Labor Day Studio Tour is usually our busiest weekend of the year. Beginning Friday night and then all day Saturday and Sunday, it’s almost like running a real business! OMD! This intensity is then immediately followed by the Island-wide madness of getting ready for annual Drydock, with the locals running to town to get pantries stocked up and cars situated on the mainland (good luck finding a place to park!), and part-time residents escaping to Wherever till the ferry comes back. It makes for hours-long waits to get a car off the island. Crazy!
So it was a nourishing delight to take last weekend off from the wine shop and sail out to the islands for a few days. The weather was great, winds were light, and skies were clear. Very relaxing, very beautiful, very soothing. Ahhhh.
Took a few photos while walking on Sucia Island. Click on photos to enlarge, and see if you see what we saw…!
We were introduced to this startup Woodinville winery about ten years ago. A friend had invited us to their release party, in a big tent, on a somewhat snowy day in February. It was the second vintage of easygoing and talented young winemaker Lance Baer, and we definitely bought some for the shop. Tragically, Lance suffered liver failure only a few years later, leaving the winery to his sister Lisa. Read more about Lance
In recent years the winery has earned international recognition with stunning reviews from the global wine press. So it is our pleasure to offer the Baer 2010 Ursa in our tasting this weekend. I will confess that I opened a bottle a few days ago, you know, just to make sure it was okay, and all you need to know is that it is a lot better than “okay”…!
After all, it’s Drydock, it’s quiet on the Island, nothing much to do— a perfect time to drop by and savor some great wines and easy conversation…!
This weekend’s tasting
Borsao Rosado ’13 Spain $9
Delicate strawberry and cranberry fruit, a touch of minerality, medium body and a fresh, dry style.
For a Song Chardonnay ’12 Washington $9
Six months on the lees yield lively floral, lemon, and pear aromas and flavors of fresh pears and tart apples.
Cepas de Zorro ’10 Spain $10
100% Monastrell from chalk and clay soils; a powerfully authentic wine with aromas of plum preserves, Partagás cigar ash, soy, and sage blossom; a fantastic match for Manchego cheese, Marcona Almonds, and olives.
Vinosia Aglianico ’10 Italy $12
Deep garnet-purple color. Raisin, blueberry and underbrush aromas. Some dried rose petals and spice. Crisp acidity and a medium+ body. Medium+ level of velvety tannins. Long finish.
Baer Ursa ’10 Washington $38
(42% merlot, 41% cab franc, 10% malbec and 7% cab sauv): Roasted raspberry, strawberry, truffle, and woodsmoke on the nose, accented by pepper and herbs; tactile and penetrating in the mouth, with good juicy clarity to the flavors of red berries, tobacco leaf and smoky roast coffee.
Reminder: CLOSED This Weekend!
You would think it would be easy for retired folks with a sailboat to take off any time they want for as long as they want. And, honestly, I don’t know why it is so difficult to arrange. But for some reason it is difficult. However. at the moment it looks as if we will actually be able to pull it off this weekend. Your big Takeaway from this is that the wine shop will be closed this weekend, not open either Friday or Saturday.
(click on image for best view)
More and more in the last few years, out-of-the-blue, one of a kind meteorological events have been occurring often enough that “Bad Luck” is becoming a euphemism for “Global Warming.” The latest and most poignant episode has been unfolding here in Legoe Bay over the last several weeks as our stalwart Reefnet fishers have come face to face, head to head with yet another local and very troubling “Huh, are you Kidding Me???” piece of Local Climate Change News.
Diverted by an unusual large “blob” of very warm water, highly anticipated huge runs of returning salmon have chosen to take the very long route out around Vancouver Island to their spawning grounds up the Fraser River. Over 99% of the returning cohort have taken this route, leaving our local reefnet fishers with essentially No Fish. This is both locally and globally devastating news. Locally, it means our friends and neighbors who annually invest their time and energy into maintaining our historic reefnet fishery are not even covering their expenses. Globally, it is yet another wake-up call that everything six billion humans do has a huge impact on the ability of our Dear Planet to support Life As We Know It.
Remember…we are Not Open this weekend!
Studio tour Featured Artist
Our artist for Labor Day Weekend Studio Tour is again our friend and neighbor down the street, Anne Gibert. Anne has been in something of a high-gear production mode for well over a year now, generating an amazing series of large, colorful, and appealing paintings at a prodigious rate. These newer works are bright and airy, often with offbeat moods that are hard to describe, but which invite curiosity and contemplation. Although Anne is off to Alaska for a month, and will not be available to discuss the show with you till she returns, we heartily encourage all of you to come by and see these intriguing new works!
A Special Note on Studio Tour Hours
Generally our Featured Artist is in attendance from 10am-1pm on Saturday and Sunday. HOWEVER, since our FA is out of town, we WILL NOT OPEN UNTIL 1PM BOTH DAYS. We regret any inconvenience this causes our members and visitors,
A Strange Day
It’s Thursday evening as I write this week’s post. This morning around 11:30 a friend stopped by to say, “Um, your boat seems to have drifted off her mooring and is aground on the beach.” So, OMD, you think, that’s Pretty Urgent! Jumped into my boots and drove down to the little bay next the to ferry dock where we have our mooring, and yup, there she was, aground and heeled far over to port not far from the abandoned wreck of the last sailboat to break free of her mooring around here. My co-owner Bob had gotten the word much earlier (we were off at yoga and missed the calls) and had done his best to break her free but the receding tide made it a futile effort.
By low tide at about 2pm she was stranded in about two feet of water. The next high tide was at 8pm. We deployed anchors in two directions seaward, took up the slack, and waited for the tide. Around five the rising tide had her again afloat, and we returned her to her mooring, embarrassed, but thankfully no damage. Cause for the incident was an unexplained failure of a simple shackle, though it had been appropriately tightened and secured with wire to keep it from unfastening. So it’s a mystery. Anyway, we spent a strangely quiet afternoon on the beach, waiting patiently for the tide to come to her rescue. How about those tides, huh…? They are SO Dependable!
Closed Next Weekend
Despite today’s near-disaster, we are taking next weekend off from the wine shop and and going…wait for it…sailing! Hopefully we will get any lingering boat glitches sorted out enough to get out on the water for a few days. In previous years we have taken this time to attend the annual Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend (highly recommended if you have never attended). This time we are hoping just to sail out to a nearby gunkhole for a few days, and kick back with a few good books and maybe a bottle or two of wine. Mmmm, sounds appealing!
Btw, drydock parking is particularly skimpy this year. So it’s especially nice if those of us who can get by without going off-island for two weeks (far easier than the usual three week ordeal) to avoid leaving a car on the mainland while the car ferry is out of service– leaving more room for those who really need it.
The Return of Tristan!
It’s getting to be a Tradition here at AWG: if it’s Studio Tour, our friend and importer-impresario Tristan will be here again with a vanload of French and Spanish wines. He will be hosting our tastings both Friday and Saturday, pouring a selection of delicious and incredibly well-priced wines from small, family-owned wineries in France and Spain. Tristan has been leading SV’s Spain/France efforts for several years now, so that while he is pouring he will expound in great detail on the families, the vineyards, the terroir, and the history of each family winery. These are very special tastings, and definitely not to be missed!
This Week’s Wines
Aravo albarino spain $18
Alta vins tinto joven spain $10
Finca el tesso Spain $10
Borie de Maurel Esperit d’Automne France $13
San Isidro Blanco Spain $10
Domaine de Cabrol Vent d’Ouest France $18
Girot ribot cava brut Spain $10
Lacroix Vanel Melanie France $24
Parmi L’Infant Priorato Spain $29
French Wine Orders Have Arrived!
Most of you don’t know that it was over a year ago that Ryan hatched a plan to reconnect with some of his favorite French wineries (ah, mais oui, ALL his favorite wineries are French…shrug..), and became their agent for US import. We and many of our members have visited several of these wineries on one of the French wine tours Ryan has organized. So it seemed logical to look for a way to bring them right here to our shop so we all could enjoy them without leaving Lummi Island. Good plan, huh?!
In April we held a gala tasting of 10 of these wines at Mark and Lis Marshall’s beautiful home (and #1 Lummi Island B&B!). Many of you attended and ordered some of the wines. I will not go into the complications involved in making all this happen, except to say that all the rules have been in an uproar since Washington State voters approved the Costco-funded initiative a few years ago to close the State Liquor Stores and allow anyone to sell hard liquor. Wine got caught up in the Flood, and as nearly as I can tell, the new rules serve No One except Big Retail. But of course, that’s Another Story.
All you need to know is that the French wines ordered in April have arrived and are available for pickup beginning this weekend!!! We will be sending individual emails with details to all of you who made pre-orders.
Faugères and St. Chinian
Languedoc (“language of Oc”) is the largest French wine region, stretching along the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to the Southern Rhone…Nimes is in Languedoc, but Avignon is in Rhone. Languedoc is divided into many wine subregions, most dating back centuries (maybe even to the prehistoric cave dwellers who made their mark here fifty thousand years ago!). If you consult a good map , you can see that Faugères and St. Chinian are next door to each other. Among our new wine arrivals are two from Domaine Moulinier in St. Chinian, and one from Chateau la Liquiere in nearby Faugères.
By the way, we have encountered these rather heavy metal chairs (photo, left) at several wineries in the Languedoc, and I have to admit I rather covet them. Apparently they were made as part of a regional wine promotion some years ago, and many Languedoc wineries have a few in their tasting rooms. I just haven’t figured out how to get them into my carry-ons in the unlikely situation that some Languedoc winery would even sell one. So they fall into a large class of objets d’art that we can enjoy where we find them but which are impractical to being home. Still, they are Very Cool, eh?…and isn’t there something especially nice about the somewhat austere stencil cutout of the region’s name…?
Tom’s “Vine Route”blog
On our first trip to French wine country in 2011, I happened onto an interesting blog written by Tom Fiorino, an American wine enthusiast living and studying wine in Toulouse. At the time we were there, he was doing an apprenticeship of sorts near Faugères, where we tracked him down and spent some time talking about wine. Since then we have had a link to his blog on our site. I just found his 2009 post about one of the wineries ( La Liquiere), many of us have visited on Ryan’s recommendation or on his tour. You can read his detailed and informative post here, All his posts are loaded with detailed information about a particular winery or region (he has been writing a lot about Corsica lately…!).
This week’s tasting
Vilarnau Cava Brut Sparkling Rosé Spain $12
Shy, mineral-driven aromas of citrus and orchard fruits, with subtle strawberry. Juicy red berry and orange flavors are expansive and lively, with dusty minerality.
Domaine la Renaudie blanc ’12 France $15
Benchmark Loire Sauvignon Blanc with a great balance between nervous, lean acidities and restrained grassy, elderflower character.
Domaine Moulinier Rouge ’10 France $13
70% Syrah, 25% Grenache, and 5% Mourvèdre; Nice spice and garrigue on the nose, with a broad palate of ripe red fruit, with a bit of orange note on the finish. Smooth and soothing; .
Chat. Rayssac L’Essentiel ’09 France $16
Merlot, grenache, syrah, cab franc, cinsault; Cabardes combines the red fruit, finesse and liveliness of Bordeaux varietals with the rich sumptuousness of Mediterranean varieties to yield a complex and spicy wine with balanced tannins.
Chat. La Liquiere Les Amandiers ’12 France $17
From young vines with aromas of fresh red fruits, redcurrant, strawberry, and cassis. A wine of soft pleasure and aromatic freshness.