lummi island wine tasting march 24 ’17

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

dscn1364 (Modified)Barley & Rye with Pumpkin Seeds- After fermenting the levain overnight the final dough of this bread includes bread and barley flour as well as fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A little buttermilk makes for a soft crumb, some honey for a little sweetness to balance all those whole grains and toasted pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch. This is a very flavorful bread that would go well with meats and cheese -$5/loaf

Kamut – an ancient grain rediscovered in modern day Iran a number of years ago. It is also known as khorasan wheat. It has great flavor and some say it is more digestible than modern day wheat. This bread is made with bread flour and fresh milled whole grain kamut and makes a great all around bread that makes really good toast – $5/loaf

And something different for pastry this week…

Pane de Cioccolata – aka “chocolate bread.” This bread is a rich chocolate artisan bread, not a soft brioche or sweet bread, but has great chocolate flavor. Made with bread flour and a bit of fresh milled whole wheat and rye, as well as honey, vanilla and a bit of espresso to bring out the chocolate flavor before being loaded up with chocolate chips. Great toasted with coffee, or maybe even french toast – $5/loaf

Early Rosé

DSCN1490It’s not exactly Spring around here. At least not the Spring we have gotten used to. More like Springs of the past, when it was hard to tell if March was coming or going as a Lion or a Lamb, or both, or neither.

Sure, as in typical PNW Spring, we have had numerous days in which we have enjoyed a bit of Rain, a bit of Wind, a bit of Sun, and a bit of Hail while temperatures swing wildly from 40-ish to 60-something. But This Time it is Different. Though I did see one little batch of daffodils on today’s dog walk, there are NOT yet daffodils in the other usual places for this time of year. Like, you know, our own yard.

Nevertheless, in our Quest for some semblance of Normality in these Dystopian times, we are this weekend Shifting into our Customary Spring-Summer wine-tasting pattern of one white, one rosé, and three reds. Yes, we may be overly Optimistic (you might be surprised to know we are often accused of Incurable PollyAnna-ism), but we Deeply Believe that the Mere Idea of drinking Rosé is enough to hasten the Arrival of Spring!

We have Heard your Calls and Feel your Pain. So: Come Rain, come Snow, come Sleet, come Hail, Hell, or High Water, we are pouring rosé a tad earlier this year as an Enticement to Spring. Come on, folks, You gotta Believe…!


Invasion of the Body Snatchers

This classic 1956 sci-fi film has been sometimes seen as a shining example of Cold War fear of Communist Infiltration, but also seen as a cautionary tale about Creeping Totalitarianism in the Post-McCarthy Era. It was seen by some as an indictment of the suburban conformity of the post WWII conformity and by others  as a protest against the loss of emotion, imagination, and individual identity in an increasingly Mechanized Age.  read more

My own impression, having seen it on the “big” screen in the fifties, was that it was that, while it was almost devoid of the Usual Sorts of Violence, it remains one of the most Terrifying films I have seen. Briefly, a bunch of Giant Seed Pods from Outer Space find their way to Earth. If one gets left near your house when you go to sleep, the pod becomes a Womb that Delivers a Clone that replaces “You.” Like, kind of a “Stepford Wife.” Looks like you, sounds like you, but not You, because “you” had been taken over by The Pod while you slept. Resistance was, like, Totally Futile…the frightening scene here is the Pod growing in the back yard, the Victim trying Every Trick to Stay Awake, and, Inevitably, No One can stay awake For Very Long. Yeah…very Creepy!

I bring this up because this morning Democracy Now!  presented a provocative analysis of exactly how DJT actually became President. The short version is that his “election” was the wildly unlikely outcome of a Broad Conspiracy that included Donald Trump, Breitbart News Guy Steve Bannon, and most importantly, eccentric Billionaire Robert Mercer.

The Rough Outline is that: a) Trump surrogates Bannon and Conway are long-time Mercer operatives; b) Mercer is a Far, Far Right Neo-Fascist who spent billions on a brilliantly focused propaganda campaign to discredit Hillary Clinton and get Trump elected; and c) Mercer has close ties with the Alt-Right movement and its goal to dismantle Government authority over all aspects of the Private Sector.


This week’s  wine tasting

San Pietro Alto Adige Pinot Grigio ’15      Italy    $12
Straw yellow in the glass with a nose of tropical fruits and hints of honey. The palate is fruity with excellent freshness and balanced acidity.

Villa des Anges Rosé ’15   France    $10
Spicy and focused on the nose, showing fresh citrus and red berry and a hint of white pepper. Dry and nervy on the palate, with refreshing bitter cherry and berry skin flavors.

Rio Madre Rioja Graciano ’14       Spain      $10
Brilliant violet color. Intensely perfumed dark berry and scents of anise, violet and pipe tobacco. Sweet and expansive, offering sappy black and blue fruit flavors, with energy and power on the lingering finish.

Goose Ridge g3 Red ‘`14     Washington    $14
Syrah-cab-merlot blend; supple ripe plum and blackberry notes with hints of spice, vanilla, black currant and Bing cherry. Nicely balanced with a lush, round mouth and a long, lingering finish.

Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico ’14 Italy $18
Fermented with ambient yeasts and aged in cement for up to eight months to rest and lock in its fruity freshness; easy palate of bright berry; silky and seductive mouthfeel.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting st. patty’s weekend ’17

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

No Bread this week

no bread todayJanice, our Stalwart Baker and indefatigable basketball fan, is away this week on an annual pilgrimage to some early tiers of March Madness. A long-time Spokane resident, she has a particular thang for Gonzaga, so the better the Bulldogs do, maybe the less bread there might be in your future…hmm

All you need to know is that there is no bread pickup this week. Those of you on the bread order mailing list should hear from her Sunday or Monday with the details of next week’s offerings.

It also means that for the first time this year we will be on the more “formal” tasting regimen (see wines below) both Friday and Saturday.


Robert Blake concert this Sunday

This Sunday, March 19,  we are hosting a return concert with our friend and singer-songwriter Robert Sarazin Blake, from 4-6 pm in the wine shop.

Robert 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. Almost exactly a year ago he did his first concert with us, and we are delighted to have him back for a repeat performance.

Btw, our shop is a great venue for acoustic music, and Robert’s concert last year was great fun!

Suggested performance donation is a modest $15 per person, and a selection of wines will be available by the glass.

We only have room for about 20 people, and we are close to booked. If you want to attend, you should call or email asap!


Lost and Found

northfaceFrom time to time visitors to the wine shop leave behind various artifacts: hats, purses, credit cards, sunglasses, and jackets. Sometime around the Holidays someone left this quite new-looking North Face jacket on the much-admired Hat Tree in the bathroom.

It is black, very lightweight, with a hood. It is a men’s jacket, and fits me perfectly, thank you very much, so if someone doesn’t come to pick it up soon, it may get, um, conscripted into usefulness. So please contact us if it is yours or if you have an idea whose it might be.






Circling the Drain

photo by Gordon Wrigley

Tensions are running high in the New Amerika. As Rod Serling used to say, “you are traveling in Another Dimension,” in this case one where the Mad Hatter has become the most Powerful Person in the World, yet continues Speaking in Riddles and Blustering Nonsense, Filling the air with Confusion, and Ushering in the new Post-Fact Society.

And yet, despite his Madness, he seems to have reached deep into the Lovecraftian sewers, impossibly deep and hidden tunnels Below Us and called forth the Unspeakable Creatures of Loathing that have dwelt there Time Out of Mind. He has called them forth to be his Dark Lords and charged them with extinguishing All Hope and All Light, to fill every heart with Despair and Hopelessness, and Condemn them to an Eternity of Suffering.

On the other hand, it also fits the daily data dumps that somehow the Three Stooges have inadvertently taken over the country, and of course not being the Brightest Bulbs in the Box, have no idea how anything works, but are Completely Clear that the reason things don’t work the way they want is because there is a Conspiracy Against Them.

Bottom line: it doesn’t matter if this so-called Administration is the Embodiment of Evil or the Incarnation of Idiocy. Either way– or both ways at once– either way, the longer they are allowed to continue their Charade of Governing, the more grim becomes the Future of our Entire Planet.

If every single one of us committed a few minutes every day to do something concrete to fight this Menace, we can make a difference. This paragraph is what I am doing Today.

On that note, we hope to see you all this weekend, either Friday (no bread!), Saturday (low key and good for conversation), or Sunday’s Concert (another chance to celebrate Life)…!


This week’s wine tasting

Idilico Albarino ’15   Washington       $14
Pale lemon-yellow. Aromas of ginger apple and quinine; supple and easy to drink, showing moderate energy and lift to its apple fruit. A bit sweet/sour on the persistent, saline finish.

Altos Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda  ‘15   Argentina       $9
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.

Tenuta la Favola Fravolato
Fruity, with notes of strawberries and cherries; fresh, round, elegant and pleasant fruit extraction, with a strong aftertaste of cherries and plums. An elegant and charming wine!

Kaiken “Ultra” Malbec ’14    Argentina   $17
Floral, spicy aromas of blueberries and blackberries, with flavors of toasty and chocolate; inish is fresh, complex, and persistent with subtle spicy undertones.

Marqués de Valdueza Grand Vino de Guarda ’07 Spain $29
Old school Spanish style; lots of barrel time yields opaque cherry color with garnet edge; powerful, expressive nose of roasted almonds and sweet spices; and soft palate of dark ripe fruits and berries, with a textured palate softened by time.

Wine Tasting

You’re invited! Sunday Concert March 19 with Robert Blake!

Sunday Concert March 19!

Next Sunday, March 19,  we are hosting a return concert with our friend and singer-songwriter Robert Sarazin Blake, from 4-6 pm in the wine shop.

Robert 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. Almost exactly a year ago he did his first concert with us, and we are delighted to have him back for a repeat performance.

Our shop is a great venue for acoustic music, and Robert’s concert last year was great fun!

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 let us know as soon as possible if you would like to attend!

Learn more about Robert’s music here.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting march 10 ’17

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

dscn1364 (Modified)Buckwheat Rye- Buckwheat flour has an earthy flavor that really goes will with meats and cheese. This version is made with a mix of bread and buckwheat flours as well as some fresh milled whole rye meal. The rye and the buckwheat are mixed with the water for a few hours to get the enzymatic activity started and to allow the grain to hydrate before mixing the final dough, which also has some honey to balance the flavor of the grains. Neither buckwheat or rye has as much gluten as bread flour so this bread is a bit more dense that a white flour loaf -$5/loaf

Multi-Grain – Full of whole grain goodness as well as plenty of seeds! Made with a mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye flour Loaded up with a nice mix of flax, sunflower and sesame seeds as well. Made with a portion of the flour that is preferemented overnight to enhance the flavor and jump start the natural enzyme activity in fermentation. Makes great toast – $5/loaf

And for a bit of pastry –

Brioche Tart au Sucre A rich brioche dough full of butter and eggs, rolled out and topped with a bit more sugar, eggs and cream before baking. Makes for a rich and decadent pastry. As always I can only make a limited number and when they’re gone, they’re gone and you have to wait for the next appearance- 2/$5

Friday-Saturday Wine Tastings

dscn1247 (Modified)For the next few weeks we will continue the Impromptu Tasting model that has evolved when we are away. That is, when people come in to pick up their bread, someone (anyone) can select a bottle of wine from the displays which is then shared in the community tasting. This continues as more bottles are opened and distributed, like, you  know, Loaves and Fishes, until Empty, and a Good Time is had by All!

Then on Saturday we have the more structured tasting; see list below.

Why not come Both Days?..!





Letters to Congress

rally sign mod1When one becomes disoriented, or traumatized (shades of the same thing), the default mammal response is to raise your head, Get your Bearings, and Reorient. As the signs used to say: Stop, Look, and Listen…and wait for the panicky part of you to integrate your current experience into Some Kind of Meaning.

When Disorientation is Too Much for us to handle, we feel like that painting called The Scream, where  things are too Out of Control to make sense of, at least at the moment. These days I can only get so far toward integrating what has happened to Our Country in the last few months, as summed up in this sign I saw at the local Women’s March in January; it pretty well captures how I feel about the current state of our Nation, and why it feels rational to refuse to accept it.

Although we as individuals are powerless, I believe, as Bernie has emphasized, that if millions of us commit to even small actions, it will make a difference. Therefore my commitment is to write a daily, somewhat personal letter to someone who might have a Voice for Change. So far I have only sent three: John McCain, Steven Beshear, and Susan Collins. However futile, it feels curiously nourishing. I do believe that if we All do it, it Will make a difference!


Letters for Algernon

Curiously, when I started writing the above paragraph tonight, the title of this section popped into my head, and I was a bit baffled by how my Unconscious connected Algernon to current politics.

As some of you older folks will recall, way back in the late fifties Daniel Keyes wrote a short story, “Flowers for Algernon,” that won many awards, eventually becoming first a novel and then the movie “Charly,” for which Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award for Best Actor. The basic theme is that an intelligence-enhancing drug makes a lab mouse named Algernon super-intelligent. It is then tried on a retarded young man named Charlie, who jumps from an IQ of 68 to 185. But the effect is temporary, as for-some-months-brilliant Charlie figures out, and his awareness of his inevitable reversion to his former state evoked a particularly poignant sense of grief in the reader. Heavy stuff.

Upon reflection, some two-thirds of our entire Nation is somewhere between the Denial Stage and the Angry Stage of Grief that somehow Yet Another Republican Coup has taken place in our country, with Truly Alarming implications for the future of our Country and, indeed, Civilization As We Know It.

So. Algernon is a symbol of the Profound Sadness we have all been experiencing since November. It feels like the End of the World. But even though we are just lab mice in the latest Republikaaner Experiment, we can still write our millions of little letters, squeak our millions of little squeaks, and make every tiny step they take an Excruciating Ordeal. Mmmmm. Ahhhh, It’s a Curiously Soothing Fantasy…!


Saturday’s wine tasting

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes ’14   Argentina    14
Highly perfumed aromas of lemon drop, white flowers, peppermint and white pepper. Supple, pliant and easygoing, with citrus, herbal and floral flavors joined by a hint of licorice.

El Castro de Valtuille Bierzo ’12    Spain     90 pts    $15
Pungent aromas of dried cherry, blackcurrant and licorice. Juicy, concentrated and focused, offering smoky, mineral-accented cherry and licorice flavors and a clinging, spice-tinged finish.

Celler Can Blau Can Blau ’14         Spain      91pts    $15
Aromas of ripe black and blue fruit with smoky mineral and licorice notes; Seamless texture, with sweet boysenberry, floral pastille and snappy spiciness. Finishes silky and long, with a sneaky tannic grip.

Rubino Punta Aquila Rosso     Italy     $15
Fragrant and rich, with fascinating mineral aromas, with notes of brandied cherries, mulberry jam, blueberry and blackcurrant, and spices; warm, complex, generous and vibrant.



Wine Tasting