Lummi Island Wine Tasting April 30 ’10
This week we are on the road, visiting friends and a few wineries in Willamette Valley in Oregon. We have dropped in on a few wineries, and will be bringing back a few interesting wines we have found at Anne Amie and at Winderlea. We also spent some time today at the Evergreen Aviation and Space museum, a curious and enjoyable collection of old aircraft and space race memoribilia. Lots of well-restored displays, including of course the infamous “Spruce Goose” designed and built by Howard Hughes in the 40′s, possibly the biggest airplane ever built, at least in some ways. It did manage to fly once for a mile or so before touching back down on the water. It’s HUGE, and made of wood in a method similar to today’s “cold-molding” of boats with epoxy laminated layers of wood strips.
Really nice crowd last week for another very satisfying tasting. Our first guests were Chris and Misty, here for a couple of days for, you guessed it, dinner at the Willows. He is the chef at the Four Seasons in Seattle. So we had a wide-ranging discussion about food and wine. There were also, of course, many of the Usual Suspects who give this place its quirky charm (just my opinion).
Probably the wine of the day was the ’03 Casa Lapostolle cab from Chile. We have had this around for some while, and it never showed particularly well. This time, however, it was big and complex and satisfying. Unfortunately we only had a few bottles and they sold quickly.
Okay, T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-that’s about it, hope to see you all this weekend!
This week’s wines:
Peirano Estates The Other White ’07 California $10
Aromas of apples, pears, & tropical fruit, with hints of coconut and vanilla. Lush flavors of fresh ripe pears, apples, tropical fruit and homemade lemon pie lead to a long, seductive, finish. A fantastic buy!
Terre Rouge Tête-à-Tête Syrah 02 California $16
A likable and out-of-the-ordinary blend, with aromas of cedar, plum and spice and zesty yet supple flavors of licorice, coffee and blackberry.
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.
Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero ‘04 Spain WA92pts $21
Dense ruby/purple color is followed by a projected nose of blackberries, currants, cherries, smoky oak, and crushed rocks. Terrific texture, super purity, an opulent, full-bodied palate, and a long, heady finish.
Lummi Island Wine Tasting April 23 ’11– Lovers Day!
Click for more about Lovers Day!
It has been clear for a few months now here on tiny Lummi Island that Blaine and the Willows Inn are getting a lot of Coat-tail Effect from the Noma hype, and people are coming from all over the planet to indulge their palates (including us in early May!). So we’re hoping, you know, we will get a little…hmmm, how does one say…a “coat-tail coat tail effect”….! I mean, there are only about five things to do on Lummi Island on a weekend and we’re one of them, so…think of it like hitchhiking…when there’s a lot more traffic, there are more opportunities to catch a ride, that’s all I’m saying!
We are on such a roll…last week’s wines continued the trend of tasty, delicious, even luscious wines at amazing prices. This is a great time to be a wine lover; there is so much good juice out there that you can find a lot of great wines at affordable prices.
The Seghesio pinot gris was a knockout with its huge nose of fruit and flowers, and we ran out–don’t worry, looking for more! The Marchesi di Gresy Barbera I discovered at a great dinner at Ciao Thyme recently…lovely in all directions, a really satisfying wine. The Chook shiraz demonstrated why Australia is famous for its one-dimensional huge fruit bombs, this one deep, dark, almost black in color and lots of flavor. There is a certain mood that no other wine will satisfy, so you gotta keep some of these Aussies at the ready!
My personal favorite (by a small margin as they were all satisfying) was the Sierra Cantabria Crianza, which carried itself with a certain maturity, a certain complexity, and with nuanced flavors and the rich, soft tannins that, like Sirens, beckon you to drink more.
Looks like I forgot to take pictures in the shop last week, doh! So I found this photo of the high country of Italy from whence comes an unusual red we will be tasting this weekend. Pretty dramatic country, huh?
Alto Adige in Northern Italy
This week’s tasting:
Chalone Monterey Chardonnay ’09 California $10
Opens up nicely into a nice balance between the plush texture of oak and fresh notes of baked pear, Braeburn apple and sweet tangerine accented by floral notes and nutmeg.
Erste+Neue Edelvernatsch ’09 Italy $10 (read more)
An unusual grape from the Tyrolean alps of Italy. Light cherry red in color; aromatic, fine fruity bouquet dominated by cherry and raspberry tones, with hints of almonds; medium-bodied, very soft on the palate, an excellent accompaniment to typical Tyrolean fare such as speck and sausage (who knew?), as well as lighter meats and mild cheeses. Light acidity on the palate, fresh and straightforward.
Bodegas Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec ’08 Argentina WA90pts $10
Opaque purple; spice box, incense, lavender, and black fruit aromas; underlying structure.
Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cab Sauv 2003 (Chile) $18
A full-bodied and expressive red, with plenty of berry, red plum and chocolate-spice flavors. There are nice mineral and cedar notes mixed in, with fine tannins on the finish…
Lummi Island Wine Tasting April 16 ’11
This weekend (Friday the 15th) is the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Hats off and glasses high, lads, to those who perished for the folly of its corporate owners, who thought the full complement of lifeboats would clutter the ship’s appearance.
Special Event Announcement!
Mark your calendars for this Saturday night at 7:30 pm at the Grange for a presentation (sponsored by Friends of the Island Library) on “State Banks” by Ann Tilentseff, author of “Web of Debt,” who is spearheading a national effort for all states to follow the very successful example of North Dakota, the only state to have its own bank. Like “duh,” how many Wall Street middlemen with their hands in our pockets does it take to make YOU want a state bank?
What can I say? Another fabulous tasting last Saturday, and a nonstop crowd– Very Festive! Not a great day for rose– spring is here but only between about 2 and 4 in the afternoon– but the reds were awesome! The new Bricco del Tempo Barbera is just plain delicious and a great buy; the Almira Los Dos was close behind, and–finally, after several years of bottle age– the Seghesio ’04 Home Ranch zinfandel was an absolute knockout, demonstrating that, yeah, some wines are worth waiting for!
By the way, we have just in the new Seghesio ’09 Sonoma zin; always predictably satisfying, this year is way over the top, so if you like big fruit, this one won’t last long! Also, if you liked last week’s Home Ranch Zin, we also just stocked the new release of their Rockpile vineyard zin, which is delicious right now, but is gonna get even better over the next couple of years. Btw, Seghesio has been making wine in Sonoma for five generations now, one of the oldest wineries/vineyards around.
This week’s tasting:
Seghesio pinot gris ’09 California $17
Intoxicating aromas and flavors of ripe apples and quince. Lively citrus character followed by lingering notes of apple and tropical fruit. Try this wine with grilled pork chops with lemon zest, rosemary and black pepper.
Marchesi di Gresi Barbera d’Alba ’07 Italy $16
Deep red with ruby highlights. Superripe, perfumed aromas of raspberry, cherry and caramel oak. Fat, sweet, silky and broad, but with lovely acidity to frame the fruit and spice flavors. In a downright showy style.
The Chook shiraz ’09 Australia $15 90points
Glass-staining purple. Sexy, Rhone-like aromas of blackcurrant, cherry, violet and tobacco, with a strong peppery quality that becomes more intense with air. Juicy, palate-staining dark berry flavors show impressive freshness, with tangy acidity providing lift. Finishes with very good cut and persistent spiciness.
Sierra Cantabria Crianza ’06 Spain $18 90pts
100% tempranillo) Bright ruby. Mineral-driven aromas of cherry, coffee, mocha, game, sassafras and oak. The bitter cherry, tar and herbal flavors show a juicy quality and are nicely framed by dusty tannins. Finishes with very good freshness and a strong echo of musky herbs and graphite.
Lummi Island Wine Tasting April 9 ’11
I have restocked our April “Wine of the Month,” the Altos las Libres Colonias Bonarda from Argentina. We don’t often have a “wine of the month,” but every once in a while a wine shows up that so over-delivers for its price that it really gets your attention. I don’t know how long this will be available, and I highly recommend buying this one by the case: our price $96. It’s an incredible value.
We stocked up on our supply of Pleasant Valley Cheese today, and have very small amounts (more in the future) of two very special new cheeses: lavender (subtle and perfect for an Easter cheese plate with maybe a pinot noir or a rose) and a new variation on Fines Herbes, this one Herbes de Provence, to enthusiastic reviews. Very limited supplies of both for the moment, so be sure to ask!
We are planning a trip to France in October. One of the wine regions we want to visit is Languedoc-Roussillon, which stretches from the southern Rhone at the Northeast down to the Spanish border along the Mediterranean. Today’s rose is from Minervois, which lies northeast of Carcassonne. We’ve been reading a lot about the century-long crusade to hunt down and burn at the stake (oh, and by they way, take all the lands ) of a “heretical” group called the Cathars in the 1200′s. a gruesome bit of history, and ample reason to devoutly eschew mixing religion and politics.
More importantly, last weekend we met new Lummi Islanders Ryan and Ryan (I have NO idea what you say when you try to call one of them on the phone), who lived in France for six years, and one of them was — this is so awesome– in the wine business, and knows all about the wines of the area we are planning to visit! Our new Best Friend!
Usually our standard for posting photos is “look like you’re having a good time!” This photo kinda looks like “yeah, it was a good wine, I’m sorry I said bad things about it, we’re really gonna miss it”…
This week’s tasting:
Chateau Donjon Rose ’09 France $10
Blend of syrah, cinsault, grenache, one element in my fascination with Minervois. Fruity, with berry, melon and red cherry flavors that are bright. Features mineral and spice on the finish.
Bricco del Tempo Barbera ’09 Italy $10
An old standby, this barbera is a well-priced, medium-bodied barbera with bright, red fruit tones that feature hints of violets, earth and plum with just a whisper of tannin.
Almira Los Dos ’09 Spain $9
Unoaked blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah. Deep crimson-colored, it reveals a Gamay-like, fruity, black cherry and blueberry-scented bouquet. Ripe and succulent on the palate with no hard edges.
Seghesio Zinfandel Home Ranch ’04 California WA92pts $26
Kirsch liqueur, raspberries, a true field blend of 94% Zinfandel and 6% Petite Sirah and Carignan from a vineyard planted in 1895, it boasts a dark ruby color, savory notes of raspberries, cherries, minerals, and flowers. Ripe, fruity, deep, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully etched. Vineyard usually shows some “graham cracker” notes as well…do you taste them?