Wine Tasting April 2 ’11 ***********
REMEMBER, this Friday, April 1 from 4:30-6:30 we will host an opening Gallery reception for our friend, neighbor, and April artist Anne Gibert, (free wine and goodies!) who will be showing new and old paintings and etchings she describes as “various creatures, some real, some imaginary. Some are from Lummi or recent travels. Some animals (bear, coyote) some birds, some people. A couple of small landscapes and one big one of that green sailboat that was moored off my beach last summer.” All YOU need to know is we already have our favorites!
Note: The eleven stars *********** above (count’em!) are to acknowledge our 11th anniversary. On April 2, 2000, we were married right here on Lummi Island, on a beautiful sunny day, in Ann Morris’ lovely guest house, followed by dinner for 40 at the Beach Store Cafe, a special meal with special friends on a special day. Worth a toast, I’d say! Cheers!
Last week’s wines were (what can I say???) another hit, with our lovely, grassy little Casa Lapostolle sauv blanc from Chile (I am really enjoying these lately); our old favorite Santa Digna carmenere (also Chile of course); the big, fat, rad, red blend from Martinez & Martinez (we still have some), and the day’s big winner, the suave and satisfying Browne Family cab.
Last week we found ourselves hosting a series of charming new couples, one getting married in June, one celebrating an anniversary, a couple of others just, you know, lost on Lummi Island with no idea how they got here. Maybe romance is in the air. Maybe everyone’s GPS went haywire. Maybe they had no idea how much the ferry fares have gone up in the last month or two. For whatever reason we were graced with lots of new faces and a festive atmosphere.
This week’s wines:
Delaille “Unique” Cheverny sauv blanc 08 France $12
Shows a pronounced thyme note, with good nerve to the lime flavor on the back end.
Colome Amalaya ’09 Argentina $9
From one of the highest and most remote vineyards in the world (8000 ft). Dark, with a core of crushed currant and plum fruit laced with black tea, fig, raisin and cherry with hints of mesquite and fruitcake. Stays fresh on the finish. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tannat.
St. Cosme Deux Albions ’08 France $20
Forward, with solid raspberry and ganache notes backed by graphite and tobacco on the finish. Slightly taut, but with solid length and depth.
Lost River Nooksack Redd ’08 Washington $18
Our friends at Lost River make this special blend of cab, merlot, and cab franc to benefit the Nooksack River Salmon Enhancement Administration…a worthy cause, AND it’s DELICIOUS!
Wine Tasting March 26 ’11 Earth Hour Day
Take part in the worldwide observation of Earth Hour by lighting a couple of candles, turning off the lights, and sipping a meditative glass of good wine (we can help you get ready!) for an hour beginning at 8:30 pm.
NEXT Friday, April 1 from 4:30-6:30 we will host an opening Gallery reception for our friend, neighbor, and April artist Anne Gibert, who describes this group of paintings thus: “They are various creatures, some real, some imaginary. Some are from Lummi or recent travels. Some animals (bear, coyote) some birds, some people. A couple of small landscapes and one big one of that green sailboat that was moored off my beach* last summer.” * (long story!)-
New card rack! Over the past year several of our artists have featured their work on cards (does anyone actually send real cards anymore???). Our neighbor Eberhard made us a lovely rack where we can display a selection from the past year’s artists, including Kim Gardner, Eberhard, and Brendan Dunn. The new rack is at the top of the stairs–take a look!
What can I say, last week was another great tasting! I think we are starting to see some of the fruit (literally and figuratively) of the global wine glut we have been anticipating. As part of the continuing process of big economic fish swallowing up smaller big fish and becoming Huge Fish, many small family wineries continue to be bought up by giant corporations, sometimes keeping the same standards, sometimes not. And, like fishermen trying to catch everything in the ocean, everyone tries to make as much wine as possible and sell it for as high a price as possible. But at the same time, since about 1980 (Reagan economic mythology began ) real wages in America have remained static even while the very rich have become the ultra rich.
All YOU need to know is that now the world is making more wine (and ever better wine at that) than ever, and yes, there are some really fabulous and expensive wines out there none of us can afford, and all the wineries want to get into the cult wine category (few will make it) so it also means a lot of great deals on a lot of pretty tasty, well-made, inexpensive wines!
So following the trend for the last few months, last week’s tasting featured four gems. The new Stephen Vincent chardonnay and “Crimson” blend were typically overdelivering fruit and flavor; the new Terre Antiche montepulciano is even better than last year (and only eight bucks!), and the ’06 Pasanau Ceps Nous “baby Priorat” was absolutely delicious!
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. (what Rich calls “grassy minerality”–!)
Santa Digna Carmenere 07 Chile $10
Chalky notes of toasty plums, blueberry, raisin give way to finish of dark prunes and spicy white pepper…a great value and longtime AWG favorite!
Martinez & Martinez Red ’07 Washington $20
Bright, expressive wine with aromas of raspberries, pencil shavings and cherries, followed by ripe, plump flavors of red and black fruit atop a rich, silky palate.”
Browne Family Cabernet 06 Washington $27
Wine Tasting March 19 ’11
Visiting Lummi Island? Flying in from Sydney for dinner by sensational new chef Blaine Wetzel at Willows Inn? Why not pick up a bottle of knockout Washington wine from our extensive cellar selection of the highly acclaimed Quilceda Creek and Betz wines from the last several years??? Our weekly tasting hours are Saturdays 1-5 pm, or anytime for “Wine Emergencies”…!
Very interesting selection of wines last Saturday, beginning with the very unusual white nebbiolo with its range of complex flavors, followed by an intriguing, densely flavored pinot noir from the southern-most reaches of Argentina in Patagonia.
The Fernandez Dehesa la Granja offered full-bodied flavors and texture in the Spanish style, and the Novelty Hill syrah was perfectly situated to be the Wine of the Day with its satisfying texture and full-bodied flavors.
This is also the week after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and at this writing several nuclear reactors are on the brink of catastrophic meltdown, which would have severe and long-lasting impacts. Heavy stuff…here’s hoping the world manages to dodge that bullet.
We are off to Snohomish on Sunday for the annual Quilceda Creek wine pickup, our one chance a year to taste these fantastic wines, so always a high point in our annual wine calendar! We do have several vintages tucked away; feel free to ask if you are looking for a world-class cabernet for a really special occasion.
Just got home from another awesome dinner at Ciao Thyme in Bellingham. Not exactly a restaurant, and operated by once upon a thyme chef at Lummi island’s own Beach Store Cafe (Mataio), Ciao Thyme offers periodic dinners where every bite is little poem to to the experience of taste. There is some talk of arranging some sort of Ciao Thyme dinner somewhere on Lummi Island, so stay tuned!
Hope to see you this weekend!
Stephen Vincent Chardonnay 09 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” 09 California $10
Firm and spicy, with appetizing blackberry, wild berry, pepper, spice and chicory notes that firm up on the finish. Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Terre antiche montepulciano 09 Italy $8
Stylish, medium to full bodied, has essence of tarragon and rosemary on the nose, and violets, raspberry jam and black cherry on the palate.
Pasanau Ceps Nous 06 Spain $22 WA 92pts
Blend of Garnacha, Merlot, Mazuelo, and Syrah. Dark crimson-colored, it has a fragrant bouquet of garrigue, mineral, black cherry, and blueberry. On the palate it delivers gobs of bright, lively fruit buttressed by good acidity, excellent intensity and concentration, and complex flavors. It is a fine value and a great introduction to Priorat.
Saturday Wine Tasting March 12 ’10 (almost the Ides)
Bold suggestion: Flying in from Sydney for dinner at Lummi island’s newly world-famous Willows Inn? Why not pick up a bottle of knockout Washington wine from our extensive cellar selection of the highly acclaimed Quilceda Creek and Betz wines from the last several years???
Our last few tastings have spotlighted some really delicious wines at really amazing bargain prices. Makes me wonder what’s going on in the wine stars–lots of great buys in all directions, and last week followed the trend. First, the Chateau L’Hermitage roussanne blend is lovely and nuanced–I have become a major fan of roussanne blends in the past year or two, with their sumptuous texture and peachy highlights.
And the new Pend d’Oreille Bistro Rouge was a crowd-pleasing knockout, something of a fruit bomb with a nice touch of class, a terrific value. Finished up the remains of our tasting bottle of the Altos las Hormigas (“the Ants”) malbec a day or two later to find it had opened up considerably from “hmm, pretty good” to “MMMmmmm…hmmm…hmmm!” And then the knockout punch, the Stevens Winery Black Tongue Syrah (is that a great name for a syrah or What?), with the kind of dark, brooding depths one needs this time of year to finally break free from Winter!
The Ides of March live in infamy from the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, although the Ides, along with the Kalends and the Nones, were just ways of counting the days each month–very complicated ways, brought to you by those wonderful folks who thought it would be a good idea to call “seven” VII and “nine” IX. I mean, what were they thinking?
This week’s wines, all (as usual) yummy!
Nera ‘La Novella’ nebbiolo ’10 Italy $15
Offers surprising complexity: zesty lemon cream, yellow apple, and white grapes, with a touch of nut skin, white pepper, and dusty earth.
Manos Negras pinot noir ’08 Argentina $12
Mulled cherry, cola and anise notes mingle in this juicy, forward, light-bodied Pinot.
Fernandez Dehesa la Granja ’04 Spain $17
Toasty and smoky notes frame a core of plum and earth flavors in this austere red, which has chewy tannins and a smoky, cedary finish. Tempranillo
Novelty Hill Syrah ’06 Washington $17 WS89pts
Firm and crisp, showing pretty plum and guava notes that play against refined tannins and a hint of bacon on the long finish.