstorm it has evoked, and of course, the promised International Date between the Trumpster and North Korea’s Un-er.

Like the Hatter’s Tea Party, and like the Twilight Zone, different Rules are in play here, and No One Can Guess what will happen next. Our Hope: that the Tweetster and the Un-er meet and Get Along to the point that they decide to Swap Haircuts and Costumes, you know, for a day or so. Maybe do a few Skits together, or a little dance routine. Yes, we’d all think, “Are they Cute or What…?”

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This week’s wine tasting

Joel Gott Gruner Veltliner ’15     Washington     $14
Aromas of apple, Asian pear, and Meyer lemon with a hint of white pepper. On the front of the palate, citrus and tart green apple flavors are followed by crisp minerality on the mid-palate, and a bright, refreshing finish.

Dom.  Fontsainte Gris de Gris Rose  ’17     France    $16
Crystalline salmon color with amethyst tints; aromas of raspberry, cherry, and freshly picked strawberries, followed by exotic aromas of pineapple and mango. On the palate, direct and fresh as the density and richness of the fruit mingle with superb acidity. Stunningly balanced.

Monte Tondo Veneto Corvina ’16     Italy   $12
Ruby red colour; bright lively nose with fresh cherry, black berry and black pepper hints; medium-bodied with moderate acidity and supple, well-integrated tannin – well balanced, dark fruit core with cherry, dark chocolate and spicy notes. moderate length with a smooth, seductive finish and a spicy aftertaste.

Chateau de Cabriac Corbieres ’14    France     $14
Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Grenache; aromas of black berry fruits; palate shows blackcurrant, blackberry and hints of coffee. The flavors continue to develop to a dense and powerful finish.

Clos La Coutale Cahors ’15 France $16
Amalaya vineyards sit a mile above sea level in the Andes where extreme conditions stress the sustainably farmed vines, delivering fruit of intense flavor of rich red fruits and a hint of spice with soft, approachable tannins.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting april 13 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Spelt Levain – Spelt is an ancient wheat grain with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and milder 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. It is a great all around bread – $5/loaf

Sweet Corn & Dried Cranberry – Made with polenta and bread flour, then enriched with milk, butter and honey for a soft and tender crumb, then loaded up with dried cranberries. Has great corn flavor but is not a traditional quick cornbread. – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…(oh boy, oh boy…)

Bear Claws! – Made with a danish pastry dough rich in cream, eggs, sugar and butter. The dough is rolled out and spread with a filing made with almond paste, powdered sugar, egg whites and just a bit of cinnamon to round out the flavor. Then, because bears love honey, topped with a honey glaze after baking. – 2/$5

 

Sunday Concert April 22!

The Countdown continues! Our Spring Concert with singer-songwriter-minstrel Robert Sarazin Blake! This year’s concert will be from 4-6 pm on Sunday, April 22 in the wine shop!

As Robert’s many local followers know, he is a modern-day troubadour who travels widely (mostly here in the Pacific Northwest and in Ireland) to share his craft, very often in pub atmospheres like our dear wine shop. And to all venues he brings his sonorous voice, open heart, wry humor, and engaging songs to weave a web of well-being around you. For those of you who have not attended any of our concerts, know that our little shop is a great venue for Robert’s style, which is is always engaging and energizing.

Suggested performance donation is a modest $15 per person, and a selection of wines will be available by the glass. And since space is very limited, please confirm reservations soon!
Learn more about Robert’s music here.

 

Montes

Chile’s Colchagua Valley is something like California’s Central Coast, boasting a perfect wine-growing climate, with semi-arid conditions much of the year, and lots of hot days moderated each night by cool ocean breezes. The steep slopes of the coastal mountains provide provide granitic soils and perfect sun exposure, and rains have deposited layers of silt and clay that add character to the wines.

The Colchagua Valley viticultural area stretches about seventy miles from Chile’s coastal hills south of Santiago eastward toward the foothills of the Andes. Its latitude mirrors California’s Central Coast wine region, and it produces many of the same varietals, including cabernet, merlot, and malbec, as well as carmenere, its “own” Bordeaux varietal that was thought extinct until recently found thriving in Chile.

This weekend we are pouring two merlots, one from Chile’s Colchagua Valley, and one from the California Central Coast. which enjoy similar climates. Should be interesting!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Rats and Sinking Ships, cont’d

Almost exactly a year ago we commented on the ouster of Michael Flynn, the first Eyebrow-raising Casualty at the Tweetster Corral, and we linked to a cartoon that invoked the metaphor of Rats leaving a Sinking Ship. That now seems Downright Prophetic, except of course that now the Rats aren’t Jumping so much as Being Thrown into the water.

One noteworthy Exception to this rule is House Speaker Ryan, (and a few Senators eying the White House for Themselves) who just announced he will not seek House reelection in 2018. And this comes at a time when 40 other Republican House members have also declared their intention not to run again…like Whoa, talk about Rats hitting the Life Rafts...! In that light it was something of a Comfort to read Paul Krugman’s column this morning, where he Pulled No Punches in listing the many reasons why he has always considered Mr. Ryan a Con Artist, Flim-Flam Man, and a Fraud. Not praiseworthy observations.

Still, Ryan is an ambitious guy, and you have to wonder what the longer term game plan is. He is Ambitious and Self-Anointed, and we have long thought he Has Had His Eye on the White House for himself. So, with So Many Rats going Over the Side, and water starting to Slosh Ominously in the Bilges, maybe the Speakster is beginning his Move, spreading Mutiny in the Fo’c’sle. Arrrrr, who Knows, maybe he can yet get the Crew to Rebel, cast the Tweetster and the Penster to the Sharks, and Take Control of the Bridge. Some of us thinks they already be makin’ their Move…!

 

This week’s wine tasting

Domaine Girard Chardonnay ’16   France $13
Medium- bodied with fleshy notes of fresh-picked apples and pears; no oak, but spends time on the lees to give it richness; clay soils at a higher elevation impart a delightful freshness.

Montes Classic Merlot ’15    Chile     $13
Bright and complex, with blackcurrant and black cherry flavours and a rich, juicy finish. Aged in oak for six months before release.

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.

Clos St. George Chevaliere ’08    France    $14
Dark and rich, with notes of cherry, plum, and fig with a hint of spice; complex and round, and  full bodied on the palate with fully developed tannins; a great value red.

Clos La Coutale Cahors ’15      France    $16
80% Malbec and 20% Merlot, creating an intense wine that juggles elegant rusticity with everyday drinkability, with rich, dark notes of blackberry paste, coffee, and slate.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting april 6 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Honey, Wheat, Lemon & Poppy seeds – Made with a poolish that ferments some of the flour, yeast and water, but none of the salt, overnight. This results in a very active pre-ferment which is mixed the next day with the final ingredients which includes a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Some honey, poppy seeds and freshly grated lemon peel round out the flavors in this loaf. A great all around bread – $5/loaf.

Sonnenblumenbrot – aka Sunflower Seed Bread Made with a pre-ferment before mixing the final dough of bread flour and freshly milled rye, then loaded up with toasted sunflower seeds and some barley malt syrup for sweetness. This is a typical german seed bread- $5/loaf

And for pastry this week… If you want pastry this week you have to show up at the Grange on Saturday morning to help out with the Annual Island Cleanup! There will be a great selection of muffins, scones, brioche and bostock (you’ll have to look that one up!). Show up early, have a cup of coffee and pastry, meet your neighbors then go out and give our island home a spring spruce up!

Sunday Concert April 22!

It’s become an annual Event: our Spring Concert with singer-songwriter-minstrel Robert Sarazin Blake! This year’s concert will be from 4-6 pm on Sunday, April 22 in the wine shop!

As Robert’s many local followers know, he is a modern-day troubadour who travels widely (mostly here in the Pacific Northwest and in Ireland) to share his craft, very often in pub atmospheres like our dear wine shop. Robert has visited the shop several times in the last few years, and we have grown fond of his engaging style. For those of you who have not attended any of our concerts, know that our little shop is a great venue for acoustic music, and Robert’s performances are always engaging and energizing.

Suggested performance donation is a modest $15 per person, and a selection of wines will be available by the glass. And since space is very limited, please confirm reservations asap!
Learn more about Robert’s music here.

 

Ripasso

Amarone is a delicious Italian wine made primarily from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, the same grapes as Valpolicella, the dominant red wine of the Veneto region. The thick-skinned corvina varietal is central to the apassamiento process by which amarone is made, beginning with 100 days of drying the best grapes before pressing them. After pressing, the dried grape skins remain in contact with the juice through fermentation. However, because the sugars are so concentrated in the raisined grapes, the skins are removed from contact with the wine while they still contain plenty of sugar. The amarone-to-be is then left to age in barrels for several years before bottling.

Meanwhile, the rest of the harvest goes through fermentation without drying the grapes, to make the wine known as valpolicella. It is inexpensive, tasty, and table-oriented. However, because there is still a lot of flavor, sugar, and character in the must from making the amarone, selected valpolicella from the harvest is allowed to sit on the lees left from making amarone and allowed to go through a second fermentation. This ripasso process results in a red wine that is somewhere between valpolicella and amarone in its weight, complexity, and nuance. Under the rules of the region, wineries may only make up to twice as much ripasso as they do amarone in a given harvest.

This week we are pouring a distinctive ripasso from the portfolio of our friends as Small Vineyards. See notes below.

Lummi Island Spring Cleanup

Here it is again, folks, the annual Spring Cleanup. Sure, it’s a Tradition, when we all turn out to patrol a section of roadway and pick up a year’s worth of accumulated debris. Though the roads all look pretty good if we don’t look too closely, it is always surprising how many scraps of paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, and who-knows-what get loaded into bags and then into volunteer pickup trucks for collection and disposal.

As noted above, there is NO PASTRY this week for Bread Friday, because instead Janice is baking a great selection of muffins, scones, brioche and bostock (you’ll have to look that one up!) to lift the spirits of our Stalwart Volunteers as we head out into the Elements to do out Community Duty for an hour or so. Then, as if that were not enough, we all go back to the Grange for a Hearty Lunch. YUM!

Click for More info

 

Mar a Lago Update: Honor, Truth, and Virtue

We are all familiar with the legendary story of young George Washington’s Honor in admitting to his father that he had damaged the mythical Cherry Tree with his new hatchet. This famous myth was invented by itinerant minister and bookseller named Mason Locke Weems, who wrote and published a biography of Washington in 1800, shortly after Washington’s death. Weems saw an opportunity not only to capitalize on the public’s interest in Washington, but also to iconify Washington as a a Role Model for Virtue worthy of our Admiration. Given the persistence of the Legend, he was incredibly successful. But these days the ideas of Truth, Honor, and Virtue have become Quaint, Outdated Luxuries which are readily compromised for political gain.

The respected economist Joan Robinson wrote (with, imho, great insight), “any economic system requires a set of rules, an ideology to justify them, and a conscience in the individual…to carry them out.” Of course she wasn’t just talking about economic systems, but rather of the whole complex of economic, political, cultural, and social systems that define each society. And it makes perfect sense…how could a society Survive without such a Structure?

The Really Scary thing is that Today’s world, or maybe just Today’s America, doesn’t seem to have ANY of these essential elements. There is certainly no Unifying Ideology, no Common Vision shared by the Right and Left Mainstreams, who increasingly see each other as Enemies. Indeed, it has gotten So Extreme that The Utopia each side Yearns to Realize is the Dystopia the other side Most Despises, and that doesn’t make any sense at all unless we are operating on at least two completely different sets of Facts.

Primates in general, and humans in particular, have many characteristics of both herd animals and predators. Some people favor one set over the other. Some humans are more concerned with herd survival and well-being than with status, control, and power, and some are exactly the opposite. Both traits have been useful, in different ways for our survival as a species. The world we see around us today suggests that the ego-urgency of the Dominant Male may be becoming more of a Liability than an Asset in our long-term survival as a species.

 

This week’s wine tasting

For a Song Chardonnay ’15      Washington      $10
Apple blossom and citrus aromas; broad, flavorful palate of quince, lemon custard, lime, and honey-tinged mineral notes; bracing acidity.

La Mijane Arpege ’13    France    $14
Grenache/merlot blend; nose of blueberries and chocolate, flavors of black fruits and toast, full on the palate with lingering finish.

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.

Antonio Sanguineti Nessun Dorma Toscana ’15    Italy    $15
Super-Tuscan blend of sangiovese, cab, and merlot, with notes of black currant and cherry, and spicy chocolate. Rich and spicy on the palate, the red fruit comes on strong in the middle, with chocolate rounding out the finish.

Lonardi Valpolicello Ripasso Classico Superiore  ’14    Italy    $19
Valpolicella becomes Ripasso when pressed through the raisined skins used for Amarone, adding complex aromatics and flavors to the wine, in this case lush cranberry notes with chocolate.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting march 30 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Prairie Bread – Named for the goodness of the grains that grow on the prairie:  bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat, oats, and cornmeal,  loaded up with poppy, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with just a hint of brown sugar. – $5/loaf

Le Pave d’autrefois – Which translates roughly as “old paving stones.” This is a ciabatta like bread which has a lot of hydration so it isn’t really shaped so much as simply divided into approximate squares – hence the paving stones name. Made with a mix of bread flour as well as fresh milled whole wheat, rye and buckwheat flours for a lot of hearty whole grain goodness. A great artisan bread. -$5/paving stone

And pastry this week…a traditional Easter bread…

Columba di Pasqua- (aka Easter Dove) A traditional Italian Easter cake similar to Christmas panettone. Made with a sweet italian levain, flour and plenty of eggs, sugar and butter plus candied orange peel. Topped with a crunchy almond and hazelnut glaze and pearl sugar before baking in a dove shaped baking form. – $5/loaf

Sunday Concert April 22!

It’s become an annual Event: our Spring Concert with singer-songwriter-minstrel Robert Sarazin Blake! This year’s concert will be from 4-6 pm on Sunday, April 22 in the wine shop!

As Robert’s many local followers know, he is a modern-day troubadour who travels widely (mostly here in the Pacific Northwest and in Ireland) to share his craft, very often in pub atmospheres like our dear wine shop. Robert has visited the shop several times in the last few years, and we have grown fond of his engaging style. For those of you who have not attended any of our concerts, know that our little shop is a great venue for acoustic music, and Robert’s performances are always engaging and energizing.

Suggested performance donation is a modest $15 per person, and a selection of wines will be available by the glass. And since space is very limited, please confirm reservations asap!
Learn more about Robert’s music here.

T@da finds new home

Well, it would probably take one o’ Robert’s complicated ballads to describe our mixed feelings about it, but we have accepted an offer on our Darling Trailer, and she will soon have a new home…and Be a new home as well.

One of  the compelling aspects of travel of all sorts is that every day is filled with unique experiences, not like the day before, not like the day after. Everything is new and memorable, creating new sets of experiences that keep us attentive to the moment and free from our usual habits. This is what re-creation is all about, getting out of familiar patterns and attending to new and different experiences for awhile. Always Good Medicine, and Highly Recommended! We wish her new owners lots of great adventures!

Moulin a Vent Beaujolais

Moulin-a-Vent is one of the most noteworthy of the ten Beaujolais crus, located in the very north of the Beaujolais region,. Its wines are some of the most concentrated and tannic of the region, often developing spicy and earthy characteristics as they age.

The wines from Moulin a Vent are strongly influenced by pink granite and veins of manganese in the soil, which retards growth of both leaves and fruit.  As a result, Moulin a Vent produces smaller yields of high concentration that tend to be more structured, ageable, and intensely flavored than other Beaujolais crus.

We confess a lack of experience with gamay noir in general, so are happy to have found this interesting wine on a closeout from one of our distributors. Gamay is its own thing, not like Bordeaux grapes (cab, cab franc, merlot, malbec), not like Rhone (grenache, syrah, mourvedre), not like Burgundy (pinot noir). We hope you will come by and try it!

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Art of Propaganda 

The recent Serial Firings of top Cabinet officials has ratcheted up the Political Chaos Level to new heights: FBI, CIA, and National Security advisors are all Gone (looks even more Creepy when you write them in a list!), along with the VA director, all replaced with Hawkish Tweetster Loyalists. The only sane one in the picture these days seems to be our Defense Secretary; probably time to start wondering where is the Tweetster gonna find another Douglas MacArthur to replace him…? You know, the one who will cry, as Randy Newman sings it, “They All Hate us Anyhow…so Let’s Drop the Big One Now…!”

This particular Chaos does seem to slide measurably toward a more Chilling kind of Psychopathy. Maybe it’s Part of the Act: the Flexing, the Preening, the Parading, the Posturing. Or maybe it’s the leadup to the Tweetster’s Reichstag Moment, a phony crisis of such magnitude that he must impose Martial Law Immediately until we figure it out. Or maybe it’s about Making Side Deals with the Other Players so they can all get Richer.

Fact is, we Don’t Know; as with the Mueller investigation, all inquiries become Targets in themselves. But it is beginning to come into focus that the Tweets, the Lies, the Bluster, the Inconsistencies and the Contradictions are all part of a recognizable style of Propaganda first outlined in great detail by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf:

“Propaganda must… present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side and confined to a few bare essentials…slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”  more

 

This week’s wine tasting

Montinore Borealis White   Oregon   $12
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.

Dom. Belair Moulin a Vent Beaujolais ’15   France   $19
Perfumed and rich in tannins and generous, ripe black fruits. Aged nine months in wood, it shows hints of caramel and spice that adds extra dimension. It is juicy, ripe and needs to age further.

Chateau Mayne-Vieil Cuvee Alienor  ’15     France     $15
Old vines merlot; serious and sumptuous with perfumed fruits and firm tannins that will soften with age into dark blackberry and generous structure.

Pasanau Ceps Nous Garnacha ’14    Spain     $14
Ripe dark berries, licorice and a hint of smokiness on the perfumed nose. Plush, round and open-knit; a peppery note adds lift to warm blackberry, bitter cherry and licorice flavors. Focused and youthfully tannic.

Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz ’16   Australia   $19
Rich, opulent fruit with a wonderful freshness and balance. An incredible deep, central core of dark fruit gives way to an intense textural mid palate full of cassis, plum, spice and dark chocolate.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting