lummi island wine tasting thanksgiving ’20

click on photos for larger images

Friday Bread Crumbs

As those of you on the Bread email list have known all week, our baker Janice is taking Thanksgiving weekend off from bread baking. That, combined with the national resurgence of The Virus, means that the wine shop is also closed to visitors this weekend.

Until the national surge in Covid cases abates, we are backing off from allowing visitors inside for wine shopping. Instead we are going back to email/phone ordering only. Click on the Order Wine link in the header above for currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. We are making progress on setting up enough of an online store to allow our members to order and pay online for pickup on Fridays or by arrangement. For the time being, when you have made your selections you can call us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above to send us your order. We will contact you to confirm your order and to make arrangements for pickup/delivery.

 

Wine of the Week: Sea Sun Pinot Noir 

Sea Sun is one many wine labels created by the Charles Wagner family which began with the inauguration of the Caymus winery in Napa Valley in 1972. They were among the pioneers who made Napa cabernets sought after and collectible. In the fifty years since then, the family has expanded its portfolio of  wineries to include Mer Soleil, Emmolo, Conundrum, Bonanza, and Sea Sun. Their wines tend to be big, fruity, flavorful wines with rich flavors and pleasing mouthfeel that evokes a pleasant sense of self-indulgence without breaking the bank.

 

Sea Sun Pinot Noir ’17    California    $18
A bountiful deep red, this wine features scents of baked cherries, toasted wood and fresh out of the oven baguette, with hints of cranberry and flinty graphite. On the palate, there is an intensity and creaminess to the fruit, evoking the ripe richness of pie filling. Toasted oak and vanilla add intriguing layers, while grippy tannins create depth and dimension. The finish tapers off with this wine’s lush fruit.

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Our Imperfect Union

Georgia. Not Wisconsin, not Michigan, not Pennsylvania. Georgia. To a substantial degree, perhaps measurable in various ways over the next decade and beyond, the outcome of the two U.S. Senate seats remaining  to be determined in the 2020 election may very well have a huge impact on the future of the entire world.

In an editorial last June, columnist Jennifer Senior wrote an opinion piece in the NY Times tracing “Trumpism” back some thirty years to the Gingrich Revolution in the Republican Party: Gingrich wrote the playbook for it all. The nastiness, the contempt for norms, the transformation of political opponents into enemies…You really could argue that today’s napalm politics began with Newt: The normalization of personal destruction. The contempt for custom. The media-baiting, the annihilation of bipartisan comity, the delegitimizing of institutions.

Her story was strongly influenced by the release of Burning Down the House, a book by historian Julian Zelizer, which traces how Gingrich’s scorched-earth politics transformed the Republican Party: So much that’s associated with the Republican Party under Trump, Zelizer argues — the rowdiness, the bare-knuckle name-calling, the white-knuckle clinging to power at all cost — dates back to Gingrich’s ascent in the late ’80s.

Gingrich spawned a generation of Republican politicians who had no respect for tradition or inter-party comity in the House or Senate. Rather, Gingrich made it fashionable for aspiring Republicans to use mockery, hyperbole, anger, personal insult, and other forms of ad hominem attacks against electoral opponents. Since Gingrich, the point has never been to argue a platform; it has consistently been to manage public perception.

All of this division has been fueled not only by these Republican politicians, but also their joined-at-the-hip Media Echo Chambers at Fox News, Brietbart, and a national network of anger-mongering radio pundits. Curiously, having managed to make the Tweetster the Star of their Show, the Party now needs his support to win these crucial Georgia Senate seats. And no, he isn’t going to do it out of party loyalty.

This could all be the last Scene of some sci-fi Shakespeare play. In the romance version the world is saved. In the tragedy version, Darth McConnell launches the Death Star and it’s the end of Ever..y….t…..h……i……..n…………g…………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting nov 20 ’20

click on photos for larger images

Friday Bread Crumbs

The second outing of the new outdoors-at-the-wine-shop weekly bread pickup went even better last week. Janice and David are set up under a rain shelter (now with heaters!) just outside the wine shop garage door.  Both pickup and payment can be conducted quite efficiently with masks and social distancing as well as a bit of winter weather protection.

Pick-up hours are from 4-5:30pm. At present sunset is about 4:30, which should provide decent light at least till 5. But as we slide toward winter solstice sunset gets earlier until December 7 when it sets at 4:14pm, and continues to set at 4:14 for another week before starting to creep later until summer solstice in June. Chances are bread pickup hours might move a bit earlier in December…stay tuned!

Until the national surge in Covid cases abates, we are backing off from allowing visitors inside for wine shopping. Instead we are going back to email/phone ordering only. Click on the Order Wine link in the header above for currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. We are making good progress on setting up enough of an actual online store to allow our members to order and pay online for pickup on Fridays or by arrangement. For the time being, when you have made your selections you can call us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above to send us your order. We will contact you to make arrangements for pickup/delivery.

 

Wine of the Week: Chateau Auzias Cabardès ’18

The tiny wine region of Cabardès is a small group of villages directly north of the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, which sits on the western edge of the Languedoc wine region. It consists of only some 500 hectares of vineyards. To the west are the rolling farmlands of the Sud-Ouest, stretching toward the Bordeaux region on the Atlantic Coast.

Because of the mixed influence of both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, vignerons of Cabardès are allowed to use both Bordeaux (cab, cab franc. merlot) and Rhone varietals (syrah, grenache) in their wine blends. It is the only wine region in France permitted to make such blends.

The region has been growing grapes and making wine since the Roman days, but only since the 70’s has the region been allowed to explore the  possibilities its unique micro-climate provides. The resulting blends have their own unique charm, and again illustrate how soil and climate shape the wines of every particular place.

Chateau Auzias Cabardes   ’18        France     $11
60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Syrah, 10% Grenache. Enticing aromas of  black raspberry and mulberry that showcase the Cabardes appellation where both Rhone and Bordeaux varietals may be grown. Fine-grained tannins and lacy, billowing acidity carry that raspberry/mulberry fruit all the way to a fresh, graceful finish.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Lies, Damn Lies, and Simon de Montfort

There is an old phrase of dubious origin that has plagued statisticians for over a century, that there are  “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.” An interesting exploration of the origin of the phrase ties it to a series of comments about false statements found in influential newspapers circa 1891, making a case that it went something like this:

-Thomas Henry Huxley, 1885: Talked politics, scandal, and the three classes of witnesses—liars, d—d liars, and experts.
-Sir Charles Dilke, October 21, 1891: false statements might be arranged according to their degree under three heads: fibs, lies, and statistics.
-Benjamin Disraeli (1895): I think Lord Beaconsfield said that there were three degrees of veracity—viz., lies, d—d lies, and statistics.

Everyone lies from time to time, whether by half-truth, omission, evasive statement, or protection from embarrassment. To that extent, Truth is a somewhat fluid concept, with little consequence one way or another. In that sense, everyday lies are just part of the ongoing lubrication of the Facts that helps us all oil the wheels or our progress.

That is a very different thing from compulsively lying, as with narcissistic personality disorder. A person with NPD may lie without reason, or to distort reality to fit the emotions that they are feeling. Some evidence suggests that they invent facts that will make them feel or look better, that they may be unaware when they are lying, and that they may not be able distinguish between truth and lies.

We are mentioning all this because while reading background on wine of the week (above) we were reminded of the Albigensian Crusade, a twenty-year long persecution of the Cathars in southwest France. Pope Innocent III considered them heretics, and offered lands stolen from the Cathars to those who imprisoned or killed them. Foremost among them was sometimes crusader Simon de Montfort. In 1210 he burned 140 Cathars in the village of Minerve who refused to recant. In another village, he had the eyes of a large number of prisoners gouged out, their ears, noses and lips cut off, and led back to their village by a prisoner who had been left with a single good eye. He is also sometimes credited (charged?) with having ordered the slaughter of over ten thousand men, women, and children at Beziers in 1209, and when asked how the soldiers could distinguish Cathars from Catholics, said “Kill them all; let God sort them out.”

All of this old history is timely because it illustrates so cruelly and vividly how extremely human norms can be tossed aside in the passion of religion or politics under the leadership of a narcissistic psychopath. Normal rules of civilized society are thrown away in the passions of hatred in the name of politics and religion. As the old saying goes, attributed to Sinclair Lewis, “When Fascism comes to America, it will be draped in the Flag and carrying a Cross.” 

The election is long over but the battle continues, amid irrational anger, unabated national tension, and the flagrant complicity of Republican office holders.

It’s gonna be a Long Winter.

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting nov 13 ’20

click on photos for larger images

Friday Bread Crumbs

Last week’s debut of the new outdoors-at-the-wine-shop bread pickup went smoothly. Janice is set up at a table in the garage doorway with another rain-sheltered table nearby so both payment and pickup can be conducted with masks and social distancing and a bit of winter weather protection.

Pick-up hours are from 4-5:30pm. At present sunset is about 4:30, which should provide decent light at least till 5. But as we slide toward winter solstice sunset gets earlier until December 7 when it sets at 4:14pm, and continues to set at 4:14 for another week before starting to creep later until summer solstice in June.

Due to the national surge in Covid cases, we are for the time being backing off from allowing visitors inside for wine shopping. Instead we are going back to email ordering only. Click on the Order Wine link in the header above for currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. Soon we hope to have an actual online store available to make the process more user-friendly. For the time being, when you have made your selections use the Contact Us link above to send us your order. We will contact you to make arrangements for pickup/delivery.

 

Wine of the Week: Maryhill Viognier

Viognier is known for full-bodied white wines with rich stone-fruit flavors. On the nose they can be quite floral, with lavender and pollen aromas, along with aromas and flavors of apricot, peach, pear, and lychee, and a palate-pleasing textural richness. Or, as wine writer Karen McNeil has put it, viognier is “the most drippingly sensuous white wine varietal.”

Maryhill Viognier has been a staple here at the Wine Gallery for several years, delivering a lot of pleasure for its modest price. The 2018 vintage is a blend from four award-winning Columbia Valley vineyards: 35% Tudor Hills Vineyard, 26% Gunkel Vineyards (Estate), 23% Coyote Canyon Vineyard and 16% McKinley Springs Vineyard.
After a new-normal increasingly hot summer, grapes were harvested during cool morning hours to preserve bright fruit
tanks with French oak staves.

Maryhill Viognier ’18      Washington     $14
Vibrant aromas and flavors of melon, pear, and apricot with traces of pineapple and grapefruit that flow into a crisp fruit finish.

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Looming Socialist Menace

There’s an old Maine story* about two fahmahs (“farmers” if you ain’t from Maine) having a discussion about politics. Enoch was going on about the many benefits of Socialism. Puzzled, but crafty, his neighbor Eben listened. After a while he scratched his chin thoughtfully and said, “All right, Enoch, so if you had two fahms, would you give me one o’ them?”

“Ayuh,” said Enoch, “if I had two fahms, I’d give you one o’ them.”

“Hmm,” said Eben. “And if you had two cows, Enoch, would you give me one o’ them?”

“Ayuh,” said Enoch, “if I had two cows, I’d give you one o’ them.”

“Well, then,” said Eben slyly, “and if you had two hay rakes, Enoch, would you give me one o’ them…?

There was a long pause before Enoch growled, “Damn you, Eben… you Know I got two hay rakes!”

(listen to The Classic Maine Story)

The point here is that a basic human trait is to protect Our Stuff, as in “Don’t you go messin’ with My Stuff!” We all have that wiring, and we all know the sense of violation when Somebody shows that lean and hungry look like they are Fer Sure gonna Mess with our Stuff as soon as we let down our guard. And let’s face it, Republicans only know one way to fish, and that’s constantly throwing blood in the water to convince their base that Democrats’ only goal is to steal their hard-earned money and their guns and leaving them broke and impotent.

Every government in the world operates on some hybrid blend of capitalism and socialism, or as economists would say, between markets and transfer payments. The market function of an economy allocates resources based on demand and supply. When prices rise, investment and output increase. And when prices fall, investment and output decrease. Transfer payments tax one group and redistribute that money to provide benefits to another. Examples are everywhere. Everyone who works pays Social Security taxes which are transferred as benefits to the elderly, disabled, or dependent children. Taxes on property are used to fund municipal services like street repair and fire and police protection. Income taxes fund both federal and state government operations.

At every level of government, tax revenues are collected from one group and spent to benefit others, such as Medicare, Social Security, Veterans benefits, Unemployment compensation, police departments, fire departments, libraries, schools, trash collection, and on and on and on. These are all forms of Socialism, and every government in the world taxes its citizens and businesses to pay for the goods and services it provides. Everyone chips in according to ability, and everyone shares in the overall benefits, according to need.

There is an old party game that provides some interesting insights into our own individual dispositions toward income redistribution. Everyone sits around a table with equal little pile of coins. When the game begins, everyone passes as much or as little as they like to the right, and keeps doing it. That process continues for many minutes until the game is called “over.” At the end people learn how they differ from others with regard to their needs to keep or not to keep some specific amount at the end. Curiously, some people are most comfortable aiming to keep as much as they started with. Others aim to wind up with nothing, and some feel a need to accumulate as much as possible.

More to the point: which are Republicans, and which are Democrats?

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting nov 5 ’20

click on photos for larger images

Friday Bread Crumbs

Now that we are back on Standard Time, Janice is moving Friday bread pickup back to the wine shop for the first time since last March. However, bread pickup will continue to look a lot more like the parking lot pickup routine, with studious attention to social separation.

This week Janice will be set up at a table in the garage doorway. We have a plan for a rain shield outside as necessary. As at the parking lot, pickup will be a streamlined affair to minimize contact risk. Chances are we will be tweaking the process over the next few weeks until we arrive at a comfortable routine.

Due to the national surge in Covid cases, we are for the time being backing off from allowing visitors inside for wine shopping. Instead we are going back to email ordering only. Click on the Order Wine link in the header above for currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. Soon we hope to have an actual online store available to make the process more user-friendly. For the time being, when you have made your selections use the Contact Us link above to send us your order. We will contact you to make arrangements for pickup.

 

Wine of the Week: Indaba Merlot 

Indaba Foundation was created shortly after the end of apartheid by South African wine importer Cape Classics to address the needs of vulnerable children by providing accredited training of Association Montessori Internationale teachers with initial focus on early childhood education. Indaba wines are also committed to promoting environmental, social, and ethical practices by the producers they work with.

Bottom line: good wines, sustainably produced, socially enabling, and offered at bargain prices; an admirable business model.

Indaba Merlot  ’17     South Africa      $10
94% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Carefully crafted in a bright, clean style, this velvety Merlot offers appealing aromas and bright, succulent flavors of cherry, dark berry and plum backed by subtle mocha and herbal nuances and delicate minerality.

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: In Limbo with Schrödinger’s Cat

In the world of quantum physics, “Schrödinger’s Cat” is a hypothetical thought experiment to illustrate the paradox that a quantum system can theoretically exist in several states at once until the process of observation necessarily forces it to be in one state or another. In the experiment, a cat hidden from view in a “box” must be thought of as both dead and alive. But as soon as the box is opened to an observer, the very process of observation forces it to be in one state or the other.

As we go to press tonight, we are all like Schrödinger’s Cat, trapped in an electoral Twilight Zone while the Universe sorts out not only who will become the next President but also, simultaneously, which Universe will become Reality. After all we have been through this year,– these long four years– in a deeply existential way Everything seems to be at Stake.

If we open the box in one state, all will be well, and if by some capricious fate we get the other, we fear everything we love, hope for, and hold dear will disappear into an Eternal Hell of Hopelessness and Damnation. And meanwhile, we endure the Hell of Waiting.

Metaphorically, it looks something like this.

On the other hand, a preferable quantum state might look like this.

We will know soon enough which it will be. Fingers crossed…and craving a return to stability, predictability, kindness, and caring.

 

Wine Tasting