lummi island wine tasting nov 8 ’19

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Friday Breads This Week

Whole Wheat Levain – Made with a sourdough starter and fermented overnight in the refrigerator. This long slow process allows the fermentation process to start and the gluten to start developing. The bread is made with the levain, bread flour, and fresh milled whole wheat for a ‘toothy’ crumb, great texture and flavor, and a nice crisp crust. – $5/loaf

Breton – Incorporates the flavors of the french Brittany region. Bread flour and fresh milled buckwheat and rye make for interesting flavor and the salt is sel gris -the grey salt from the region that brings more mineral flavors to this bread. Goes great with meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

Our bakers were fortunate to be in Finland on National Cinnamon Roll day, October 4th. What a great country to have a national day for everyone to eat cinnamon rolls! Something we can at least adopt here! In honor of that trip and cinnamon roll day pastry this week is the Finnish cinnamon roll known as Korvapuusti which translates as either “slapped ears” or “slap in the ear”…

Korvapuusti – Made with a traditional Pulla dough that is not as sweet or enriched as a brioche dough but still has plenty of sugar and butter with the addition of cardamom in the dough itself. Then filled with a butter, sugar, cinnamon filling before being sliced and formed into its unique shape. 2/$5.  read more

(breads must be pre-ordered by Wednesday for pickup here at the wine shop at our Friday wine tasting, 4-6pm. Planning a visit to the Island? Email us to get on the mailing list!)



Most simply, Greywacke is a type of sandstone that has a lot of rock grain and fragments in it, kind of a lumpy batter that set up before it was completely stirred. It is often associated with continental shelves, and is believed to have formed by mudslides along the shelf. Greywackes are mostly grey, brown, yellow or black, dull-colored sandy rocks which may occur in thick or thin beds, and bear some similarity to formations of “Chuckanut sandstone” that we seen on our own shores here on Lummi Island.

A few months ago fellow islander and longtime director of Lummi Island Heritage Trust Becca S. was in the wine shop picking up bread and mentioned the term. She informed us that many of the formations in the recently acquired Aiston Preserve are made of greywacke as is much of the southern half of Lummi Island. The formations are about 150 million years old, and underlain by basalt and chert from an ancient sea floor.

She had also learned that greywacke was a major part of the geological structure of New Zealand, and that there was a NZ winery of the same name that made sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, and that maybe we should track it down and get some; maybe it could fit into some Trust activities. Which we did. And which we now have. This weekend for your tasting pleasure we will be pouring the New Zealand Greywacke Pinot Noir. (See tasting notes below). The complex minerality gives the wine a somewhat masculine style, showing dark fruit and nuances of cedar, earth, and smoke. Pretty yummy, don’t miss it!


Mar a Lago Update: The REAL Impeachable Crime

It’s not that the Impeachment charges forming against the Tweetster are not Crimes, because they certainly are. And it’s not that his words and actions have not undermined the high ideals that we want our country to stand for, because they do and they have, 24/7 for the past four years. These are important issues that we must deal with. However, we digress for a moment from those ongoing concerns today to consider the Ominous Existential Context in which all this is happening, i. e. rapidly accelerating Climate Change.

In a recent interview, Senior Brookings Institution and World Resources Institute Fellow Todd Stern discussed the importance of the Paris Climate Accord and global participation in it, pointing out that climate change is an “equal-opportunity destroyer;”  not believing in it is not going to save you from it. America’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord signals the rest of the world that the job of fighting climate change falls on them alone. Not only are we not helping, we continue policies that continually Make Things Worse.

The challenge is huge, time is short, and the consequences of failure look Catastrophic. The entire world, which currently gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels, must work together toward the goal of reducing carbon to net zero by 2050…just thirty years away. If we fail to achieve that goal climate change may reach a tipping point that threatens the ability of the planet to support life at all. But already three years have been lost because of the Tweetster’s Monumental Ignorance, with no sign of change in sight.

Mr. Stern asserts that a united global civilization can do what we need to do, but we have passed the point where marginal progress in the right direction is enough. If we had started in earnest preparing for this future forty years ago when we first became aware of the problem we would have already been where we need to be. Now, after all this time making things worse and worse, “we are at a crisis point where directional progress is no longer enough—speed and scale are everything.”

To accomplish the 2050 goal will require “innovation, integrated policy, and economic commitment, all of which are possible…what is lacking is unified political will around the world.” That would be less difficult and more possible in a post-Tweetster world. Let it be…

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date 13,445 as of 10/10/19

This weekend’s wine tasting

Bocelli Chardonnay ’18       Italy    $14
Rich aromas of ripe pear with a hint of banana; plump and silky on the palate with crisp, lingering flavors of lychee and white peach.

Indaba Merlot  ’15     South Africa      $10
Crafted in a fresh, pure style, this velvety Merlot seduces with aromas and bright, juicy flavors of cherry, dark berry and plum backed by subtle mocha and herbal nuances and a delicate minerality.

Chat Auzias Cabardes Red  ’17    France    $10
Dark berries with a hint of eucalyptus; medium body with good acidity and notes of raspberry and sweet oak on the lingering finish.

Cana’s Feast Briar Red ’18        Washington   $16
Ripe raspberry, boysenberry and cocoa on the nose. Full flavors of cherry, brown sugar, and coffee serve as a base for more subtle mineral and iron nuances. Generous acidity and tannic structure support a long, round finish.

Greywacke Pinot Noir ’16     New Zealand    $32
Delicious aromas of juicy blackberries, blueberries and strawberry jam, with suggestions of black olives, cedar and a hint of lavender. Finely structured palate shows red and black fruit with earthy, smoky nuances.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting 11/1/19

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Friday Breads This Week

Fig Anise – 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. After the final dough is mixed the dough itself is also fermented overnight which adds a lot of depth to the flavor to the final bread. A great flavorful bread – $5/loaf

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. – $5/loaf

Pain aux Raisin – made with the same laminated dough as croissants. The dough is rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with golden raisins and dried cranberries soaked in sugar syrup, then rolled up and sliced before baking.  – 2/$5

(breads must be pre-ordered by Wednesday for pickup here at the wine shop at our Friday wine tasting, 4-6pm. Planning a visit to the Island? Email us to get on the mailing list!)


Halloween Sunset

We have been enjoying stunningly clear weather this week, under a cold zone of high pressure. Looked out the window just before dinner tonight to see this amazing sunset unfolding to the west, marked by the slow progress of a tug and tow headed north. I grabbed the camera and headed across the street for a better view, but could not get far enough to capture the tug in the photo. So we have the barge in sight with Orcas Island to the left.

You should be able to click on the photo to see a larger version. Pretty nice, this place we call Home!




Mar a Lago Update: Animosities, Partialities, Influence, and Interest

Both the history and the practice of impeachment, especially of the President, are more about politics than justice. Apparently the Framers were aware of this possibility, and their way of handling it was to make it a political process rather than a strictly legal one. Therefore it is not surprising that the few times it has arisen with regard to the President it has happened when strong polarities existed between the major parties on other issues which both sides felt were important and upon which there was little common ground. As Alexander Hamilton put it, “political considerations would come into play including animosities, partialities, influence, and interest.”

Andrew Johnson was Lincoln’s VP for his second term, and became President after Lincoln’s assassination about six weeks into the second term. Back in those days the Republicans identified themselves as the party morally opposed to slavery, and many had more sympathy with the recently freed slaves than with the defeated Southerners they felt had started the Civil War. Lincoln died with no specific plan for Reconstruction, but Johnson thought Lincoln had intended to extend clemency and reunify the country as soon as possible.

But many felt more specific steps needed to be taken to prevent former slaves from being re-indentured in various ways. The final straw was Johnson’s firing of his (formerly Lincoln’s) Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in violation of the one-year-old Tenure of Office Act (which Johnson had just unilaterally repealed), which prohibited Presidential firing of Congressionally approved Cabinet Nominees. The resulting impeachment process in the House and trial in the Senate (which did not convict) seem largely about the challenges of coping with the aftermath of the Civil War.

Similarly, the Clinton impeachment process was largely an artifact of Republicans’ refusal to accept that a Democrat was Occupying Their Oval Office. The Nerve! Efforts to dig up Dirt on the Clintons (they Hated Hillary from the very beginning) began shortly after Clinton took office, going from Vince Foster’s death to “Queen Hillary’s Health Plan” to the never-ending Whitewater Investigation, which morphed into the Starr Wars and the bizarre taped phone calls between Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp. Somewhere in that process we recall someone asking Bill Clinton “why do they hate you so much,?”  to which he replied something like, “because we beat them.” To which he added philosophically, “it’s just politics.” Some people felt it was okay to grill a President about private affairs. Most did not.

Which brings us to today’s decision in the House to proceed with a formal inquiry into the possible impeachment of the Tweetster. The first thing to note is that this inquiry is not a “trial” in the usual sense, and it was never intended to be. It is a tool built into the Constitution as, for lack of a better term, a “ritual” acknowledgement of deep divisions in our society about our values, our goals, and our beliefs, and an inability to accept that a lot of other people believe exactly the opposite. Assuming the impeachment goes forward, it is extraordinarily unlikely that 20 Republican Senators would ever vote to impeach. Remember, it’s not about justice, it’s about ritual cleansing, like a National Enema: not much changes, but you have Gone Through the Motions. The Impeachers never win, and after a while all of us chimps will put down our clubs and go forage for food. But it probably won’t taste good to anyone and may be hard to digest.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date 13,445 as of 10/10/19







This weekend’s wine tasting

Ronan by Clinet Bordeaux Blanc ’15     France       $15
80% sauv blanc, 20% semillon; fresh and appealing aromas of yuzu, grapefruit, white flowers, and passion fruit; flavors of citrus, white fruits and warm spices are fleshy yet crisp and clean.

Bodegas Ayuso Estola Reserva ’15    Spain   $10
Tempranillo/cab sauv blend; Warm aromas of spices and ripe fruit; wide and round palate, easy drinking, great buy!

Crios Malbec ’18   Argentina      $13
Bright, dark red. Red currant, black cherry, ripe strawberry and spices on the nose; sweet red fruit flavors with notes of earth, licorice and menthol; creamy fruit firmed by smooth tannins…a terrific value.

Shatter Grenache Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes ’17      France       $19
From Old Vines in Roussillon’s black schist soil; nose of dark fruit with a hint of espresso; velvety texture with black currant, spice and cured meat flavors with a touch of coffee; firm structure, supple tannins, excellent acidity and overall balance.

Seghesio Angela’s Garden Zinfandel ’17 California     $19
Aromas of wild blueberry, briary raspberry patch and baking spice give way to a palate of juicy, ripe blackberry and black plum. Soft tannins, a rich mouthfeel and focused acidity lead to a long finish.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 25 ’19

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Friday Breads

Poolish Ale – Made with bread flour, a bit of yeast and, instead of water, a nice ale for the liquid which is then fermented overnight and 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 also made with a poolish, fresh milled buckwheat and bread flour. Buckwheat is actually a seed not a grain, closer to rhubarb and sorrel than to wheat, and contains no gluten. (note: this bread is not gluten free as it is also includes some wheat flour.) Buckwheat has an earthy flavor that in this bread is balanced with a little honey and toasted walnuts.- $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Chocolate Croissants- A traditional laminated french pastry made with a bit of sourdough and another pre-ferment to help create the traditional honeycomb interior. Rolled out and shaped with delicious dark chocolate in the center. – 2/$5

( breads must be pre-ordered by Wednesday for pickup here at the wine shop at our Friday wine tasting, 4-6pm. Planning a visit to the Island? Email us to get on the mailing list!)


La Quercia

Montepulciano is the 2nd most planted red grape in Italy (after Sangiovese) and has a reputation for making low-priced, juicy, “pizza-friendly” red wine. Winemaker Antonio Lamona of La Quercia winery is a grizzled and likable grape farmer who grew up in a grape-growing family. Years later he became the first in the family to bottle his own wines. Following a Muse in the late sixties, he began organic cultivation of his vines, with all grapes hand-picked and pressed within two hours of harvest. Located on a windy hillside along the Adriatic in Moro d’Oro in Abruzzo, the farm produces salami, bread, vegetables, olive oil, and cheese as well as great wines.

The farm is run by four friends who became colleagues by chance in the late 80s. In 2000, they took over a small winery called La Quercia, which includes about 12 hectares in vineyards and 3 in olive tree groves. They strive to produce wines that reflect the qualities of their vineyards. Quercia means “oak tree” which is a symbol for strength and genuineness. We have been carrying wines from La Quercia through Seattle importer Small Vineyards for well over ten years, and they are always refined and delicious.

Many of you are familiar with their Montepulciano Riserva, which we have carried for many years. This is the first year that we were not offered an opportunity to buy the Riserva but instead will be pouring the younger version. While it does not have the depth of the Riserva, it offers the brightness of younger vines and the freshness of less aging. And it’s also $10 less per bottle!


Hat in search of owner

During the most recent Artists Studio Tour on Labor Day weekend we had a lot of visitors much of the day. I do recall at some point noticing a gentleman of a certain age, maybe a bit Zorba-like, part of a family group perhaps. He was casually and comfortably dressed, accented by the hat and sunglasses shown at left.

At the end of the day I noticed that the hat and sunglasses were still in the shop, left atop the shelf over the stairs where we usually display bubbly. As in the photo the glasses were left atop the hat.

The man did not look familiar, so it is unlikely he will ever see this post. However, perhaps someone reading this will recognize them and help us get it back to theri rightful owner.





Mar a Lago Update: Matters of Honor

We find ourselves unconsciously contrasting the apparent character of some of the players in the current News Cycle– the Tweetster, Secretary Pompeo, Senator Graham, and Ambassador Taylor among them. And in particular we are musing on the apparently archaic notion of “honor,” most eloquently described in a short paragraph written in 1899 by John Walter Wayland, an historian from Virginia, in his winning response to a contest conducted by the Baltimore Sun looking for the best definition of a True Gentleman. He wrote:

“The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”

These days we rarely speak of “gentlemen” in these terms or any other, or think much about character, honor, loyalty, service, or grace. Yet when we think about the values enshrined in our Constitution, we see the same principled aspirations. And it used to be comforting to imagine our nation would always choose leaders who would embrace these values in their dealings with us, with each other, and with other nations.

Ambassador Taylor stands out to us as personifying these values over some fifty years in the military and in foreign service, demonstrating by his actions a firm stand on principle. In contrast, Secretary Pompeo, like Taylor was a distinguished West Point graduate and military veteran. But unlike Taylor he has chosen to compromise his honor and  principles by witnessing and going along with the Tweetster’s extortion attempt on the Ukraine President, and now dissembles about it, when he has been trained to know that an evasive statement is as dishonest as a Lie. He should have heeded Michael Cohen’s advice, that the Tweetster would Drag them all Down as he did Mr. Cohen. We confess some disappointment with Pompeo’s choices.

Mr. Graham, in contrast to both, is typical of an entire class of contemporary politicians, who can assert one thing today and its exact opposite tomorrow if that is what expediency demands. If Pompeo’s honor is in tatters, Graham’s (and many others) have none and have no idea what it is or what is means. All exigency orbits around a single idea: remaining in power at all cost.

Finally there is the Tweetster himself, a bizarre melding of bete noir and enfant terrible, a man who is completely incapable of telling the truth about Anything, as if some traumatic childhood experience taught him that his Emotional World Would End (like Daddy disapproving or Mommy disappearing…?) if he admitted Anything about Anything. “Honor” is to him, like a Hurricane at sea, “most devoutly to be eschewed,” because it would surely lead to unbearable Pain. Instead, like all psychopaths, he has a gift for telling people what he instinctively knows they want to hear so much they will compromise their values to hear it…as every con man does, and as Michael Cohen warned.

At the moment we have Republicans falling over themselves trying to court the Tweetster’s favor, as if they are in some kind of trance. If his astonishing betrayal of the Kurds, strongly suggesting a deliberate and treasonous collusion to help Russia and Turkey, isn’t enough to terrify his disciples enough about the implications of Another Term to call them to Action, things could get Really Ugly Really Soon.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 12,000 as of 6/10/19


This weekend’s wine tasting

Jane Ventura Cava Rose  ’16       Spain    $16
Clean aromas of almond with strawberry, and cherry with aromas  of anise and country herbs; well balanced, dry, light and fresh with a long,
persistent finish.

Bernier Chardonnay ’18     France     $12
Lemon, herbs and lees on the nose. Full-on minerality, with a touch of lemon curd. Crisp, elegant, steely, and citrusy personality; classic Old World style.

La Quercia Montepulciano ’17       Italy    $13
100% organic montepulciano d’abruzzo from low-yield vinification by winemaker Antonio Lamona for one of the best, most expressive, and balanced Montepulcianos around. Opens with aromas of sour cherry with a hint of new leather; ripe fruity palate exhibits juicy blackberry, raspberry and a hint of anise;  easy drinking with soft tannins.

Can Blau Can Blau ’16      Spain     $16
Long an Artisan
favorite; consistently showing aromas and flavors of ripe dark fruits and berries, a seamless texture, and long, silky finish that improves with aeration.

Seghesio Angela’s Garden Zinfandel ’17    California     $19
Aromas of wild blueberry, briary raspberry patch and baking spice give way to a palate of juicy, ripe blackberry and black plum. Soft tannins, a rich mouthfeel and focused acidity lead to a long finish.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 18 ’19

click on photos for larger images

Friday Breads

Pain au Levain – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat and rye. 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

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. A delicious bread that makes great toast – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche Almond Buns – Made with a delicious brioche dough full of eggs, butter and sugar. Rolled out and spread with an almond cream filling. The almond cream is not made from pre-made almond paste, but rather is a delicious creamy filling made with lots more butter, sugar and eggs as well as almond flour. Yum, yum – 2/$5

( breads must be pre-ordered by Wednesday for pickup here at the wine shop at our Friday wine tasting, 4-6pm. Planning a visit to the Island? Email us to get on the mailing list!)


Fior D’Arancio

This week we bring back an unusual sparkling dessert 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.

This week our tasting includes a clone of muscat from this region, which either through its own genetic identity or from some kind of symbiosis from nearby orange orchards, has strong scents and flavors of orange. This wine is unusual, 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.

We poured this wine a year or two ago, and it sold out quickly as people tasted it. As the season gets colder, it’s a great wine to have on hand for cozying up to a fire!


Wine and Climate Change

People have been growing grapes and making wine over much of the world for thousands of years, despite challenges from famine, flood, drought, social unrest, and war. Through it all, meticulous grape farmers have, like seafarers, “kept an eye to weather,” (Arrrrrr!) continually expanding their ability to adapt their vinicultural experience to seasonal weather variations. For the last thirty years, vignerons around the world have have had to work hard to address changing temperatures and rainfall as the Earth warms.

In the short term, some of these changes have actually benefited certain regions, where warmer growing seasons have made it far easier to produce consistently exceptional wines, while overall the pace of climate change has been pressuring wine growers to find the best ways to respond to the shifts. Since the 90’s grape growers have been edging north in the Northern Hemisphere and south in the Southern Hemisphere in search of cooler growing conditions. As the climate has warmed, regions that were once considered too cold are now demonstrating that they, too, can produce fine wine, as long as the other elements are in order.

In addition, many growers are planting vines at higher altitudes. Although peak temperatures are not necessarily much cooler, daily heat lasts for shorter periods, and nighttime temperatures are colder than at lower altitudes, helping grapes to ripen more evenly– the same phenomenon as occurs along marine coasts.

In regions which have been more typically hot, the key problem for winemakers has increasingly become over-ripening. This has caused many growers to explore different  regional varietals in their familiar vineyards, and to seek new vineyards further north...(like, you know, Washington State.) At the same time, changes in rainfall and temperature patterns have been increasing forest fires in Washington and Oregon, offering yet another challenge for growers. Bottom line: because wine grapes are extraordinarily sensitive to soil and sunlight, the industry as a whole is a canary in the mine for food crops of all kinds.


Mar a Lago Update: A Bridge Too Far

The dominant news item this week has been (see last week’s post) the Tweetster’s decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in Syria by giving the Green Light for Turkey to invade the region, which the Kurds won from ISIS with great effort and sacrifice. This Betrayal has been deeply and widely disturbing across America and across NATO. Every rational American feels shamed by this bizarre betrayal of our national honor; thousands of Kurds fought and died in Our cause and now our so-called President  has abandoned them.

Today’s New York Times featured an op-ed by retired ADM William McRaven, who oversaw the mission that captured Osama Bin Laden in 2011, and who at the time of his retirement in 2014 was then the longest-serving active member of the Navy Seals…and who still believes and fights for the idea that “We are the Good  Guys.”

In his current op-ed, he asks, “If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military? And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us?”

His words reinforce our feeling that the Sheer Shock of the Tweetster’s public betrayal of our values will continue to take an increasing toll. Even Post-Morality Republicans may be growing increasingly uncomfortable with his ongoing Word Salad and be longing for an alternative. Meanwhile, the Impeachment Fires are lit while we search for our collective values as a national community.

A lot going on right now, huh…?

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 12,000 as of 6/10/19


This weekend’s wine tasting

Weingut  Gruner Veltliner      Austria    $16
Notes of ripe Bosch pears surround the palate on this fruit-driven, slurpingly good Gruner.

Marchetti Rosso Conero ’17   Italy    $11
Rich and inviting aromas of flowers, plums, brown spices, and hillside brush. On the palate, round notes of cherries, blackberries, cocoa and spice. Culminates in a satisfying, lengthy finish.

La Quercia Aglianico  ‘17    Italy   $13
The new vintage of one of our favorite italian reds; full bodied with notes of ripe plum and white pepper on smooth, fine-grained tannins. A lovely match with a wide range of savory dishes.

Edi Simcic Duet     Slovenia       $30
Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc; bold and compelling, with notes of chocolate, cherries, cheesecake, and coffee on silky tannins and a lush, ripe, fruit-full body that goes on and on.

Lovo Fior d’Arancio Sparkling Moscato ’18           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