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

lummi island wine tasting oct 11 ’19

click on photos for larger images

Friday Breads

Rosemary Olive Oil – Bread flour and white whole wheat for a little more flavor and texture. Fresh rosemary from the garden and olive oil to make for a tender crumb and a crisp crust. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Multi Grain – Made with pre-fermented dough to begin the enzymatic activity and gluten development overnight in a cool environment. The next day it is mixed with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye, then flax, sunflower and sesame seeds are added for a nice bit of crunch and some extra flavor.   – $5/loaf

Pumpkin Spice Muffins- Delicious muffins made with pumpkin and all the spices that go with pumpkin. Topped with a streusel made with butter, brown sugar and pumpkin seeds and as if that isn’t enough filled
with a cream cheese filling. Yum! Warning: somewhat addictive! – 4/$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!)


October Sunset


Langhe Nebbiolo 

Barolo and Barbaresco, among the most esteemed of Italian wines, are made from the nebbiolo grape found mostly in the Piedmont wine region near the French border, where it thrives in sheltered, south-facing, well-drained calcareous marl soils. Flowering early and ripening late, it produces high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins. The vintner’s goal is to harvest the fruit when these three elements  are in optimal balance.

The grape is known for its particularly strong tannic structure which usually takes several years of aging to soften into optimal drinkability. Because of their high prices ($50 and up) and need for cellaring, these two nebbiolo wines are out of reach for most of us for everyday drinking.

Fortunately, many of the appealing virtues of nebbiolo are available in a less expensive wine, Langhe nebbiolo, which is essentially the same grape but from less prestigious or declassified vineyards or younger, less select vines. Also, producers are allowed to blend small amounts of barbera or dolcetto to make it more approachable. Though Langhe nebbiolo does not develop the intensity, depth, or aging potential of the more expensive and collectible nebbiolo wines, they provide an affordable ($18-$30) way for all of us to enjoy them.



Mar a Lago Update: A Letter to Congress

We have been committed to writing this weekly commentary on the Ongoing Disaster of the Tweetster’s Occupation of our Formerly Respected White House since April, 2017, and have every intention of maintaining it until he is Gone…our little Indulgence for Mercy from whatever Capricious Fate is responsible unleashing this Menace on our Dear and Vulnerable Planet.

Two months earlier I had written a few letters to Congress about our Fears for the Future. Many of us recall our Inability to Accept that this Gigantic Mistake could possibly be allowed to continue. Here are the first few paragraphs of my letter to Senator McCain, sent in February 2017:
Dear Senator McCain,
I write to thank you for your excellent speech at the recent Munich Security Conference. As a fellow graduate of the Naval Academy (1967), I share your deep concerns about the rise of Authoritarianism both in Europe and here in the United States, and was reassured by your strong position on preserving our common values.

Your recent comments also suggest that you are as disturbed as most Americans that a man as singularly unqualified as Donald Trump should have somehow become President of our country. He consistently demonstrates a severe narcissistic personality disorder, the emotional maturity of a spoiled child, and the critical thinking ability of Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter, ever nattering in nonsensical riddles.

Perhaps no quality of leadership is more important or less appreciated than maintaining a steady and reassuring hand on the tiller.  Yet each day Mr. Trump remains in office adds more chaos and confusion, upsets long-established expectations at home and abroad, and undermines our ability to achieve and maintain our strategic and economic interests around the world.

Today, almost Three Years later, anyone who has been paying attention in the last few days has to be both outraged and heartbroken that this Dog-Damned Fool in his “Great and Unmatched Wisdom” has single-handedly opened the door for the destruction of the Kurds, a People without a Country and our long-term allies in our never-ending Middle East Crusade…in the name of Jesus, Wall Street, and Dick Cheney, Amen.

Of the whole torrent of Outrageous, Breathtaking, Heart-Breaking Cruelties this Soulless man has inflicted on our country and our world, this betrayal of our core values and our responsibilities to a valued ally should not be tolerated by Anyone. The Tweetster should be Finished, Done, OUTA HERE with all deliberate haste so our country can act to protect a loyal ally, as our sense of honor Requires. Good Grief, when even Lindsay Graham can find enough moral character to condemn this betrayal of American responsibility, then no American of any political persuasion should be able to rest until we have taken action to assure the Kurds’ security.

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


This weekend’s wine tasting

Mayu Pedro Ximenez ’18 Chile $10
In the mouth, this dry Pedro Ximénez from Elqui on the edge of the Atacama desert feels plump and medium in intensity, with notes of kiwi and flowering herb lead to a crisp dry palate with a mouthwatering finish.  read more

Chateau de Caraguilhes  Rosé      ’18     France     $14
Fresh pink, clear and bright; intense and appealing aromas of gooseberry and cherry with clean mineral notes; round and well-balanced, rounded and elegant, a great pleasure to drink.

Chateau Sicot Bordeaux Superieur ’16     France    $14
Classic right bank Bordeaux, organically farmed, and a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. Aged for a year in used and new barrique.

Castillo de Mendoza Vitaran Crianza ’15      Spain       $14
Tempranillo from the classic home of Rioja Alta. Aged for a year in Hungarian and American oak and farmed organically.

Fenocchio Langhe Nebbiolo ’17     Italy     $21
10 days on the skins, 6 months in stainless, and 6 months in oak before bottling. Nose of black cherries, dark fruits and gentle dark florals. Palate of ripe black fruit; Attractive and plush, with silky mouthfeel and fine tannins.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting oct 4 ‘19

Closed this weekend!

Special note: We are away for a few days, had intended to be back for wine shop hours Friday and Saturday.

However, as the trip has unfolded it has become clear that we Will Not be back in time to open the wine shop either day.

We regret any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you Oct 11, when our Bread Baker will also be back!

Rich & Pat



Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting sept 27 ’19

click on photos for larger images

Friday Breads

Note: Our baker is away for three weeks in the northern Baltics in search of new breads and pastries. So…next Bread Friday won’t be until (gulp!) October 11th!

Don’t worry, though, the shop will be open on this Friday and Saturday as usual, so come by and celebrate the end of this year’s Ferry Drydock!

( note: 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!)



Making Jet Fuel from Air

Any general, off-hand thinking about the effects of jet travel on climate make us think about the impossibility of flying without paying a big price in environmental damage. Any of today’s jet airliners uses thousands of pounds of fossil fuels per hour to get aloft and fly us thousands of miles. At any given moment over a million people are airborne across the world. And it is hard to imagine how to lower the carbon footprint for jet travel.

Recent research (watch video) has been exploring methods for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and using it to make jet fuel (which, btw, is more like kerosene than like gasoline). The various experimental systems use solar energy and high temperatures to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, also known as synthesis gas (syngas). It sounds a lot like reverse breathing; instead of inhaling oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, it breathes in CO2 and exhales syngas which can be used for anything, especially aviation fuel. (watch another video)

Lots of big investors (like Bill Gates) have put $$ into researching this idea, and several pilot projects are underway. This is an encouraging sign that economic incentives for innovation in climate stabilization are getting the attention of investors and will soon bear fruit!


Mar a Lago Update: Bribery Vs. Extortion

Bribery is about exchanging something of value to influence the actions of an individual holding a public office or legal duty. There are at least two parties involved; one which wants the favor, and one with the means to provide it. Both solicitation and acceptance constitute crimes regardless of whether the solicitation results in the receipt of a valuable gift.

Similarly, extortion is the gaining of property or money by threatening any kind of force, violence, property damage, or other harm if a particular action is not carried out. Extortion is a felony in every state.

In the case of the Tweetster’s now World-Famous telephone conversation with the new President of Ukraine, until recently (no one could have made this up)  a well-known comedian in Ukraine, it is perhaps harder to figure out whether the obvious Crimes implied in the conversation would better be called Bribery or Extortion. What IS clear is that whatever you call it, it totally qualifies as “bribery” as used in the Constitution of the United States to define an Impeachable Offense.

Since the news broke (was it only Yesterday…?) about the Tweetster’s phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian President (maybe he has a Thing for anyone named Vladimir…?), the airwaves have been Overloaded with endless Right and Left Wing Punditry about the decision of the House of Representatives to upgrade their Investigation a notch closer to an actual Impeachment resolution.

Everything that is going on in the media right now about these latest developments is reminiscent of the testimony of the Tweetster’s long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s warnings: “Mr.Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates,” Cohen said in his opening statement. “He doesn’t give you questions, he doesn’t give you orders — he speaks in a code. And I understand the code because I’ve been around him for a decade.”

As Everybody Knows, the point of this kind of code among Crime Bosses is to avoid leaving explicit evidence lying about; in other words, maintaining what everyone in Politics calls, “Plausible Deniability.” The unsurprising Takeaway from these events is that as a group, Republicans have no underlying Ethic. On the contrary, they will do anything, say anything, and dissemble about their fluidity on any particular value except Holding Power.

Dog help us…!


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


This weekend’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!

La Croix Belle Caringole Rosé ’17 France     $12
Syrah-Grenache blend; intense nose of rose petals and garrigue; palate of cherries and raspberries with notes of dried rosemary and thyme and a citrus accent on the crisp finish.

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.

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.

Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet ’16   California   $19
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