Lummi Island Wine Tasting July 30 ’11
First, a relatively serious note, regarding the national budget nonsense. Being burdened as I am with being a recovering Economist, all of this daily drivel about “extending the debt limit” is just too much to bear. All you need to know is that BOTH so-called “sides” in this so-called “debate” are way, way, way far from any kind of Reality.
Rather than expound on this at any length, I will simply refer you to what I believe is the most cogent presentation of the issues facing us that I have heard. What neither party is talking about is that since 1940 the share of taxes paid by corporations has fallen enormously relative to the share paid by individuals (from 50% more to 75% less), while the marginal tax rate in income over $100,000 has fallen from 95% to 35% (not including volumes of new loopholes). Add two never-ending and extravagant wars, and you have spending out of control and revenue cut to the bone.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to take to the streets. The solution is not how much more to take from the middle class and the poor so the so-called Private Sector can create jobs and make it all better (new jobs are all offshore). It is probably true that the idiotic and sadistic Republican plan is marginally worse than the moronic and serving-the-same masters Democratic plan, but at the end of the day it is still more for Wall Street and less for us. As one famous Indian Chief of old put it about treaties with the White Man: “First they take the loaf, and then they take the crumbs.”
Sorry about that, but every once in a while I just gotta Rant.
On other fronts, last weekend was bad for Signs. A few weeks ago one of our regulars unfortunately backed over the sandwich board in front of the shop; I was able to make an acceptable (if you don’t look too closely) repair. Last weekend it got run over it again, and it held up pretty well except for a few tread marks. It also turned out that the sandwich board we place at the end of our street was found in the ditch on Legoe Bay Road near where it usually stands, with one hinge torn, and of course the inevitable tire marks. And one big corner smashed a bit. So they are tough little buggers.
This last weekend of July is noteworthy–and poignant–because it marks the departure from the Island of some of our closest friends, all of whom we have met through our little wine shop: Kier and David are finishing their month down the street and heading back to Oregon, and Leigh and Brian are headed to the mainland on the first leg of their next Airstream adventure. Dear friends, you will be missed!
Last week’s wines were pretty uniformly a Hit; all showed very well in the way that makes you want to sit down and enjoy a glass with some good food, good friends, and good conversation. I think this week’s will partner well with the nice weather we are promised. Please drop by, we’d love to see you!
We have gotten a BUNCH of wine in over the last couple of weeks that I think you will like a lot. Last weekend we poured the Mt Baker riesling, and on Thursday and Friday their delightful Rousanne, a terrific bargain at only $9. I ordered another five cases, cuz this vintage is almost gone, and I really like this stuff. We still have a few in the shop if you can’t wait, but more is on the way.
This week’s wines:
Quinta de Aveleda vinho verde ’09 Portugal $10
Selected from the best grapes (Loureiro, Trajadura and Alvarinho) from the year’s harvest for blending vinho verde to produce a high quality Vinho Verde.
Montfaucon Gardettes rose ’10 France $12
A rosé de saignée with a deep pink coloured blend of Cinsault, Counoise and Grenache with delicate aromas of peach and violets.
Secco-Bertani Valpolicella Valpantena Ripasso 07 Italy $14
The wine undergoes an 11-day maceration in vats at a controlled temperature and then refermented over Recioto Amarone skins, following the traditional Veronese technique called “Ripasso”. 75% of the wine ages in large Slavonian oak casks, 25% in French oak barriques, for approximately 18 months; it is refined in bottle for a minimum of 90 days.
XYZin ’08 California $14
Opens with an attractive aroma of rose petals, juicy pomegranate, and warm brown sugar. Strawberry, and plum fruit dominate the entry and lead to a plush mid-palate redolent of dark cherries and mulberries complemented by earthy dimensions of sandalwood, fresh bay leaf, and chocolate.
Lummi Island Wine Tasting July 23, ’11
Sometimes a lot happens from one week to the next, and this has been one of those weeks: lots of new and interesting experiences, several prompted by visiting friends. So where do you take friends from Afar? To answer this question we have to imagine what it’s like to be a visitor in our own backyards, which is inevitably much larger philosophical question about Identity.
This has been such a week.
On Monday we blipped on down to Seattle for a tasting of particularly good Italian wines. We will have more to say about that in the coming weeks.
It has been a couple of years since we tasted through the Mt. Baker wines. In case you are not familiar with them, they are perhaps Whatcom County’s Premier winery, started back in the seventies, I think. We were so impressed with the wines that we bought several for the shop, which we will be pouring in the next weekend or two– this weekend we will be pouring their light, crisp, and aromatic Riesling (see below).
Our visit to Milano’s came by a slightly more circuitous route. During our tasting of some lovely Italian wines in Seattle on Monday, I met Jeanne Debari, owner of Milano’s. I was so impressed with her knowledge of Italian wines that the very next day we and our visiting friends took an afternoon drive that included wine tasting at Mt. Baker vineyards and late lunch at Milano’s, followed by (I’m not making this up) a tea tasting at the Lynden Library which has renewed our interest in tea. Like wine, tea has an ancient and complex history.
All you need to know is that Milano’s gets our highest recommendation. We all ordered different dishes, and they were all exceptionally good.
The wine tasting at Mt. Baker Vineyards was also illuminating! Almost EVERYTHING we tried was really, really tasty, and we bought a bunch of their new wines, which we will be tasting with you over the next few weeks.
This week’s wines:
Mt. Baker Riesling “09 Washington $14
Lean and crisp, while at the same time being fragrant and alluring, this one is a crowd-pleaser.
Olivares Monastrell Altos de la Hoya ’09 Spain $12
Ungrafted Old-Vines Monastrell contains 8% Garnacha in its blend. It delivers high-toned black and blue fruit flavors and aromas framed by a ripe wine with lively acidity, a smooth texture, and a pure, silky finish. Drink this outstanding value over the next 3-4 years.
Pago de las Capellanes ’09 Spain WA90pts $17
Spicy black fruit aromas, lavender, and leather lead to a ripe, intense, savory wine that will pair beautifully with grilled foods over the next 4-5 years….an outstanding value.
Ksana Malbec Mendoza Reserva 2006 Argentina $24 WS 92 pts
Very ripe, but also superfresh, with velvety texture and a long, beguiling palate of fig sauce, melted licorice, Turkish coffee, macerated currant and blackberry fruit. Long and dense on the finish, but pure and vivid.
Wine Tasting July 16 ’11 Summer Vacation Mind
In some unconscious way I guess I had vaguely imagined that “retirement” would be pretty much like summer vacation from, oh, something like sixth or seventh grade, when the just-over-two-months between mid-June and early September stretched our Endlessly in front of us.
Sure, we knew that September would come around, and Back to School, and following a routine, but at that age a couple of months seemed like Forever, and so there was this huge Spaciousness about Summer.
The images that come to mind are waking up with the Sun already streaming in the window, throwing yourself into this week’s jeans, Tshirt, and sneakers, gobbling a bowl of cornflakes, and biking down to the ball field with glove, ball and your favorite bat, to hang out, wait for a pickup game, walk up to the corner store for a soda, or just sit around and schmooze about our favorite players (why is it so Impossible to get a Ted Williams baseball card no matter How Much gum you buy?–it’s a Mystery)– or listen to a Red Sox game (it was New England after all) on someone’s new-fangled Transistor Radio, with the familiar and reassuring Voice of Curt Gowdy doing the play by play.
Maybe you grew up somewhere else, with a different Local Team, with different announcer, but I think it’s the same thing, some kind of tribal or family Comfort…..this familiar Voice. Whether the Team was winning or losing, the constant was the Voice… rich, sonorous, familiar as a family member…deeply comforting in retrospect.
So. I guess what I’m saying is that being retired isn’t like that, and that is an interesting koan. It feels like there is too much that needs to be done, and that it won’t be possible to accomplish it all. But when we were nine or ten years old that’s not how we organized our worlds, and that brings us to today’s koan, the Everday koan:….as we get older, how can we recreate the expansiveness and innocence of the ten-year-old mind…? How can we come back to the Present Moment?
But I digress. More importantly, I would like you all to remember that we are now open Thursdays and Friday evenings , as well as our usual Saturday afternoons. That includes a generous tasting of two wines, usually a white and a red, as well as a few munchies.
All you need to know is that you can now drop in Thursday or Friday evenings, pick up a stash for the weekend, and unwind with a generous pour of a great red and a great white wine.
Now, having written about fifteen versions of this post which have all disappeared, I invite you to drop in this weekend!
Marchetti Later Harvest Verdicchio ’10 (Italy) $14
Full-bodied with lush notes of pear and melon, and beautiful acidity. An extra month on the vine delivers not sweetness, but rather greater body, structure, and fruit essence. Entirely satisfying!
Marquis Philips Shiraz ’07 (Australia) $14
These guys wrote the book on Big Shiraz–Fruit forward, with mouth-filling notes of crushed strawberry, blackberry, and dark chocolate.
Can Blau 08 Spain $14 WA89pts
Dark ruby-colored, it reveals a compelling bouquet of mineral, smoke, spice box, black cherry, and plum. Sweet and smooth-textured on the palate, this medium to full-bodied effort has excellent depth, concentration, and length.
Cougar Crest Dedication 4 ’07 Washington $19
44% Syrah, 32% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Luch, ripe plums, red currants, black cherries, and a hint of dried roses and herbs on the nose are balanced by acidity and tannins that are smooth and graceful, not overbearing. Rich on the palate and long on the finish,
Lummi Island Wine Tasting July 9, ’11
For a number of reasons, Fourth of July on Lummi Island is something of a Big Deal…whether you want it to be or not. This has a lot to do with the fact that the ferry to the Island leaves the mainland from Gooseberry Point, which is part of Lummi Nation, our neighboring Indian tribe, whose ancestors have been living in these parts for something like nine thousand years. Even if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, it kinda makes you feel like a pretty recent arrival.
Being a sort of separate Nation within the U. S., and within the State of Washington, and within the Nation of USA, the Tribe has a lot of special rules and laws that govern it. Among those is the right to sell fireworks in the leadup to the Fourth.However that works, what happens around here is that for about two weeks before the 4th, a veritable Midway of Fireworks Stands blooms along all the main roads to and through “the Rez,” with names like Jack’s Bomb Shack and Dangereux Dave’s.
Our Gang celebrated the Fourth with a (for lack of a better term) Progressive Party (don’t you love it?, as Judy might say…?), beginning across the street at Brenda’s, moving down-island (and Up the Mountain) to Leigh and Brian’s for dessert and Fantastic View #1, and then on to Leere’s for Super Fantastic View #2. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the 180 degree view, and, even more amazing, when I Google “view of Bellingham from Lummi Mountain,” I don’t get any photos that capture the extraordinariness of the view.
So I am now officially in search of a photo that captures both the panorama and the perspective we saw–yes, Free Tasting for Two for such a photo! It was really quite magical. All YOU need to know is that you could see for Miles and Miles, and in every direction people were spending lots of $/hour just Blowing Things Up. If you think about it for more than a few seconds it is really bizarre.
Below a photo of the revelers up on the mountain, including lots (but definitely not all) of our Regulars: from l to r: Bruce, Judy, Rich (moi), John, David, Brian, Leigh (fore) Ryan D, Kier, Ryan T, Leere, Pam (fore), Marlene, Marc, Brenda. These wonderful people represent our community, and we met almost all of them– and they met each other in many cases–at our “wine shop.” (btw, noticeably missing from this photo is my darling wife and usually “joined at the hip” partner in all things, Pat.) So we must be doing something right, huh? And we may not have been here for nine thousand years, but for this moment, this is our Tribe, by which we define ourselves and are continually enriched, and this wonderful photo captures it perfectly. (photo by Leigh)
I could talk about last week’s wines, or about last weekend, our first weekend open Thurs thru Saturday, but I like this picture and what it represents so much that it seems more appropriate to leave it here. This beautiful photo does a magnificent job of capturing the aliveness and individuality that all of you bring and share with us and with each other. More than anything I could possibly put into words, this photo (thanks, Leigh!) captures much that is important….great moment, great photo, great community; what extraordinary good fortune!
This week’s wines:
Vin du Lac Dry Riesling ’09 Washington $17
From this charming little winery overlooking Lake Chelan comes this crisp dry riesling with brisk acidity and minerality, with lively notes of lime and nectarine.
Chateau Lancyre Rose France $15
From the little area of Pic St. Loup (a favorite region) comes this pale rose; Light, bright pink, spicy aromas of wild strawberry, cranberry and rose, dry and incisive, with tangy red fruit flavors.
Tre Donne D’Arc Langhe Rosso ’06 Italy $16
Blend of Barbera, Pinot Noir (Nero), Dolcetto, and the rare, highly aromatic grape Freisa; the Barbera is aged in French oak, the Pinot Noir in Slavonian 20 HL barrels, while the Dolcetto and Freisa are unoaked, lively, and fresh. Wow! Named for the sisters lifetime inspiration Joan of Arc, D’Arc is a powerful, yet elegant wine with rich, moody fruit, bracing purity, and fascinating depth. A value extraordinaire.
Perazzeta Erio ’07 Italy $15
Sangio, cab, syrah blend (”Super Tuscan)– Balance, extract, and fruit so intense it induces sensations of actually chewing cherries, prunes and fresh dates…