lummi island wine tasting january 18 ’19

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Bread Friday

Poolish Ale – In place of water in the poolish, the liquid is a nice ale beer. I
look for one with a lot of flavor and this week I’m using a nice Belgian ale. The
final dough is 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 it contains no
gluten. Buckwheat has an earthy flavor that in this bread is balanced with a
little honey. Some toasted walnuts add a nice crunch.  – $5/loaf

Ann another delicious pastry this week…

Chocolate Babka Rolls – A sweet pastry dough full of eggs, butter and sugar, rolled and spread with a chocolate filling, rolled up and cut into individual rolls and  brushed with sugar syrup after baking. – 2/$5

 

Pomum

This week we return to an old favorite wine from a favorite Washington winemaker, Javier Alfonso of Pomum Cellars in Woodinville. The wine is his Pomum Red, a compelling blend of cab and cab franc, rounded out with malbec, petite syrah, and merlot. Javier grew up in Spain’s Ribero Del Duero region, and brings his heritage to his winemaking here in Washington. His wines show his preference for highly drinkable wines with rich, evolving, and lingering flavors, silky tannic depth and length, and a Muse that beckons “hey, Amigo, un vaso mas!”

A few years ago (OMD, just realized it has been seven!)  Javier and wife Shyla made a surprise visit to the wine shop on a Saturday afternoon, and it was great fun. We remember this now because this weekend we are pouring his Pomum Red wine,  and this vintage (sampling at this very moment!) is really Quite Delightful!

He also has a second label we have carried for some years called Idilico. At the moment we have his Idilico Garnacha on the shelf, and in warmer weather we generally carry his Albarino as well. Both bear the fingerprints of his winemaking style, which generally means “yes, you’re gonna like it!”

 

 

Pasanau

In the classic film “Sideways,” there is a scene where our male anti-hero asks our female heroine (as I see it) what was The Wine that made her Love Good Wine, like, OMD, I never knew Wine Could Taste This Good! 

In our boy Donald’s case the wine that did it for him was Pasanau Finca de Planeta, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and garnacha from the iconic Spanish wine region of Priorat, about two hours west of Barcelona.

Pasanau is located in the Northwest corner of this very dry, rugged DOC very reminiscent of the American Southwest. Because its old vines have to grow deep into the ancient schist, limestone, and licorella soils to survive and produce fruit, they develop a certain profundity. We visited the winery a few years ago and were moved by its gnarly old vines and spectacular setting.

More important for you, by chance we have acquired a few bottles of the 2012 vintage of this wine at a substantial discount, allowing us to offer our limited supply for $29 each, a Substantial Discount…and we are pouring it for your tasting pleasure this weekend!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Bringing Back the Progressive Income Tax

Last week Nobel economist/ NY Times writer Paul Krugman wrote an interesting article about proposals of new Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for increasing the marginal tax rate on the extremely wealthy to something over 70%. Btw, that doesn’t mean the Super-Wealthy would pay 70% tax on their entire incomes; it means they would pay an increasing amount of tax per dollar earned as income increased, topping off at 70 cents per dollar earned over some very high amount.

The two main arguments for such progressive taxation, which worked extremely well in the U. S. between the Thirties and the Sixties, are 1)  the marginal utility of money, and 2)  the importance of competitive markets. In the first case, if you are living at subsistence level, a thousand dollars of additional income makes an enormous difference in your quality of life. But if you are a Bazillionaire, an additional thousand or even ten thousand dollars is completely inconsequential. In the second case, despite decades of Republican Trickle-Down Propaganda to the contrary, rigorous data analysis has shown clearly that Social Benefits to the Economy as a Whole are not at all decreased by higher marginal tax rates until they are between 70 and 80 %.

The Big Takeway here is that all The Economy got from the Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and the Tweetster Tax Cuts was a Smaller Overall Pie, Huge Increases in the National Debt, and exponentially increasing disparities between the Rich and Poor. As is clear from the graph in Krugman’s article, the exponentially increasing wealth of the Very Rich and the stagnation of the Overall Economy under Reagan, Bushes I and II, and the Tweetster have been the only consistent result of Tax Cuts for the top 1%, and Krugman is making a strong case that the Return of those very high marginal tax rates would make for a Bigger Overall Pie shared much more Equitably.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 7,546 as of 1/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Palama Salento Bianca Verdeca ’17     Italy     $11
Refreshing, flavorful, and aromatic, with notes of lemon zest, salty minerality, and green herbs.

Sharecropper’s Pinot Noir ’17     Oregon   $15
Aromas of bing cherry, rose petals and pomegranate with hints of baking spice and forest floor, and flavors of cherry, and olive with toasty cinnamon notes.

Martoccia Poggio Apricale  ’17    Italy  $15
Sangiovese Grosso with a little Merlot and Cab Franc; Fruity and persistent nose of wild berries and spice. Soft and balanced with fine tannins this Sant’Antimo Rosso works well with any meal!

Pomum Red ’14 Washington $19
Mostly 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.

Celler Pasanau Finca La Planeta Priorat ’12   Spain $29
Crisp, focused aromas of ripe berries, tar, and spice; flavors of spicy plum, crushed peppercorn and mineral-rich schist; thorough and complex; drink through 2028.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting jan 12 ’19

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Bread Friday

Rosemary Olive Oil – made with bread flour and freshly milled white whole wheat for
a little more flavor and texture. Fresh rosemary from the garden and olive oil make
for a nice tender crumb and a nice crisp crust. -$5/loaf

Multi Grain –  Made with pre-fermented dough of bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat, and rye with flax, sunflower, rolled oats and sesame seeds for a nice crunch and extra flavor. -$5/loaf

Pain aux Raisin – From the same laminated dough as croissants, rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with a mix of sugar-soaked golden raisins and dried cranberries, rolled up and sliced before
baking. These are my favorites! – 2/$5

 

Thackrey and Co.

Sean Thackrey (see website) has been an iconic California winemaker for several decades, based mostly north of San Francisco in Marin County, where “normal” has, at best, a Vague Meaning. He has many eccentricities (read more), including skepticism about Global Warming and the importance of terroir in viticulture. A bit of a “wine outlaw,” he ascribes to numerous arcane winemaking practices (like letting newly picked grapes rest overnight to begin fermentation). 

Over the years his wines have earned serious acclaim from major wine critics, so he must be doing something right, right…?

Pleiades is essentially a non-vintage “field blend” of sangiovese, pinot noir, viognier, zinfandel, syrah, and more, mostly from the Rossi vineyard in St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley, but which may include fruit from different California regions and vintages. As a result he has developed the habit of naming each vintage in sequence; this weekend as the photo shows, we are pouring version XXVI , released last spring. It looks like pinot noir, but the complex flavors are not quite like any other single wine you have likely tasted. Come by and check it out!

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Graham-A-Doodle Shows His Stuff

1/6/19, 2:12pm   ‘The goal is not to open up the government’

Graham repeated his belief that because the Radical Left Wing of the Democratic Party are (sic) not being “reasonable partners,” the Tweetster “is right to dig in to get money for a wall as part of border security.” He continued: “We’re not going to put any offers on the table as long as people in charge of these negotiations accuse all of us who want a wall of being Racist…” Graham said. “Until you get that crowd put to the sidelines, I don’t see anything happening.”

1/09/19, 7:45pm  Graham launches last-ditch push to end shutdown

As a Petulant Tweetster keeps refusing to play with the other kids visiting the White House this week until he gets his way, Republican boot-lickers have become increasingly more concerned, not as one would expect, about how the lingering Ego-Tantrum that is the Shutdown can be Ended, but how they can each play their conniving little hands to avoid being Gutted by a Tweet of Pique for appearing Disloyal. As if, you know, the one who can hold his breath the longest at the Ship Goes Down wins some kind of Prize.

1/10/19: 02:01 PM   ‘Never been more depressed’: Trump kills Graham effort to end shutdown

Supposedly Graham and other GOP Senators had been working So Hard to come up with a plan the Tweetster would like enough to reopen the Government they were, like, So Surprised and Disappointed when the Tweetster didn’t go for it that they haven’t been able to stop wringing their Tiny Hands. Awwwww

1/10/19: 6.55 pm EST: Graham calls for Trump to use emergency powers to fund border wall

With this last we see the Uncanny Resemblance of Graham to a deranged mini-poodle running in circles trying to catch its tail, putting on a Good Show although it has No Idea what a tail Is, or whether it has one, but Does know how to Bark, Distract, and, you know, Suck Up to Power. But then, if you think about it, he Does have his Buddy Mitch to Lead him down the Slimy Path of the Spineless Toadie…

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 7,546 as of 1/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Maryhill Viognier ’16       Washington       $14
Vibrant aromas of orange zest, honeysuckle, and pink grapefruit; flavors of lemon, pear, and white peach. The mouthfeel is delicate, yet full-bodied, withnotes of fresh flowers.

Domaine Donjon Minervois Tradition ’15    France      $16
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Carignan; aged 12 months in stainless steel. Meaty and complex, with sweet, ripe red and black fruits, loads of white and black pepper, bay leaf and wild roses, it stays fresh and lively on the palate, with medium-bodied richness and length.

Tenuta Rubino Oltreme Susamaniello ’14 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.

Sean Thackrey Pleiades XXVI   California     $23
26th version from this semi-legendary winemaker, an eclectic blend of sangiovese, pinot noir, viognier, zinfandel, syrah, and more; voluptuous and fragrant now, likely to improve with age.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting jan 4 ’19

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Bread Friday

Flax seed currant Ciabatta – Made with a poolish that ferments some of the flour and water overnight before being mixed into the final dough with fresh milled whole wheat and rye flours, and loaded up with flax seeds and dried currants, for a really flavorful artisan loaf – $5/piece

Black Pepper Walnut- Also made with a nice mix of bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye with a fair amount of black pepper and toasted walnuts with a good bit of peppery bite to it to pair well with all sorts of meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

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

Fourteenth Annual “East Coast New Year’s Eve” Report

In truth, attendance has been falling in recent years, making the celebration warmer, quieter, and more conversational than in earlier years. So it was a surprise this year when sometime around 8pm more and more people began showing up, bringing with them their Body Heat, their Voices, and yes, Bless Them, Wonderful things to Eat! One of the many Great Things about this event is that the Food just keeps Getting Better! Everyone obviously put Great Effort into their dishes, and we are all (burp) Grateful. YUM!

We managed to Impress (i.e., Shanghai) an Unsuspecting  Guest to take on the Thankless task of picking both the Best Looking and the Best Tasting dishes of the night, which receive gift certificates of $15 and $25 each, respectively.

 

 

Best-Looking dish went to Vicki D, who assembled this colorful platter of cheese-tomato-basil-balsamic mini-skewers, decked out in Holiday Colors, and in Precise Formation. Lovely and Delicious!!!

Unfortunately, we seem to have missed out getting a photo of Mary Beth’s Best-Tasting Dish, which involved a delicious construction of pastry-wrapped salmon with a spicy jam that made a perfect complement! Two Yums Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January Hours

Our habit over many years has been to close the shop for January and much of February. This year there is no plan as yet, so for the time being we will be open as usual through January, including Bread Fridays from 4-6:30 and Saturday afternoons from 2-6.

So, weather permitting, Bread and Wine Will Happen through January!

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Lessons from Psychohistory

Okay, folks, today marks a Turning Point in the Tweetster’s Home Invasion Plan. He has Officially been evicted from several dozen Congressional Districts, and whether or not that turns out  be a Great Thing, it is in itself a  Hopeful and Comforting Thing.

The unexpected and unwanted Anomaly he represents in the Political Order of our Time, reflected globally in the ascension of nascent Authoritarians across the Planet in recent years, is reminiscent of a similar  Dystopian Diversion from Expections described in great detail in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, a pioneering work of Sci-Fi with plot elements dating back to the 1940’s.

The Big Idea in the series is the that the science of Psychohistory, a melding of history, sociology, and statistical analysis, could, in very broad strokes, predict the general trends of future history with a surprising degree of accuracy. And for a Very long time predictions went pretty well. However, the tools of Psychohistory had no way to predict anomalous phenomena. We could call it the “S%it Happens” Problem; all kinds of things happen Out of the Blue, without warning, that No One Could Have Foreseen.

Such was the case in the Foundation Series with a character known only as “The Mule,” who exemplified for Asimov the Wild Card, the embodiment of the Unexpected and Irrational. The Bad News is that we have Our Own  Mule in the Oval Office, and no one saw him coming. He has a certain hypnotic and Destructive Charisma and a Mastery of Modern Media that let him Hold the Spotlight on Himself while he clumsily dismantles the very Structure of Government.

The Good News from Asimov’s Vision is that the Big Trends in Human History, like the Tides, follow an Abiding Rhythm that may veer off course from time to time but in the long run return to normal Seasonal Variation. We shall see…

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 7,546 as of 1/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Phantom Chardonnay ’16     Calif    $17
Fermented and aged sur lie without oak; delivers rich aromas of white and yellow fruits, with bright crisp notes of citrus zest, honey, apple, and spicy minerality on the long, broad finish.

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

Altos Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda  ‘15   Argentina       $11
Bright ruby color; spicy aromas of fresh cherries and a balanced acidity that makes it fresh and juicy in the mouth, where fine tannins provide a long and pleasant finish.

Perazzeta Maremma Toscana Sangiovese ’15  $12
Handpicked grapes from soils of ancient seabed fossils and aged for a year in neutral oak; bursts rich, ripe flavors and aromas of dark cherry, rosemary, sea salt, and violets.

La Baronne Alaric ’12    France       $27
Made from 120 yr-old Carignan vines (1892); aromas of plum, pepper, toast and spicy oak; palate is smooth, complex, and long on the finish with cask aging of great class (12 months in Taransaud/Darnajou barrels). Organic culture. Ideal with rich meat dishes.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting dec 28 ’18 New Year’s Weekend

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Bread Friday

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 c with a swirl of cinnamon sugar, instead the cinnamon is mixed into the dough and flavors the entire bread. It is a hearty rustic loaf. Great for breakfast toast, even better for french toast – $5/loaf

And pastry this week…

Panettone – Panettone is an italian brioche traditional during the Christmas holidays, when it includes candied orange peel and raisins and is made as a large loaf. It includes lots of sugar, butter, eggs and honey and is flavored with almonds, dried cherries, and chocolate chips and topped with a chocolate glaze. Great as a pastry, sliced for toast or french toast, or for bread pudding – 2/$5

 

Fourteenth Annual “East Coast New Year’s Eve” and Finger Food Faceoff

 ¤  7-9pm on New Year’s Eve!

 ¤  We provide the wine, and You bring something delicious to share!

 ¤  For you Newcomers: When The Ball drops in Times Square three hours East, we all hoist our glasses, toast our Good Fortune to live in this wonderful community, belt out Auld Lang Syne, and toast our Best Hopes that 2019 brings Healing, Kindness, and Wisdom  to our Country and our Planet.

¤  This event is our annual opportunity to Thank all of you for your warm support during past year  and toast to even more good times in Aught-Nineteen!

¤  Arrrr, lads and lassies, mark yer calendars ‘n’ start plannin’ yer finger foods, cuz we will again be circulatin’ a Secret Operative to sample the dishes and select the Yummiest (wins a $25 credit!), and Yummiest-Looking (wins a $15-dollar credit! So make ’em Tasty an’ make ’em Purty, eh…?!

 

Holiday Hours

 

Bread Friday, Dec 28, 4-6:30pm

Saturday, Dec 29, 2-6 pm

Monday, Dec 31, 7-9 pm New Year’s Eve Party

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Countdown to Divided Government

It’s been a Long and Agonizing Two Years, and we welcome the return of Divided Government a mere week from today. It is Comforting to hope that the Worst might be Over. At the very least, control of the House and its Committees should slow the gleeful dismantling of the New Deal that Republicans have been wetting their pants about for the last 80 years, and working at with a Vengeance since the Tweetster stole Power with the help of the Russians.

Numerous reports in the last two years suggest the existence of (we are not making this up) “Tweetster Anxiety Disorder” that has driven millions of Americans, especially Boomers and Millennials, to seek counseling. Depression and anxiety have both been on the increase since the 2016 so-called “election.” We have been experiencing it ourselves for two years now, as have many of our wine shop regulars. It feels like the crushing out of life-long hopes, dreams, and expectations that we really were the Good Guys, we really were a Melting Pot, and America really was a Dream Come True.

Those of us who were kids in the Fifties, even in the lower middle class, grew up in a post-WWII Bubble of safety, security, and the expectation of a Benign Future, and everything the Tweetster says and does seems to deliberately Target those long-held assumptions and expectations in deeply threatening ways. His basic Daily Message is Angry, Self-centered, Humorless, and Blaming. He has a Gift for Division by appealing to people’s Worst Instincts, perhaps because they are the only instincts he has. And in the process he manages to say “Make America Great Again” feel as if he really means “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.”

So we offer a Toast that the coming year gives our Lost Dreams of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité New Hope and puts them Back on Track. Aye mates, raise yer glasses ‘n’ Let It Be…!

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 6,420 as of 11/2/18

 

This week’s wine tasting

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

Fabre en Provence Cru Classe Rose ’16     France   $12
Steely pink color. Aromas of watermelon, lime, kiwi, and agave nectar with a bright, dryish light body and a breezy underripe strawberries and flint finish with soft, fruit tannins and no oak. A tart rose;

Bocelli Sangiovese ’16       Italy      $14
Bright, lush, and appealing; deliciously ripe and smoky, with notes of marasca cherry, granite, and rhubarb compote. Finish is long and dry, with admirable acidity that makes the palate taut and pleasing.

Carmen Carmenere ’16     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.

Maryhill Zinfandel ’13      Washington    $14
Aromas of toasty chestnuts; bold red fruit is well framed with rich leather and cedar,  awash with holiday spice, cinnamon and marionberry flavors. A deep cherry undertone leads to a velvety soft coconut finish.

Wine Tasting