lummi island wine tasting may 24-25 ’19 Artists Studio Tour

Friday Breads This Week

Pain au Levain – Made with 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

Sweet Corn & Dried Cranberry – Made with polenta and bread flour, 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

Bear Claws! – Made with a danish pastry dough rich in cream, eggs, sugar and butter. The dough is rolled out and spread with almond paste, powdered sugar, egg whites and just a bit of cinnamon to round out the flavor. Then, because bears love honey, topped with a honey glaze after baking. – 2/$5

 

 

Studio Tour Artists

Lummi Island hosts three Artists’ Studio Tours a year: Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and, of course, the Second Weekend in November (it’s a Long Story). This Tour we are hosting paintings of birds by Anne Gibert together with knitted bags with embroidered birds by Sue McCaslin.

We put up the show a couple of days ago; below are a few samples!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Tour is scheduled for 10am- 6pm on Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26th across the Island. As we go to press we are anticipating being open 10-6 on Saturday for Artists’ Meet and Greet, along with Wine Tasting from 1-6 pm. At present, with apologies, Sunday hours are uncertain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Question Authority, Think for Yourself

Some many years ago, Timothy Leary materialized as a speaker at WWU. It was sometime in the Reagan years, and he had been out of public view since the days of “Tune in, Turn on, Drop out” in the Sixties. His new Mantra was “Question Authority, Think for Yourself.” He went on at some length about this (see short video).  Since I was already dropped out, with irreconcilable Differences with anything that smacked of Authority, and a seething Disdain for the awful Presumptions of Authoritarianism, I mostly just Nodded, with a vague concern that before the evening was over he might try to sell me something. As if somehow all that Acid had Backfired on him, fried his Circuits, and left him Defenseless against Corporate Takeover.

In the years since, our entire Planet has continued accelerating toward the Right…you know, those people that H L Mencken had in mind when he said, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is Clear, Simple…and Wrong.”

One of the great puzzles of Human History is why Authoritarianism has had such consistent appeal in so many times and places, why so many across the world have so often willingly embraced it, and why the open ideas of the Left have been such Poison that the Right is compelled to Destroy them by any means possible. At the simplest level, for various reasons large numbers of individuals feel safe under the Thumb  of Authority Figures, while the rest of us only feel Safe when we have the freedom to pursue our own Muses.

As in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Forces of Light and Darkness are lining up for a Battle for the Future of Life on our Planet. The Authoritarians do not believe there is a Problem, but rather see the entire Planet only as a Field for Short-term Exploitation, just another Perk from the Dominion Over the Earth Thing morally enshrined in the Bible. For decades, going at least back to the first Earth Day in 1970, there has been a constant stream of scientific reports that have continually reinforced the network of facts about Global Warming and the increasing Existential Threat irresponsible human resource exploitation habits pose to the very existence of Life on Earth.

For more on this, listen to this recent episode of Hidden Brain…

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Elicio Rosé ’18    France    $12 
Syrah-grenache blend; bright vibrant pink; fruit-forward notes of fresh raspberries and summer flowers.

Demarie Langhe Arneis ’17    Italy    $16
Clean, minerally, refreshing, and thirst-quenching, with palate of citrus, pear, and green apple, and Great summer wine!

Coupe Roses La Bastide  ’17 France $12
Carignan-Grenache blend; aromas and flavors of the garrigue underbrush of the high Minervois, laced with  notes of blueberry and Carignan’s tarry black notes.

Demarie Barbera d’Alba ’16    Italy    $19
An ancient Italian varietal, this Barbera is big, round, with aromas of prune and spicy mulberry that linger on the palate with notes of plum, blackberry and cherry.

Corte Volponi Ripasso ’15     Italy    $21
A classic ripasso, with rich nose and flavors, good tannic backbone, and a great pairing for rich Italian fare.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting may 16-17 ’19

Friday Breads This Week

Flax seed currant Ciabatta – Made with a poolish that ferments some of the flour and
water overnight before being mixed with the final ingredients which includes a nice
mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye flours, loaded with flax
seeds and dried currants for a delicious bread. A really flavorful artisan
loaf! – $5/piece

Black Pepper Walnut- made from a similar 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 a peppery bite. Try with all sorts of meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

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 that are placed in baking forms for baking and then brushed with sugar syrup after baking. I’ve heard some people say they hide these to keep them all to themselves. Be sure and get your order in early as quantities are limited – 2/$5

 

Hearing is Believing

As mentioned last week, after many years of Consternation at the difficulty of hearing each other in the wine shop when more than a dozen people are present, we finally installed some sound absorbing panels over the bar. We had no idea what, if anything, would happen. As it turned out, though we did not have big (and Loud) crowds last weekend, we had enough of a gathering on both Friday and Saturday to detect a Noticeable Improvement, and that it was Good…even though it was not what our experience had allowed us to imagine beforehand.

At some point on both Friday and Saturday, we noticed that 1) the space was Still Loud, but 2) even so, we could still engage in conversation with those next to us, while 3) also being able to hear and distinguish the voices of all the other people in the space. It wasn’t something we could have imagined beforehand, but we are pleased that it makes the noise much more Coherent and much less Dissonant. Metaphorically it is like finding the adjustment on your binoculars where Everything Comes into Clear Focus and you can see clearly enough to differentiate the different objects you are seeing without having to give any up.

The Preliminary Takeaway is a cautious Optimism. It seems that the panels are quite effective at reducing the Distortion of the reverberating sound, dampening the reflections and making it more Coherent and Understandable. It is not an outcome/experience we could have imagined; nevertheless it is a clear Improvement and a fascinating lesson into how we experience sound waves! Who Knew?

 

Ad Lucem

For those of you (98%…?) who never took Latin, the rough translation of “Ad Lucem” is “Toward the Light.” It is also one of several labels used by Oregon wine industry pioneer Jerry Owen of Lady Hill winery, who was a founding partner in the well-respected Owen Roe winery in 1999. Lady Hill Winery is across the road from Champoeg State Park in the northern Willamette Valley in Oregon, where his ancestors settled in 1850. We have made it something of a habit to visit the winery whenever we bivouac at this very pleasant State Park, and have found it a pleasant destination with memorable wines and enjoyable conversations with Jerry. He has offered to drive up some weekend and pour some of his wines for all of us, and we hope we can make that happen.

The original release of the Ad Lucem wines had a nicely designed cork label (we can show you!) that caught our attention, so when we saw this Ad Lucem label on a distributor list last week we immediately ordered the wine, and are tasting it for the first time as we write. It is not disappointing! Blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre have been the centerpiece of Rhone Valley wine production for centuries, and this wine is another good example of why this is so.

 

Mar a Lago Update: Making Sure Climate Change Is a Debate Topic

Today we digress a bit from the Ongoing Frenzy of Lies and Counter-lies that has replaced dispassionate, political discussion in our Country to give Voice to the Most Vital Political Issue of our Lifetimes: How to Save Life on Earth from Extinction.

Since the first Earth Day in 1971, we Baby Boomers have watched the process of environmental degradation grow more and more out of control despite our best efforts. At every step progress on environmental preservation has been fought and resisted by those who profit by it and by denying its very existence.

In the summer of 1980, nearly forty years ago, I spent ten weeks at Battelle on a project exploring the likely economic costs of anthropogenic Climate Change. My assignment was to explore the impacts of climate change on world fisheries. The Takeaway here is that even forty years ago The Data told us we were in Big Trouble. The record since then shows a history of systematically ignoring, dismissing, dissembling, excusing, and denying these well-documented threats that has taken a Mind-Numbing Toll, to the point where our own species’ short-term perspective now threatens the future of All Life on Earth. Right now, Today, a Million species are poised for Extinction because of our actions; the Countless Micro-interdependencies among species that create soil, nourish plants, clean waterways, and Support Life are beginning to fail across our Planet.

And so to Our Point: the Presidential Debates are coming soon, and there are over 20 candidates. Only ONE of those candidates – our Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, has staked out a platform on the Defining Issue of our Time –reducing human-caused Climate Change. Therefore it is vitally important that Inslee’s voice be part of the national debate. The requirement for admission to the debates is that the candidate raise a certain amount of money from at least 65,000 individual donors.

Therefore we encourage all of you to donate at least one dollar to Inslee’s campaign so we can keep Climate Change at the forefront of National Debate through the coming Presidential Campaign.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Big Salt Oregon $15
Shows grit and chalky saltiness, with floral, honeysuckle and tropical fruit notes and pebbly minerality. An aromatic but not sweet, supremely satisfying sipper; an excellent food wine.

La Croix Belle Caringole Rosé ’17 France $12
Syrah-Grenache blend; intense nose of rose petals and pear-drop candies; palate of alpine strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries, with a citrus accent on the crisp finish.

Domaine La Croix Belle Caringole Rouge ’17      France       $12
Syrah, Carignan and Merlot blend from Languedoc’s Cotes de Thongue region; fresh and supple with flavors of cherry, and black olive, and herbs.

Maryhill Winemaker’s Red ’16      Washington       $11
Fruit-forward and smooth with hints of cherry, blueberry and red fruit. Off-dry with fruity notes on the palate accented by cherry and vanilla. Food-friendly and perfect for everyday enjoyment.

Lady Hill Ad Lucem Elaina Red ’15   Washington    $21
Grenache, syrah, mourvedre blend; aromas of toast, dark fruits and berries and grilled meat that expand into mouth-watering rich flavors and crisp acidity on the palate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting may 10-11 ’19

Friday Breads 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. This really allows the flavor to develop for a rustic loaf that you might find in the countryside. – $5/loaf

Pear Buckwheat – Buckwheat is a common flour used in the Breton region of France. It has a nice earthy flavor that in this bread is complemented with the flavors of dried pears and toasted walnuts. The preferment used is a poolish, made with bread flour, water and a bit of yeast and fermented overnight. The final dough is mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled buckwheat. The addition of toasted walnuts and dried pears soaked in white wine makes for a really flavorful bread! – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Gibassiers – A traditional french pastry made with a delicious sweet dough full of milk, butter, eggs and olive oil. The addition of orange flower water, candied orange peel and anise seed bring great flavor to these pastries. After baking they are brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with more sugar. Ooh La La a delightful pastry to go along with your morning coffee or tea. – 2/5$

 

Hearing is Believing…??

For as long as the wine shop has been open (14 years!) we have had a problem with sound reverberation.

When there are one, two, four, up to ten or so people at the bar, it is pretty easy for several people to be engaged in several conversation without raising their voices or having difficulty hearing. But somewhere around the 11th or 12th arrival pushes some kind of button, and all at once Everyone starts talking louder. With each arrival after that it just gets Worse, until it is difficult to hear what someone directly across the bar is saying to us.

One obscure method of speech volume management suggested by one of our long-time regulars (who was once into this sort of thing) was to raise the volume on our little Bose speakers playing from Pandora until it sort of matched the ambient level of conversational volume in the space. Curiously it does work to a certain extent, but a marginal one, and not nearly enough.

So for many years we have been promising to Do Something about it. After a fair amount of research we have decided to start with a few sound-absorbing pads on the ceiling. In theory they will dampen the reflection of sound waves and limit reverberation, making the sound more coherent and less dissonant.

The pads were mounted this afternoon, so this weekend is the Trial Balloon; let us know if you notice any difference!

 

Anne Amie

“Oregon” has become a Brand Name in the global Pinot Noir market. It has been a really very astute marketing move, and has been phenomenally successful in the last couple of decades promoting Oregon Pinot Noir. We like pinot as much or more than many, and do our best to sample whenever possible. Think of it as just one more perk of having a 3-yr-old grandson in Oregon…!

One of our most consistent favorites has been Anne Amie. As shown at left, to reach the winery you drive through a flat stretch alongside vineyards, then up a steep slope to the winery perched on top surrounded by more vineyards and a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside.

Although few things could be more lovely than relaxing with a lovely glass of pinot in a setting like that, we hope it will be almost as lovely for you to come by the wine shop this weekend during this glorious Spring Weather and try some for yourself. We have not tasted this particular vintage, and admit having found several disappointments in our recent tastings of Oregon pinots, so maybe this one won’t be to your taste. On the other hand, to date we have not had a pinot noir from Anne Amie that we have not enjoyed. We hope you will agree!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Showdown at the Not-So-Okay Corral

We can all agree that the past week has been a Nonstop Political Spectacle, with no sign of ending any time soon. It just keeps getting Worse, reminiscent of “Galloping Gertie,” the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which had a Fatal Design Flaw. By failing to consider how certain wind conditions could start the bridge oscillating in a way that amplified each oscillation instead of dampening it, the bridge self-destructed in Spectacular Fashion.

A similar phenomenon seems to be at play in our nation’s Body Politic, which appears headed for some kind of Showdown fairly soon at some not-so-okay Corral. In ordinary political circumstances, a conscientious search for common interests can build effective pathways to negotiation and compromise. But in the Strange World of the Tweetster, every “compromise” registers as a Loss which must be avoided–or punished–or buried– at all costs.

To complicate matters further, somehow over the past two years Republicans at every level have quietly been lining up in the Congressional Gym and drunk with Gusto the little paper cups of Mephistophilian Kool-Aid served by His Tweetsterness’s Obeisant Servants Kelliann and Sarah. Oblivious to the warnings of Mssrs. Cohen and Comey about the True Nature of the Faustian Bargain they are entering, they have all Double-Downed on their Fealty to the Dark Side with their ceaseless Mantra “No Collusion!” In recent days the Chorus has included Darth McConnell of course, along with L’il Lindsay, Dangerous Doug, and the rest. As Lt. Worf would accuse, “They have NO Honor!”

And this is really the Point here: Congressional Republicans have chosen to mischaracterize the Mueller Report as exonerating the Tweetster when it does no such thing. In doing so they have gone far beyond the allowable boundaries of “spin” or their customary dissembling into Outright, Bald-Faced Lying.  And Everybody Knows we have now crossed some kind of metaphysical Rubicon where even the concept of Truth is under constant attack. Time to Take a Stand.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Montinore Borealis White   Oregon   $15
Aromas of orange blossom, honeydew, guava and kiwi; sumptuous flavors of stone fruit, Meyer lemon and juicy pear drizzled with caramel

La Croix Belle Caringole Rosé ’17   France      $11
Syrah-Grenache blend; intense nose of rose petals and pear-drop candies; palate of alpine strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries, with a citrus accent on the crisp finish.

La Rocaliere  Initial R  ’14   France    $12
80% grenache, 20% syrah; pressed after 12 hours cold maceration, 10 days fermentation, and aged in both stainless steel and concrete tanks before bottling to display bright, red fruit flavors both fresh and versatile on the palate.

Goose Ridge g3 Red ‘`16     Washington    $15
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.

Anne Amie Select Pinot Noir ’16    Oregon     $23
Shows aromas of cherry, strawberry, sassafras, cardamom, and fig, with flavors of cherries and figs, cassis, and cola, and  aged  10 months on lees in one-sixth new French oak; refined and well balanced.

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting may 3-4 ’19

Friday Breads This Week

Buttermilk Currant – A really flavorful loaf made with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. A little honey for sweetness balances the flavors of the whole grain, buttermilk makes for a soft and tender crumb. Then lots of currants and just a little rosemary round out the flavors. – $5/loaf

Barley, Whole Wheat, & Rye Levain – a levain bread where the sourdough culture is built up over several days and allowed to ferment overnight before the final dough is mixed. Made with bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat, barley and rye flours. A hearty whole grain bread that is a great all around bread – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with plenty of butter, eggs and sugar, rolled out and spread with pastry cream before sprinkling with dark chocolate. The dough is folded over all that delicious filling and cut into individual pieces. As with all pastry quantities are limited so if you want these delightful pastries be sure and get your order in early. -2/$5

 

This Year’s Robin’s Nest, cont’d

click on photos to enlarge

Over the last week the chicks grew almost as big as the parents. As you might imagine, as the week went on it meant more and more food deliveries to the nest by both the roosting mom (only at night, too busy schlepping worms during the day!) and (we presume) the dad. In this photo taken yesterday, the dad ( you can only see his legs and tail) is precariously perched to feed one of the other nestlings not in sight. Balance is not a problem, though, because these feedings take less than about two seconds– seriously! So yes, this was a Very Lucky photo! And, as you can infer, the nestling is now of comparable size to the adult.

 

 

 

 

A couple of hours later there was only one young ‘un left in the nest. He would stand up from time to time and explore stretching and flapping his little wings. Hey these things must be good for Something, right? And most likely this one had seen the siblings jump out (Geronimo!)  and could probably hear them nearby. So s/he had to be getting pretty motivated.

 

 

 

A little later it was taking a rest, as if to say, well, maybe I’ll just put this off till tomorrow…but a moment of distraction later, there was a kind of “clunk” across the yard, which prompted a look upward to find the bird was GONE, just like THAT! And we missed the Maiden Flight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not quite ready to say goodbye, we prowled over by the garage about 50′ away. Heard some rustling in the thicket of snowberry branches and cautiously approached, camera ready. A few more rustlings led to this photo, in which you will (of course!) recognize the same bird as in the previous photo (we are not making this up!)…So Cool!!!

Go well, Little Robins…!

 

 

 

Latta

Last July we poured Andrew Latta’s 2013 GSM (grenache/syrah/mourvedre), a standard Southern Rhone blend growing in popularity with Washington winemakers and their customers. It was a Big Hit with all of you, so finally we have brought in more, this time the 2015 vintage which we are pouring this weekend.

After growing up in Kentucky Andrew worked his way up from being a busboy in local restaurants to being a sommelier at a high-end resort in Thailand. He came back to America, got a job helping out at Washington’s Dunham Cellars, learned to make wine, and eventually became winemaker at Seattle’s semi-iconic Charles Smith winery. He opened Latta in 2011, and has set a standard for excellence at every step.

Each of his wines is a Complete Package, from opening aroma to lingering finish. At the moment we are enjoying our last bottle of the delightful 2013 GSM, and looking forward to sharing the 2015 with you this weekend. Admittedly we have not tasted it yet; but we have high confidence it will be Superb!

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: When the Truth is Found to be Lies

There’s a LOT going on this week, all of it suggesting Irreconcilable Polarities in Human Perception, Cognition, and Understanding which have profound implications for Our Long-Term Survival.

It is difficult to look at Human History and come to any other conclusion that there are Two Distinct Species of Human Beings. One group finds Comfort in Authority, and the other finds Oppression in Authority.

The Authoritarians long ago invented Religion to Institutionalize the Rules that Everyone Should Follow, and History is replete with examples of the Horrific lengths these Authoritarians would reach in the Name of Order. Millions upon millions of human beings have been ostracized, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered since the Dawn of so-called Civilization by the rigid Laws and Thought-Police Enforcers that Authoritarians always need to stay in Power.

The Dominant Event this week has been the Defiant Positioning of Authoritarian Attorney General Barr as he dissembled on Reality As We Know It…i.e. Lied to Congress in response to direct questions. The significance of this event was articulately amplified in an Op-Ed by former FBI Director James Comey in which he named Barr as yet another example how subordination to the Tweetster “Eats One’s Soul” bite by bite, submission by submission. Today we see the entire Republican Congress and Administration pledging Fealty to someone who has been documented with having presented 10,000 Lies as Truth since his so-called Election.

All of this wreaks havoc with the comfortable notions we have learned about Good and Evil, Right and Wrong. Everybody knows the Good Guys wear White Hats, and the Bad Guys wear Black Hats. So from childhood we have always had a vague uneasiness, wondering why would anyone would Choose  to wear a Black Hat. Only two possibilities come to mind: either they know and embrace that they are the Bad Guys, and consider it just the small price they must pay to be in Charge and Collect their Daily Fealty; or they are able to close their eyes to all the suffering they create and Pretend they are the Good Guys who save people from Sin by Whatever Means Necessary.

Scary stuff.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Phantom Chardonnay ’17     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.

Campuget Tradition Rose ’17   France     $11
Pale brilliant pink. Nervy, mineral-tinged aromas of orange zest and strawberry; Silky and light on its feet, offering zesty, light-bodied red berry and blood orange flavors and a bracing touch of bitter quinine.

Perazzeta Maremma Toscana Sangiovese ’15       Italy      $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.

Montfaucon Cotes du Rhone ’16    France $13
50% Grenache co-fermented on skins with syrah, cinsault, & old vines carignan and matured in concrete tanks; beautiful aromas of cherries, black currant; fresh and round on the palate.

Latta GSM ’15    Washington     $28
58% Grenache, 23% Syrah and 19% Mourvèdre ; the mineral, savory, bright cherry aromatics of Grenache, the deep, meaty, earthy wildness of Mourvedre, and just the right amount of funk-laced floral Syrah. An outstanding wine from a warm vintage.

Wine Tasting