lummi island wine tasting jul 14 ’18 Bastille Day

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Bread Friday this week

French Country Bread – A levain bread made with mostly bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and and a bit of toasted wheat germ. After building the levain with a sourdough culture and mixing the final dough it gets a long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator to develop a great rustic country loaf. – $5/loaf

Brioche Loaves – Loaded with eggs and butter, a little milk and some sugar for a tender crumb and luscious flavor. Fermented in the refrigerator overnight, then formed into loaves and put into loaf pans for baking. Makes great toast and even better French Toast – $5/loaf

…and for pastry this week, continuing our French theme

Kouign Aman: As with croissants, has both a little levain for the sourdough flavor as well as some pre-fermented dough to help build strength. When rolling out however, instead of using flour to prevent sticking, sugar is used. The dough is cut into squares and baked in cupcake tins where all that sugar and butter caramelizes and makes for delicious, crunchy, delightful pastry.  – 2/$5

 

 This Weekend

Lots going on! We are in Oregon with our trailer on grandparently duty. Simple thing, right? But then there are always those little things that our Imaginations don’t always consider as Worth Worrying About.

Like, okay, just because you usually hit the road in your trailer in the colder months, when there is never a shortage of sites, doesn’t mean you should take for granted that it will be the same in the summer, when every family in America is On The Road.

Or, just because for 99.999% of our experience, Interstate Highways, particularly though high-volume areas like Seattle, are open as best they can to deal with more traffic than design specs doesn’t mean that at random several miles of your route can’t be taken Offline for Maintenance for several days.

Or, just because the many times you have stayed at the local Fairgrounds RV park have somehow unconsciously assured you that it will be available 24/365 doesn’t mean that it doesn’t Close Completely for a month in the summer because it is, after all, a Fairground with Camping, not a campground with the Occasional Fair.

Sometimes Common Sense is a bit Elusive.

 

Mar a Lago Update: Interdependence or Autocracy?

In a recent Salon interview, author and career intelligence operative Malcolm Vance provided an array of insights on the Tweetster’s Mad Experiment in Government and his Apparent Goal of making Vladimir Putin the Happiest Man in the World. Not only has be been actively undermining NATO since he stole office, he has successfully enlisted the active cooperation and support of Congressional Republicans, who have abandoned Principle after Sacred Principle to Stay in his Favor…like keeping Russia at Heel with a strong NATO alliance and supporting “Free Trade” around the world (well, the Megacorporate version, anyway).

In Today’s World, due in no small measure to concerted Russian cyberattacks, we have seen a proliferation of Autocratic candidates vie for leadership in both Eastern and Western Europe, with varying degrees of success. They share a Narrow View of the World which aggrandizes this or that Ethnic Superiority as the Good Old Days, or as the Tweetster is fond of saying, “Make America Grate  Again,” which many of us have been doing for the past couple of years.

Despite the Steady Forty Percent of bigots, shallow thinkers, religious fanatics, gazillionaire capitalists, uneducated white males, women married to uneducated white males, stoners, latent racists, people who have to blame Someone, and of course habitual and unquestioning Republicans (but we may repeat ourselves), our only hope is that within the ranks of sensible and thoughtful Republicans (if there are any) we will find Allies who recognize the Mortal (and Permanent) Danger the Tweetster represents to Our Country’s future.

From this point in time, the Future is likely to unfold in one of two directions, each of which, as we have noted before, is Dystopian to one side and Utopian to the other, which seems True but is Really Hard to Get Your Head Around: toward Ethnic Insularity or Global Interdependence. At the moment the Tweetster is bound hell for leather toward the autocratic, fundamentalist, racist, Lowest Denominator of Human Traits, and he’ll take democracy with him if we don’t find a way to Stop Him.

 

This week’s wine ta sting

Martorana Insolia ’17    Italy    $17
Straw-yellow with hints of green; aromas of flowers and tropical fruits, and flavors featuring citrus, nuts and herbs, a soft acidity, finesse and elegance.

JM Cinsault Rose ’17   Washington    $23
Bigger, more textured, and more aromatic than one expects from a rosé; in the dark could be mistaken for a full-bodied white blend…delicious!

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!

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.

JM Cellars Bramble Bump Red  ’15    Washington    $25
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 13% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, made to enjoy now. Big and powerful with strong tight blue and black berry fruits.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting july 6 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Polenta Levain – Made with a levain preferment, then mixed with bread flour and
polenta in the final dough mix for a nice rustic loaf with great corn flavor. – $5/loaf

Pan de Cioccolate – A delicious chocolate artisan bread. Made with
a levain preferment for a rich chocolate bread made with bread flour and fresh milled rye
flour, honey, vanilla and dark chocolate.  – $5/loaf.

And our pastry this week…

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with lots of butter, eggs and
sugar and rolled out with pastry cream and dark chocolate. The dough is folded over all that delicious filling and cut into
individual pieces. 2/$5

 

Barred Owl

Owls being what they are– nocturnal, silent hunters who keep to themselves– encountering one is always a little Magical. So it was last week when we were on a usual neighborhood dog walk. As we rounded a curve on our own road we spotted a strange silhouette on a low branch quite close to the road. We slowed our pace to find a backside view of some kind of Owl (!), and then slowed even more, already awed by the rare daylight sighting.

As we came alongside it was clear the bird was sleeping, with its head turned to the side and eyes closed. However, as we stared it moved its head to the front and opened its eyes directly at us…OMD! But it didn’t fly away, it just held its pose, in a way that we could imagine was saying something Shaming and Wise, subtly accusing us of various levels of Karmic Intrusion. Let’s face it, these birds have an Archetypal Mystery, Power, and Dignity, and every rare encounter has a Strange Magic, leaving us with a feeling of How Wonderful That Such Creatures Exist!

 

 

 

 

Alsace Pinot Gris

A couple of weeks ago Judy dropped by with her Giant Wine Bag and poured us some Samples. The first wine was an Alsation pinot gris at just the right temperature and just the right amount of aeration. We have all learned over the years that Wine Moments Happen at random…for some reason you go somewhere, you have some wine, and for Whatever Reason it Resonates in the Moment.

So it was with this Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris. We tasted though the other samples but kept sneaking back to this one, marvelling at how great it tasted. So of course we ordered some and are pouring it for you this weekend. Alsace you may recall is a wine region of northeastern France bordering on Germany, which over the centuries has been variously part of France or part of Germany to the point where it should probably become its own country.

The wine is a bit off-day, with great compensating acidity, flavor profile, and texture, a Genuine Treat for the senses. But don’t take our word for it…come by this weekend and see for yourself!

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Crossroad to the Future

In the Great Epic War between Good and Evil there have been many Battles. So far none has been Decisive. But in the past week it’s all gone Up for Grabs, and yes, we Are talking about the Supreme Court, the Referees, the Rule-makers.

On the one hand it is Peculiar to find oneself lamenting the loss of Justice Kennedy, who voted with the Conservative (…um, What exactly are they trying to Conserve…?) Side of the Bench on many cases which have Broken Our Hearts, e.g. Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, while also occasionally siding with the liberal side of the Bench particularly on issues regarding marriage rights and gender identity.

On the other hand it is Heartbreaking to consider the Strong Likelihood that for the next thirty years or so the Court might be Stacked to the Corporate Will, eliminating environmental safeguards, consumer protections, gerrymandering excesses, women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, and the sanctity of “one person, one vote,” in favor of “one dollar, one vote.” The underlying feelings are of Rome Burning while Nero Fiddled,  the  Titanic sinking while the Band Played On,  and an Illegitimate so-called President who begins every day with “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…”

Bottom line: it’s the Not OK Corral, and Everything is At Stake.

 

This week’s wine tasting

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris ’16     Alsace     $21
Nose shows archetypal Alsatian limestone influence, with nice nutty, toasty and minerally hints. The palate is powerful and dense as aeration brings out some honey and ripe fruits with a velvety.

Teutonic Pinot Noir Rosé ’15    Oregon     $19
An elegant rosé that’s low in alcohol, showing  notes of dark plum, pink apples, and cassis. Voluptuous and succulent with fresh strawberry notes, good minerality, and zesty acidity.

Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo ’15   Washington   $21
Opens with aromas of red fruit, cherry, plum and spice notes. This sleek and silky Tempranillo unfolds into flavors of black currant, mocha, French vanilla with a lush and velvety tannin.

Lagone Aia Vecchio ’15       Italy    $14
“Super-Tuscan”blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv, and Cab Franc. Rich and expressive, with aromas of cherry, vanilla, raw beef, and herbs; structured palate of plum, wild berries, and hints of spice, with a long finish that begs for food.

Latta GSM ’13    Washington     $28
58% Grenache, 23% Syrah and 19% Mourvèdre ; mesmerizing aromas of kirsch, white pepper, boysenberry, black plum and raspberry with a hint of barrel spice, depth, and  texture, with lingering coffee notes  on the finish. a stunning wine, especially at this price.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 29 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Kamut Levain – Kamut, aka khorasan wheat, is an ancient grain that has more protein than conventional wheat. Some people who can’t tolerate wheat find kamut to be more digestible. This bread is made with a levain fermented overnight before being mixed with with bread flour and fresh milled whole kamut. It has a nutty, rich flavor and makes a golden color loaf. – $5/loaf

Barley & Rye w/ Pumpkin Seeds – Also made with an overnight fermented levain 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. A really flavorful artisan loaf – $5/loaf

and pastry this week …

Traditional Croissants – Made with a levain and “old dough” where a portion of the flour, water, salt and yeast is fermented overnight. The final dough is then made with butter, milk and sugar, laminated with more butter before being cut and shaped into traditional french croissants… some say these are the best ever!  2/$5

bard owl https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/species/graphics/owl_3.jpg

 

Rkaciteli

We have just received our semi-annual wine shipment of Italian wines from our friends at Seattle Importer Small Vineyards. So naturally we will be featuring a number of familiar Italian wines in the next few weeks. In recent years SV has also been branching out to bring in wines from “near” Italy, including Slovenia, Macedonia, and Croatia. New to us this time is an old Macedonian white grape varietal named Rkaciteli (“ree-kaht-see-TELL-ee.” ), which dates back nearly five thousand years to around 2800 B.C., Very Early in the Wine Game! No wonder Macedonia claims to have invented wine!

Its unique flavor profile is brisk, floral and invigorating, with a salt-tinged lemon zing,  hints of spicy apricot, orange zest, honeysuckle, red apple, a hint of a sherry, and tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and papaya. Wherever you are it can transport you to the Mediterranean, imagining the warm sun on your back and a cooling sea breeze in your face. At the same time its thick skin has helped it thrive in colder climates, where it delivers an opulent texture with bright acidity, a winning combination in any wine!

 

Salmonberries…Rubus spectabilis

Salmonberries, stalwart staples of the Pacific Northwest, look like raspberries but occur in yellow-orange (salmon), and darker red, depending on the season. Frequencies of the two morphs vary geographically, and if this year is any indication, by climate variation. In the last week the berries here on the Island have suddenly exploded into full ripeness. And unlike previous seasons, this year we see very distinctive differences in the color of the berries from plant to plant and even on the same plant, with some berries the usual bright yellow to orange, and others ranging from red-orange to dark purple, for no known reason. We can say that both we and birds generally prefer the red berries over the salmon colored.  (yes, we took this photo before we ate most of them…!).

Salmonberries are an important food source for local wildlife in early summer. Here on the Island in most years they are quite watery and bland, i.e. “taste one and call it a Season.” By comparison flavors  this year of both variations are the best we can recall, and every dog walk this week has involved a fair bit of salmonberry foraging.

Both the berries and the bark have also been an important food source for the indigenous people of the Northwest, who ate both the sprouts as well as the berries, either raw or mixed with oolichan grease or dried salmon spawn. The berries, which ripen from early May to late July in most of the Pacific Northwest, were seldom dried because of their high moisture content. And, blooming in early Spring, they often enjoy symbiotic pollination by Rufous Hummingbirds, which migrate north at the time of Salmonberry flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Obsolescence of Political Parties

It’s been a tough week for The Resistance. Clouds of Grim Foreshadowing have begun Swirling Even More Ominously over the Tweetster’s Mt. Doom Towers Worldwide, causing us to Lament, and Gnash Our Teeth. Where are Gandalf, and Frodo, and the Elves and the Forces of Good who will Comfort us and Restore the World of Benign Equilibrium we imagined would Always Persist in our Divinely Blessed America?

Alors, avec regret, mes amis, there is no Good News about that at the moment. However, for what it’s worth, yesterday we encountered a compelling and curiously encouraging Perspective on the issue in an op-ed by Thomas Friedman that we found engaging and thoughtful.

Of course we encourage you to read it for yourselves. But the essential feature to which we invite your consideration is, perhaps the most dear and valuable vis-a-vis Our Present and Future Dystopian Landscape,  a New Perspective, a Different Arrangement of the Pieces into a New and Compelling Theory of– as we ask Ourselves Every Morning, and what could be More Important– “Who Are We And What Are We Doing?!!”

Friedman’s Answer it that we are going through three Climate Changes at once, which together are reshaping our Core Concepts about work, learning, geopolitics, ethics and community (among others) in ways that demand more of our binary Left-Right Model than it is capable of delivering, including:

The This vs. That Binary Dichotomies that have defined politics in our Lifetimes are becoming Obsolete in a world in which each person is An Exception, a Unique Package with both Talents and Baggage in a Corporate Landscape that values Complete Interchangeability of Capital and Labor. Friedman argues that these forces portend a Future in which we can see emerging organically in many towns and communities across America a highly pragmatic and ad hoc approach to problem-solving which builds solidarity through the trust and bonds of friendship that are built from broad collaboration on big, hard challenges in local community settings.

All of which adds up to an Interesting, New, and in a way Post-Political Paradigm in which Locally Driven, Pragmatic Coalitions of Regional Interests with widely divergent political values can organize around Common Interests for a Common Good. Food for Thought.

 

This week’s wine tasting

Jordanov Rkaciteli ’15      Macedonia    $11
Brisk, floral and invigorating with a salt-tinged lemon snappiness; taut flavors of dried pineapple, mango, and papaya – finishing with pleasing notes of marzipan and taffy.

Perazzeta Sara Rosato ’16     Italy     $14
From the same grape as Brunello (sangiovese grosso), this beautiful rosato is rich, bold, and flinty while also crisp, summery, and light.

Monte Tondo Valpolicella ’16   Italy    
The grapes are dried for about a month in a well ventilated “fruttai” before pressing, and ultimately aged for five months in oak. Not a frivolous wine, it packs loads of sour black cherry aromas, spices, violets, and rosves.

Brunelli Apricale  ’16    Italy  $14
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!

La Quercia Montepulciano Riserva ’13   Italy      $18
100% organic montepulciano from low-yield vines; rich, port-like nose of candied cherries that carry through on the expressive, rich, earthy palate; nice balance of fruit and acidity.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 22 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Buckwheat Rye – fresh milled buckwheat and rye are soaked for 8 hours without any yeast in a method known as an autolyse. As buckwheat and rye don’t have much gluten this allows what little gluten there is to start developing and really gets the enzymes going before the final mix. This soaker is mixed with bread flour, salt and yeast and a bit of honey. Makes great toast – $5/loaf

Black Pepper Walnut- made with a nice mix of flours, bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A fair amount of black pepper and toasted walnuts give this bread great flavor with just a bit of peppery bite to it. Would go well with all sorts of meats and cheese – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Palmiers aka Elephant Ears – made with puff pastry rolled out, spread with sugar,  folded over and sliced. Makes a delightful, crisp, crunchy, buttery, sugary pastry.  – 4/$5

 

Short Blog Tonight

We were in town all day today, attending a wine tasting (you know, Work!), running errands, and then meeting up with some of you for another Amazing Dinner in town at Ciao Thyme. Celebrating the First Day of Summer, the menu include lots of fresh ingredients, was creative and delicious, and got us home very late…pushing midnight as I write. Hope to see you all this weekend!

 

Adorada Rose

Lately we seem to be on some kind of detour from our Ongoing Mission of support for small, creative wineries with Artistic and Environmental Integrity who, wherever they are on the Planet, strive to bring the fruit of every harvest into Harmony with some Cosmic Intention, helping each wine Unfold without Will and without Desire into a True and Full Expresson of Itself. Admittedly, it’s a vaguely spiritual goal and something of a long-term winemaker’s Koan: as each season yields its annual product, how can we best facilitate its True self-expression without the intrusion of personal ego?

Last week we offered for tasting an over-the-top cabernet sauvignon called Juggernaut, deliberately crafted for concentrated flavors, sensual aromas, and lingering finish. And this week we offer a similarly designed rosé called Adorada. The philosophy behind both wines is similar: begin with the marketing image and then craft the wine to match. In the case of Juggernaut, it meant big, extracted fruit with matching label graphics. In the case of Adorada, it means just the right color, flavor profile, and minimalist design profile to make the wine into a Fashion Statement. Maybe making wine is one art, and selling it is another…hard to accept for some of us old-timers. But we tasted it and priced it as with all our wines, and despite the Style Campaign, we found it a well-made wine at a reasonable price, and we think you will, too. And yes, it comes in a very stylish package. Which leads us to the basic question:  are we persuaded by the package, to like it better than we would if tasting it blind (bottle and label covered by a paper bag)…?

 

Mar a Lago Update: Truth and Lies

Let’s face it, admit it, and give both Credit and Blame as deserved: the Tweetster is is most Blatant, Unapologetic, Compulsive, and Unrepentant Liar that any of us has ever Seen or even Imagined. And even more amazing, the Lying is such a Hallmark of Who and What he Is, or more precisely, who and what he Pretends to Be, that his supporters are Oblivious to it, and his detractors get more and more exhausted Rolling Their Eyes.

Are there really still people out there who haven’t noticed that the Official Tweetster Truth Changes from moment to moment and from day to day? Or is it more that they just Don’t Care, or can’t tell Giant, Blatant, Knock You Down and Rub Your Face in them Lies from actual, observable, reliable, the same today, tomorrow, and every day Facts?

The last two weeks of “It’s Obama’s Fault,” and “Our Hands are Tied” justifications for separating immigrant families detained at our border have been Proven to have been Lies, Whole Lies, and Nothing but Lies, yet nothing seems to have changed. The Tweetster’s supporters double down on “He’s Our Guy,” the fractious Republican Congress remains torn between Far Right and Way, Way Far Right, and both Truth and Lies have now achieved Equal Standing on our Political Stage. Opinion is no longer based on the merit of arguments, but rather on their Alignment with Our Predisposed opinions.

 

This week’s wine tasting

Mer Soleil Unoaked Chardonnay ’15   California    $17
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.

Adorada “eau de California” Rosé ’16 California       $19
Brilliant coral color with aromas of strawberries and red grapefruit, rose petal, and jasmine; palate of strawberry, orange zest and a touch of white pepper spice and bright acidity to balance the fruity creaminess.

Morellino di Scansano Maremma Toscana Capoccia ’15    Italy    $11
Bright and clean with a dark color, soft cherry fruit and structure, but nice weight and a juicy finish. Fruit forward without being sweet or alcoholic. Great value.

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.

Turner Pageot Le Rouge  ’14    France     $19
Red wine from biodynamic vines, 80% grenache and 20% syrah; heady nose of mixed red and black fruits, brioche, polished leather, iodine, tobacco and spice; full bodied and well balanced, scarlet and spicy, bright yet brooding.

 

Wine Tasting