lummi island wine tasting august 18 ’17

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Bread this week

Pain au Levain – Made with a nice mix of 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

Semolina w/ Fennel & Raisins Also a levain bread made with bread flour, semolina and some fresh milled whole wheat. A little butter for a tender crumb and fennel seeds and golden raisins round out the flavors. Judy A. says this is her favorite! These flavors go really well with meats and cheese, but it also makes pretty darn good toast – $5/loaf

And for pastry this week:

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich pastry 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. 2/$5

 

This Weekend’s Schedule: Open Friday, Closed Saturday

The wine shop will be open as usual on Friday this week, and we look forward to seeing all of you for wine tasting and Bread Pickup.

But on Saturday we are heading South in our little trailer hoping to see the Total Eclipse of the Sun. We are camping along the Columbia at Memaloose State Park in Oregon along the Columbia near the Dalles Sunday night. Early Monday morning we hope to make it south about fifty miles into the Path of Totality (not to be confused with Current Politics). But Everyone and Family will be trying to do the Same Thing. And though there is a kind of Futility to the Entire Effort, it is a Rare Thing, so we make the effort.

Bottom Line: Wine shop CLOSED on Saturday, August 19…Make a Note of It!

 

Kalfu

For some while we have been exploring carmenere, the Chilean grape varietal that for 100 years was thought to be a clone of merlot.  Thirty years ago, modern genetic testing identified it as carmenere, a Bordeaux varietal thought extinct since the phylloxera epidemic that devastated French vineyards in the late 19th century.

One of those carmeneres was from a producer called Ventisquero, about which we knew nothing except it was in Chile. I tried to order more, but that was in the market chaos here in Washington State after the Costco Referendum (lobbied to the extent of about $20 million in, you know, the interests of “competition”) did away with State Liquor Stores and did away with the three-tiered pricing system that had endured since the end of Prohibition. Under the Old Rules all wholesale buyer paid the same price to producers and distributors for every product. Under the New Rules, volume discounts were allowed for volume buyers. Like Costco, Bevmo, and their Ilk. In the Old Days we had Antitrust Laws to level the playing field in most industries. No more. But we digress.

We received our semi-annual shipment of Italian (mostly) wines from Small Vineyards a couple of weeks ago, and have been pouring a few of them at our weekend tastings since then. One of those was a Chilean cabernet sauvignon from Ramirana, which made most of you Smile, always a good sign. It turns out that Ramirana is a sub-label of Ventisquero. This weekend (see above) we are pouring a Chilean pinot noir labeled Kalfu, which turns out to be Another label for Ventisquero, referring to a region on the coast, more or less due west from Santiago, and at about the same latitude as Mendoza, the prime vinicultural region of Argentina on the other side of the Andes. It’s a cool climate for Chile, not unlike the California coast where pinot noir thrives. Mmm, looking forward to trying it again…will I still like it??!

 

This week’s wine tasting

Lumos Pinot Gris  Rudolfo Vineyard ’15      Oregon   $18
Clear light golden straw color. Lively and complex aromas of lemon, green apple, nectarine. A vibrant, dry yet-fruity body and a tingling, breezy, nicely balanced nut-skin finish.

Chat. Campuget Rosé ’16 France  $12
Incisive red berry and citrus fruit scents pick up a sexy floral nuance as the wine opens up. Fresh, focused and lithe on the palate, offering nervy strawberry and orange zest flavors and a subtle honeysuckle flourish.

Kalfu Kuda Pinot Noir ’14    Chile   $15
Red currant and strawberry aromas and flavors, with hints of dried rose and white pepper. Clean, focused and juicy, with a refreshingly bitter edge of blood orange. Finishes on a subtly sweet note, showing good persistence and no obvious tannins.

Lar de Maia 5°  ’13     Spain   $15
Tempranillo, Garnacha and Syrah; mouth-filling notes of concentrated fruit leather with lingering notes of cherry and pomegranate; lively and fruity with hints of vanilla, coconut and licorice.

Antonio Sanguineti Nessun Dorma Toscana ’15    Italy    $16
Super-Tuscan blend of sangiovese, cab, and merlot, with notes of black currant and cherry, followed by spicy chocolate. Rich and spicy on the palate, the red fruit comes on strong in the middle, with chocolate rounding out the finish.

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting august 11 ’17

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Bread this week

Dried Cranberry Walnut – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled buckwheat and whole wheat flours. Orange juice and olive oil are a unique combination in this bread that add flavor and keep a soft crumb, then loaded up with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. Makes great toast- $5/loaf

Barley, Whole Wheat & Rye Levain – A levain bread is also known as sourdough that is built over several days and allowed to ferment 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 for pastry this week…

Plain Croissants – Pastry dough made with butter and sugar and then laminated with more butter before being cut and shaped into traditional french croissants. I’ve heard some say these are the best they have ever had.  2/$5

 

Vranec

Vranec (pronounced ‘Vran-etz’), is Macedonian for “Black Stallion;” wines made with it are deep red, almost black, and imagined to manifest a stallion-like strength and vigor. Vranec can also means “raven-colored,” which is why the wine is known also as “black wine” in Macedonia. An ancient Balkan varietal, it represents the warmth and strength of the Macedonian people.

Vranec wines have an intense, dark red color and rich aromas of dark ripe fruits. The palate is full and balanced. When young, it shows a light purple color and aromas of strawberry jam and wild berries. With age, vranec develops darker color and complex aromas of wild berries, dried fruits, and chocolate, with rich tannins. It is often blended with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah.

Last year’s order from Small Vineyards introduced us to  merlot from Macedonian producer Jordanov, and it was a big hit with most of you. This weekend we are pouring the Jordanov Red Blend made from Cab, Merlot, and Vranec. While the cab-merlot foundation will seem familiar, we think you will also be pleased to find some deeper, darker, smoother notes brought by the vranec…!

Quincy

To those of us who grew up in New England, this French wine region could only be be pronounced “Kwin-sea.”  But since it is a small town in eastern part of the Loire Valley, different pronunciation rules apply. Which no doubt raises two questions in your mind: HUH? and Who cares about that? Fortunately we can help you with both questions!

As it turns out, the English expression “Huh?” is a Clue to how to pronounce “Quincy.” Most people do not say “huh?” as simply h-u-h. That would sound like the laugh version of the word, spoken more declaratively, meaning something like “You Don’t Say,” or “Well, I’ll Be,” so as to rhyme with Suh, as in “Yes, Suh.” But that’s not how we say “Huh?” Rather, there is a nasal element in the word as if there is an implied “n” that never actually gets pronounced, sort of HU(n)H?, if you see what I mean; you feel it as a little tightening in the part of your nasal passage just behind your hanging palate. So “Quincy” becomes “keh'(n)see.” 

All you really need to know is that the village of Quincy, like Sancerre, its neighbor to the East, produces an iconic version of sauvignon blanc, with the kind of crisp acidity and minerality that the French call nervosité:  a crisp, clean, bright, saline tension that also evokes a sense of the ocean and sea breezes. And btw makes you Crave Shellfish…mmm, yum!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Kim Chee Kronicles

Statesmanship seems to have evolved as a sort of Dance, a Formalized Ritual Combat in which Form and High Theater are substituted for Actual Warfare. Throughout History many civilizations have Risen and Prospered, sometimes Dominant for Millennia, and eventually Fell. So there has always been Something Going On, some Tacit Agreement that Everybody is In Peril when any single  Player Rocks the Boat  Too Much. Each Nation has its Role to Play, and each must conform in order to Preserve Order– and of course apply Pressure to other nations to do the same.

As Twentieth Century Survivors know, periodically Nations or Groups of Nations go Too Far. Having Prospered and Developed Military Might, they Rebel against the Rules and Decide to Make Their Own. Almost invariably this happens under the Control of the Latest Incarnation of the Psychopathic/Sociopathic Dominant Males of the Time. Like Walruses or Elephant Seals they Trumpet (no pun intended), Growl, and Bluster, from time to time Biting the Nose of some Rival or his Offspring or his Mate, Claiming Victory, and demanding Homage and Spoils commensurate with their Greatness. It’s an Old Story, a Sad and Stupid story about how a small number of Deeply Insecure Men so often rise to Power who are completely willing to Destroy the World if they can’t be In Charge of it.

Here in the Present we have the Tweetster facing off against the Kimster, as if they are the Only Two People in the World who Matter. Well, besides Putin, anyway. The tension here is between these Unstable Individuals and the Rest of the World. At the moment it’s a bit of a Tossup; the Kimster seems to have no Moderating Forces acting on him at all, while the Trumpster keeps getting Green Lights from the Spineless Toadies in his Party for each Daily Madness . Scary times; stay tuned…

 

This week’s wine tasting

Dom. Tremblay Quincy ’16     France    $18
Nose of yellow grapefruit, tangerine and sea air. Suave, fine-grained and concentrated, with zesty green apple & citrus flavors with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel and finish.

Mas des Bressades Rosé ’15   France  $12
Spicy aromas and flavors of ripe red berries, orange, and pungent flowers; concentrated and supple, gaining weight with air, with cherry and melon notes and a lingering red liqueur quality.

Chateau de Cabriac Corbieres ’14    France     $14
Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Grenache; aromas of black berry fruits; palate shows blackcurrant, blackberry and hints of coffee. The flavors continue to develop to a dense and powerful finish.

Jordanov Red ’15      Macedonia   $11
Cab, merlot, and vranec from limestone and sandy soils; shows n
otes of blueberry and densely concentrated fruit with a dusty, rich, long minerally finish of cherry and cherry pit.  read more

Marchetti Rosso Conero ’15 Italy $11
Rich and inviting aromas of flowers, plums, brown spices, and hillside brush. On the palate,  round notes of cherries, blackberries, cocoa and spice. Culminates in a satisfying, lengthy finish.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting august 4 ’17

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Bread this week

Sonnenblumenbrot – aka Sunflower Seed Bread made with a pre-ferment that is a complete dough itself. It takes a portion of the flour, water, salt and yeast that ferments overnight before mixing the final dough. The final dough is made with bread flour and freshly milled rye, then loaded up with toasted sunflower seeds and some barley malt syrup for sweetness. This is a typical german seed bread- $5/loaf

Honey, Wheat, Lemon & Poppy seedsMade with a poolish that ferments some of the flour, yeast and water overnight before being mixed with the final ingredients which includes a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Some honey, poppy seeds and freshly grated lemon peel round out the flavors in this loaf. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

And for pastry this week:

Pan de Cioccolate – A delicious chocolate artisan bread. Not a typical enriched sweet pastry dough made with plenty of eggs, butter and sugar, but rather a rich chocolate bread made with bread and freshly milled rye flours, honey for sweetness, vanilla, and plenty of dark chocolate. Makes fabulous french toast! $5/loaf

The Italians are back!

It is now an established tradition each summer– the arrival of our semiannual special order shipment from our friends at West Seattle importer Small Vineyards. As most of you know, they specialize in family-owned wineries mainly in Italy, but in recent years also in France and Spain. Many of their member wineries have been  handing down traditional methods of farming and winemaking for generations. Virtually all of the SV imports vastly outperform their modest prices, and we always look forward to their arrival.

Over the next several weekends we are offering some old favorites as well as a few new imports. The old favorites are the Perazzeta Sara Rosato, a delicious rosé made from sangiovese grosso, the grape that made Brunello di Montalcino one of the most sought-after wines on the planet for the last hundred years. In addition, this weekend’s Italian representatives also include Sanguineti Cannonau Di Sardegna, which is basically grenache (a French Southern Rhone varietal) grown in Sardinia, where it develops its own distinctive and lingering notes of pomegranate to the more traditional red fruit notes. Locals claim grenache (cannonau) originated in Sardinia long before being exported to Spain and France, when the island was part of the kingdom of Aragon.

Moon and Tides

A few days ago I got Dreamtime out for a bit of a sail with my friend Mike, a former Army pilot who understands navigation principles, but the Army being what it is, never had to think much about tides.(!) We discussed my ongoing project to learn to predict where the Moon is in the sky by observing the Tide, and similarly, knowing where the tide must be if you know where the Moon is in sky.

Those of you who have been bored enough with your everyday lives that you have actually read any of these “Moon and Tides” musings the last several weeks should have picked up the basic tenet: when the Moon is highest in the sky the Tide will be pretty close to Low , and when the Moon is near the horizon, the tide has to be pretty close to a High. So imagine my Consternation as we were sailing, noting that the Moon (just past First Quarter) was High in the sky, and yet precious little of the shore was showing. In fact, it looked a lot like High Tide! Huh? Whazzat?

So of course when we got back in I checked my Tide App and was comforted by an interesting revelation, something I sort of knew theoretically, but hadn’t actually observed before. That is, when the Moon is at First or Third Quarter, it Is high in the sky at dinner time and the Tide is Low. However…I forgot that we also know that the tidal range between High and Low is at a Minimum at the Quarter Moon. Indeed, the day we were sailing there was only about a half-foot difference between the afternoon high tide (5.6′) and the evening low tide (5.1′)…! So yes, after Due Consideration, we are Happy to Report that it IS Intuitively Obvious!
Time   Tide   Height
0702    low    1.57′
1406    high   5.64′
1725    low    5.11′
2400    high   8.07′

 

Thimbleberries

Thimbleberries are a local curiosity, growing in banks alongside the road, often alongside salmonberries, another Northwest native. According to Wilipedia they are, like other raspberries, not a true berry, but instead an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core. The drupelets may be carefully removed separately from the core when picked, leaving a hollow fruit which bears a resemblance to a thimble, perhaps giving the plant its name.

We often find wines with flavors reminiscent of thimbleberries, definitely raspberry-like, but somehow brighter and more acidic, and often with a sort of dusty quality (probably from dirt blown onto them by passing cars!). Today is the first day we have found some bright red ripe ones, and lots of hard pink ones which may or may not reach maturity.  This summer has been very dry, so pickings are slim. Look for them along roads or driveways or around the edges of fields. And yes, they are a perfect match for the many dry rosés we have in stock right now!

 

Mar a Lago Update: New Hall Monitor?

Things have happened very fast the last week or two. Let’s just call it a series of “Staff Adjustments.” The thing one would expect about Staff Adjustments is some Overall Rationale, you know, “Okay, we are not meeting our goals so we need a Change in Strategy.” But that implies that you Actually Have Goals and a Strategy for Achieving Them! So somewhere in this picture we would expect “Tweetster and Team” to be able to Articulate their Goals and Strategies and gather Data to Assess their Progress.

But, to our Immense Relief, six months into Ruling the Most Powerful Nation on Earth, these Clowns haven’t even figured out where the bathrooms are, and who gets to use which ones at what times. No Wonder they’re Frustrated! It is, as Any Observer might note, Time for some Discipline. It’s Time for some Leadership. It’s Time to Send In the Marines!

And so it is that Arch-Republican Priebus is Out and New Chief of Staff and retired Marine Corps General John Kelly is In. The Question on the Floor is whether Kelly, by all accounts an accomplished Leader, yet lacking Political Experience, will be able to Establish Discipline in the Chaos that Follows the Tweetster like a Burlesque Theater Company with Trailerfuls  of Baggy Pants, Feathered Boas, and Rhinestone Pasties. Stay tuned!

 

This week’s wine tasting

Finnriver Apple Abbey Belgian-inspired Craft Cider     Washington   $11
A silky, full-bodied cider. Lingering apple sweetness with tropical aromas of ripe banana and hints of pepper and clove spice. Nutty, bread-like finish.

Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc ’16   Napa      $18
Aromas of honeydew melon, cashews, apple, which continue on the crisp palate with notes of nougat, tangerine, and peach, with good minerality on the finish.

Perazzeta Sara Rosato ’15     Italy     $14
From the same grape as Brunello (sangiovese grosso), this beautiful rosato is rich, bold, and flinty while also crisp, summery, and light.

Cecilia Covolo ’13   Italy    $16
A blend of cab and merlot aged in concrete; lush and mouth-filling, sunny expression of  Cab with engaging aromas of spearmint  and warm cocoa. Palate  of extured black currant fruit, dark chocolate, and a lively acidic core.

Sanguineti Cannonau de Sardegna    ’15     Italy      $12
This cannonau– a Sardinian varietal known elsewhere as grenache– offers dry and dusty aromas and flavors of cherry, pomegranate and plum that leave lingering, crisp, earthy and briny flavors that beg for food.

Ramirana Cab Reserva ’15    Chile    $12
Expressive notes of red and black berries, with notes of black pepper, chocolate, and tobacco. Nicely balanced body, acidity, and tannins, with a pleasing finish.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting july 28 ’17

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Bread this week

Whole wheat – made with prefermented dough; the final dough is made with about half fresh milled whole wheat and a little honey for sweetness. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

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

And for pastry this week…

Tartine Bakery style Morning Buns – Delicious laminated croissant dough is rolled out and spread with a butter and brown sugar filling before being rolled up and sliced and baked in muffin tins. Absolutely fabulous!! Be sure and get your order in early as quantities are limited – 2/$5

 

A Little Slice of Heaven

New Moon happened early this past week, on Sunday-Monday. By Tuesday there was enough of an evening twilight crescent for some to be able to see, but it was very close the Sun and therefore very low on the horizon just after sunset. Hard to see.

By Wednesday moonset had moved to about an hour and a half after sunset, so there was a healthy crescent visible in the evening twilight. All of this is part of our ongoing series inviting attention and awareness to the the constant progression of the lunar cycle and the Earthly ocean tides that follow it.

Those of you who have been reading these notes the past several weeks will now know intuitively that if you see this view of the Moon to the West just after sunset, the Tide at your viewpoint will be just reaching its High for the day!

 

Frappato

Frappato is a red grape varietal found primarily in Sicily. It generally produces lighter-bodied Italian red wines, often with notable freshness and liveliness. It is most commonly seen as a blending component with other Sicilian varietals, particularly nero d’avola. Genetic research suggests that Frappato is a close relative of sangiovese, the dominant red grape of Italy, and several other Italian red wine varietals, suggesting the likelihood that frappato is a genetic cross of Sangiovese and some lighter Italian varietal from the past, making it a lighter, more nuanced wine.

Frappato typically shows a certain verve, grace and energy, with a tension between sweet and bitter fruit flavors, and, coming from a Hot Place, is often drunk with a slight chill. This weekend we are pouring the last of our current stash of Tenuta di Favola Fravolato, which is 100% frappato. It’s not a grape one encounters often, but like every varietal, it has its own particular charms. Come by and check it out!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Karmic Lags

Okay, okay, okay. We have put this off as long as we possibly could, as any good scientist would. I mean, you collect your data, you analyze it, you see what it wants to say, and you think: Noooo, I don’t think so, must be “anomalous.” So you reboot and try the experiment again.

At some point you have to admit that you were expecting a certain kind of result. You had looked at some data. You had some working theories. So you designed experiments to test those theories. And Science being what it is, and Theories being what they are, what you are really looking for is Confirmation of your hypothesis. But when your Hypothesis is Way Out There, you really don’t expect a confirmation.

Yet here we are, six months into WTFTI (‘whatever this is’), and the Data all point in One Consistent and Deeply Disturbing Direction. Not that we haven’t suspected it. Not that we haven’t had Troubled Dreams about it. But did we Really Believe It,  not just Ironically, but Actually and Really, that Republicans Really Are a Completely Different Species? OMD, Where did they Come From? Why are They Here? Why don’t their Little Fingers point in Strange Directions so we could Recognize them for the Aliens they Really Are?

One working Hypothesis to explain all this is that there is a 49-year Lag in the Reincarnation Machine. All that stuff in the Tibetan Book of the Dead about 49 “Days” in the Bardo may not be “days” as we know them on This Plane, but rather more like, say, Years! So when you think of it like that, you are obviously led to the unavoidable Hypothesis that since about 1990 the World has been Flooded with Reincarnated Fascists, Nazis, Stalinists, and every Ilk of early 20th Century Karmic Sociopath, all governed by Their Single Cosmic Imperative: to Increase the Suffering of Humans and Other Living Beings as much as is Inhumanly Possible for As Long as Possible.

Or, as most of our Old Granddads might have said: “WTF is Wrong With These People?”

 

This week’s wine tasting

Gilbert Cellars The Grower White ’13  Washington   ’13
70% Chardonnay, 30% Riesling; an unusual blend of Washington’s two premier white grapes, which complement each other perfectly showing off the best qualities of both grapes.

Domaine le Galantin Bandol Rose ’16      $18
Light brilliant orange. Mineral-tinged red berry, blood orange and fennel scents, along with a hint of honeysuckle. Dry and nervy on the palate, with bitter cherry and orange pith flavors finishing on a suave floral note.

Tenuta la Favola Fravolato ’14   Italy  $16
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!

Goose Ridge G3 Cabernet ’15   Washington   $14
Rich, deep aromatic expression of plum and dark cherry intertwined with toasty notes of vanilla and savory spices. The dark fruit flavors continue to resonate on the palate over a supple tannic structure leading to a long, soft finish.

Château Fonbadet Pauillac Bordeaux ’12 France $25
Good dense colour, good freshness of Cabernet fruit and good fresh flavours and length, on the lean side but an elegant Pauillac.

Wine Tasting