Wine Tasting August 27 ’10
There was a full moon a couple of days ago. Got up during very early morning twilight to this scene out the front window. Our view is out over Legoe Bay toward Orcas Island– compare this with the Legoe Bay Winery Label…uh oh, can’t find a picture of it not even on their website! You’ll have to take my word for it and come by to check it out, we have a framed picture on the wall…it’s a really attractive label, clearly inspired by this same view.
Slow start last week, very laid back conversations with our early arrivals– probably the main reason we do this thing–and then it opened up into a festive parade, lots of newcomers (still no name for ‘em, the contest is still open for what to call first-time visitors to our offbeat little wine shop, so keep those posts coming in. What’s that?? No one is posting? Hmmph, “Fine thing!” as my stepfather used to say. )
Among our guests were longtime friends of the don’t see very often variety, which added to the warmth.
Last week I was worried about the Lapostolle sauvignon blanc which I had ordered some while back for some reason I couldn’t remember, and found that several wine publications had given it terrible ratings. On top of that the distributor delivered two cases (thought I only ordered one, having never actually tasted it). As it turns out one critic (Tanzer) gave it a reasonable score and a very nice description that hit the mark exactly. I am beginning to like these latest sauv blancs from Chile; they don’t show the big kiwi-lime flavors of the wonderful New Zealand wines, but rather seem to share a grassy, stony, somewhat floral citrus character and a rich texture along with a clean minerally finish. The other hit was the Storybook 2003 Mayacamas zin, which was showing very well indeed!
This week’s tasting:
Stephen Vincent Chardonnay 08 California $10
A terrific value, the 2008 Chardonnay offers attractive melony, buttery citrus, and tropical fruit characteristics as well as a hint of minerality. Elegant, fresh, and medium-bodied, it tastes far better than its humble price suggests
Stephen Vincent “Crimson” 07 California $10
Firm and spicy, with appetizing blackberry, wild berry, pepper, spice and chicory notes that firm up on the finish. Syrah and Cabernet
Borsao Crianza 08 Spain $10
Purple-colored with a fragrant nose of cedar, spice box, black cherry, and black currant. Smooth-textured, savory, and ripe, it has excellent depth, concentration, and length.
Can Blau Mas de Can Blau 05 Spain WA95pts $31
35% Carinena, 35% Syrah, and 30% Garnacha. Purple-colored, complex, sophisticated perfume of toast, slate, smoke, espresso, black cherry, and blueberry. This leads to a wine with a full-bodied personality, layers of flavor, gobs of fruit, and a pure, lengthy finish. It will be at its best between 2013 and 2025.
Wine Tasting August 21 ’10
It was hot on the island, steaming hot. So hot that people were digging in trunks and attics and basements (Actually I don’t think anyone on Lummi Island really has an attic OR a basement) for shorts and sandals, which you can only wear around here two days per, you know, decade. So hot I had to dig in the back closet of the wine shop (Nooooooooooooo!) to pull out the old standup air conditioner (a Wonderful Invention!) and we had to actually Turn It On for a few hours in the late afternoon for the several days of the Heat Wave (yeah yeah-ah, yeah yeah-ah, oh oh ohhhh….Heat Wave!).
All you need to know is that it was So Hot I added a fifth wine to the weekly tasting, the Chateau Donjon Minervois Rose’, On Ice, as well as the Nefarious Riesling, also On Ice. This is important because even though we once had an ice tray in our refrigerator, it was long ago used for something else, cuz we never use ice for anything. I mean, who needs to make Ice at the North freaking Pole? So here we had this old cooler, and bought a bag of ice and had the riesling and the rose’ in it, you know, chilled, and they tasted Really good, if you get my drift here.
And the amazing thing: people who would NEVER drink either rose’ or riesling were like Raving,” OMG this is GOOD!” And we all tasted, and It was Good. No, no, I mean REALLY Good! So that’s what the occasional Hot Day will do for your palate…Rose’ tastes Wonderful! That’s all I’m sayiing.
Last Saturday was entirely festive, with a cheerful crowd and a beautiful day and so many new faces I didn’t write them all down,. so rather than embarrass myself by leaving someone out or getting their names wrong we’ll skip the names today. We could instead just caption the photos, I guess. Feel free to add your own…and hey best caption wins a free tasting, how about that? The photos are numbered 1-6, in three rows.
We know something you don’t know… I’m so glad we finished off the Bailey’s before we came
This week’s wines:
Casa Lapostolle sauv blanc 09 Chile $10 88pts
Green-gold color. Smoky peach and yellow plum on the nose, with a subtle lemon note adding energy. Fleshy and a touch sweet, with deep orchard fruit and melon flavors and firmer orange and lemon pith qualities. Finishes with good breadth and lingering citrus character.
Chateau Lancyre Pic Saint Loup la Coste d’Aleyrac 06 France $15 88pts
Offers sweet cherry and plum fruit with contrasting bitterness of their pits and a dusting of cardamom and nutmeg; a fetching combination of creamy texture and refreshment; and a lip-smacking finish.
Villa des Anges Cab Sauv 09 France $10
A wine of great freshness, intensity and concentration. Well-structured, offering aromas of black cherries, with hints of red pepper and light, spicy cumin/coriander notes.
Storybook Mountain Zinfandel Mayacamas 03 California $25
Deep ruby/purple-tinged color, and an earthy, peppery nose with lusciously sweet black cherry and currant scents. Neither as plush nor seductive as the Eastern Exposure, and dominated by its mineral/structured personality, it is, nevertheless, a refined, elegant California Zinfandel with medium body, excellent purity, and sweet, well-integrated tannin
Wine Tasting August 14 ’10
Last Saturday was a CRAZY day, a GREAT day shall we say, in that we had a LOT of visitors, including a lot of first-timers (okay we need a catchy name for first-timers…winning name gets a free tasting…we know Mary Beth will come up with a bunch, what about the rest of you??? R U gonna let her walk away with it AGAIN? Where’s yer competitive Spirit?
From a, you know, commercial wine shop point of view, it was a great crowd because several people bought a case of wine, including two who cleaned out our stock of Legoe Bay. Honestly, I think Karl and Suzie have given so much of it away the last few years (for our distant readers, Legoe Bay is Lummi Island’s only resident winery, which we wholeheartedly support!) that the locals tend to devalue it. I taste a LOT of wine, and every one of their wines has a terrific QPR (quality/price ratio)…you get a lot of wine for your money. So it tickles me to sell a bunch!
All the wines showed well last weekend, and all were great buys. The Castelnoble is a little simple but delivers a lot of flavor; the Mt Baker chardonnay still delivered nice flavor but the lovely floral aromatics seem to have faded a bit; the Rosa de Oro zin was Luscious, and the Atalaya, from two vintages, showed two appealing faces. The ’06 was deep, dark, and pruney, while the ’07 was much brighter, not quite so overtly seductive, but still definitely alluring.
Lots of pictures, lots of nice folks, including an inadvertent T-shirt Design Contest. Blake’s had BOTH sides with great art, but Brian and Sam are showing some awesome art as well!
All in all, a pretty Sweet Day! Pix speak for themselves…
This week’s tasting:
Nefarious Stones Throw Riesling ’09 Washington $15
Aromas reminiscent of tangerine and with lively notes of honeysuckle, lemon zest, and grapefruit wrapped up in a vibrantly bright, off-dry package.
De Tarczal Marzemino 06 (Italy) $14
A rare grape, marzemino is a relative of Barbera, with lots of bright, fully ripened fruit, with crisp acidity and ripe tannins.(and is the Secret Ingredient in our Fabulous Screaming Seagull Chili!)
Peirano Estates The Immortal Zin ’08 California $10
Hand selected from 113-year-old vines; deceptively subtle aromas of this wine combine red and black cherry, mineral, earthy rhubarb and slightly spicy red fruit; palate is wrapped in velvety layers of sweet red cherry, strawberry, cocoa and juicy red fruit leading to a lengthy, almost breathless finish.
Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Riserva ’09 Argentina $20 WS91
A dark, lush style, with a dense core of plum sauce and crushed blackberry fruit laid over velvety tannins. The long, toast- and black licorice–filled finish carries some heft, but stays nicely balanced.
Wine Tasting August 7 ’10
Well, once again Mary Beth proved that she actually reads these posts by bringing us a charming little demi-bouteille of limoncello, complete with recipe. Man, that stuff is good. So MB racked up another free tasting, as she did with the “Screaming Seagull” logo contest a couple of weeks ago. This woman needs some competition, folks! So the offer still stands: you bring in limoncello and your recipe, and get one free tasting. Sometime or another we will pick a winner, whatever that means, and it will win something good.
Our first guests were waiting for us on the deck at our new summer opening time of 2pm, bless their hearts. They (Tom and Joanie) are from Seattle, and annually spend their anniversary weekend at the Willows. Riley told them we opened at noon, when he should have said one, but now we have changed it to two, so they were very patient. Tom makes beautiful Craftsman furniture in Seattle, AND he is just about to bottle his first commercial wine. When it is available, we will be sure to pour some for you here!
And I don’t know how this works, but on the rare occasions that we are pouring a Portuguese wine, David K, Lummi Island artist extraordinaire somehow knows about it, not by reading it here, but, you know, Cosmically, and drops by, not entirely sure why he is here. This time it was a festive occasion, with Kim, Sally, and Steve, and they had all boated to Lummi from Sinclair…Arrrrrrrrrr, a stalwart crew they be!
The Portuguese wine, by the way, the Maias Jaen Dao, was very interesting and seductive, although the Pomum Red was probably the WOTD, closely followed by the Viento riesling. It is a curious thing that whenever we pour a riesling a fair number of people are reluctant to taste it at all, and then are surprised that they like it. What’s not to like, it’s a wonderful varietal!
The festivities really got into high gear with the arrival of Rachel and Andreea with three charming friends: Molly, Megan, and Sarah. All were in a Festive mood, and at some point decided they would sing Mr. Sandman, so I looked up and printed out the words, and a couple of verses actually came out pretty well before dissolving in laughter and chaos. Also, all five were Dressed in Black, so we got one Happy Picture in color and one Outlaw photo in a sort of sepia tone, you know, like Bank Robbers! All You need to Know: a Good Time was had by All!
(there are 26 “dum’s” in every chorus…count’em…it’s two groups of 13!…Who Knew?)
This week’s tasting:
Mt. Baker Chardonnay ’07 Washington $12
Light, floral, and unoaked, a refreshing white wine not easily identifiable as chardonnay...
Castelnoble Tinto Roble “06 Spain $8 WA 88pts
100% Tempranillo with an enticing bouquet of raspberry, blackcurrant, and spice box. Elegant on the palate, it has tons of flavor and an easy-going finish with no hard edges.A great buy!
Rosa d’ Oro Primitivo (Calif) $15 Fascinating aromas and flavors of ripe cherry and roses that begin on the nose and carry through the finish; primitivo is an ancestor of zinfandel, and you can tell with these rich, nearly jammy flavors.
Atalaya ‘07 Spain WA91pts $14
First release, blend of Monastrell & Garnacha; expressive bouquet of violets, spice box, leather, game, blueberry, and black cherry; lots of easy-going flavor, superb depth, complexity, and a 45-second finish. Awesome!