Wine Tasting November 26 ’11
NAPA NAPA NAPA NAPA NAPA
As I write this we are visiting family near Napa for Thanksgiving. The valley is particularly lovely this time of year, with lots of color in the vineyards. This morning I caught this photo of water droplets on cabernet grapes that were left behind in the recent harvest.
ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST
Our studio tour artist, Anita Aparicio, has just opened a show in Bellingham, leaving us with only about a half dozen of her pieces. But about 30 of her mixed-media collages will be on display starting Nov. 25 at Fairhaven Originals Gallery. The exhibit, which runs through December, is called “A Visual History of Bellingham,” because most of the pieces include digital images and old photos of Bellingham from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Read more in this nice article in the Herald.
TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES
Some of you were disappointed last weekend because one person (bless her!) came in early and bought the remaining two dozen! I keep telling you that it is rare actually to have any at all to sell in the shop because they are usually made to fill preorders. So this is your first warning: There WILL be truffles for Christmas, probably four flavors, packaged in boxes of four for $5. We will post the flavors next week, and they will be available for pickup December 22-24. Call Pat to reserve some, 758-2959.
HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS
The end of November is upon us, so even as you are all recovering from a hopefully wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family, we are also of course accelerating toward Christmas and New Year’s. Although we will NOT be open the day after Thanksgiving (Nov 25), we WILL be open this Saturday, November 26, as usual from 2-6pm. During December we will be open our usual hours on Fridays from 4-7pm and Saturdays from 2-6, including Christmas Eve. However, we will NOT be open usual hours on New Year’s Eve. Rather, we will be open for our Seventh Annual East Coast New Year’s Eve party from 7-9. We will provide the wine, and guests are invited to bring finger food to share. And when the ball drops in Times Square (9pm our time) we celebrate the New Year! (and you young folks can go on to your next party while those so inclined can go home and call it a day, month, year…!
Saturday’s tasting lineup:
Chalone Monterey Chardonnay ’09 California $10
Opens up 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.
Palama Negroamaro 08 (Italy) $10
Elegantly expansive, rich and robust. Although it is 100% “rustic” Negroamaro, it is amazingly balanced; silky mouthfeel, aromas of violets, plums, fresh ground pepper and blackberry jam with accents of cinnamon, leather, tobacco and smoke.
Bodegas Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec ’08 Argentina WA90pts $10
A deep red color with violet hues, this wine exudes aromas of great complexity with very ripe dark berries with a touch of black pepper and spice. The palate is well integrated, combining delicate ripe tannins and complex finish with hints of coffee, vanilla and toast.
Langmeil Three Gardens SMG ’09 Australia $16
Rich, silky-smooth and round, delivering a generous wave of red berry, cherry, spice and licorice that plays out through a long, harmonious finish. Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre.
Arrival: Pernes les Fontaines and Gordes
Our base for our first week in France was an apartment in Pernes les Fontaines, the “Town of Forty Fountains,” about 30 minutes southeast from Avignon. Since our first booking was with Untours, our second day we attended a brief orientation meeting in nearby L’Isle sur la Sorgue. We recommend Untours for occasional travelers like us who don’t want to be part of a tour, but do appreciate the support structure Untours provides, with local reference materials, being met at the airport, and having a local resource person available for advice. Their approach gives you a leg up on your new surroundings that makes arrival in a strange place relatively seamless.
In the afternoon we took the opportunity to drive into the Luberon, where we visited the old and somewhat strange Village des Bories, a cluster of very primitive stone stuctures, parts of which date back as far as the 7th century, with other elements as recent as the 18th century. If you click through the photos on the linked site, you can see that the building technique involved building walls that came toward each other at the top, until neither a “roof” nor an arch was necessary. Doorways were formed by resting a long enough stone across the two jambs.
From there it was a short drive to the hilltop town of Gordes, reminiscent of many of the hilltop towns of Tuscany.
See slide show for more. (to read the captions you will probably need to extend the slide display time).
Lummi Island Wine Tasting November 19 ’11
STUDIO TOUR STUDIO TOUR STUDIO TOUR STUDIO TOUR STUDIO TOUR
Last week was Winter artists’ Studio tour. Not “Winter Artists,” but “Winter Studio Tour.” Until a few years ago, this used to happen the first weekend in December. But because Winter –the real Winter, frozen and dark and gloomy– often makes an appearance around here in late November or early December, there were numerous occasions when no one bothered to come out. And so it came to pass that a few years ago the Winter tour was moved to the second weekend in November. Maybe a bit early for holiday shopping, but definitely more likely to have cordial weather.
Our artist, Anita Aparicio, was in the shop till early afternoon, and only a few people had visited, so she left. Oh, we thought, it’s Winter studio tour, and it is cold and gloomy, and probably no one will come by. Okay, we were wrong about that! A LOT of people came by, and we were busy until closing. Anita’s work will only be on display one more weekend, so please come by and take a look at her very interesting multimedia compositions. See last week’s post for pix of some of her work.
TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES TRUFFLES
We have fresh, delicious truffles for your Thanksgiving feast…while they last. Pumpkin Spice, with centers of Spanish white chocolate–dipped in deep, dark Vahlrona; and longtime customer favorite Salted Caramel–two kinds of dark chocolate sprinkled with pink Hawaii salt crystals. We’re gearing up for a bigger offering for Christmas but in the meantime, these are knockouts! At the Wine Gallery, Friday, 4-7, and Saturday 2-6. Or call Pat to reserve some, 758-2959.
SAILBOATS SAILBOATS SAILBOATS SAILBOATS SAILBOATS SAILBOATS
Each second Saturday in November we are taken by surprise late in the morning by the appearance of a fleet of sailboats heading north up Rosario Strait between Lummi and Orcas Islands. It’s the annual Round the County race (no, no, not Whatcom County, SAN JUAN County!), and even on a gloomy weekend like the last, it is colorful (I hope they were all bundled up out there!).
France France France France France France France France
In the next day or two we will be posting our first photos from our recent trip to France. We will send an email to our subscribers. (To subscribe to this blog, click on the orange icon above next to “Subscribe by email,” and then confirm the email you will get from Feedburner.) This is a photo of Gordes, a little hilltop town in the Luberon area of Provence. If you look (very closely!) just below and to the right of the church tower (with the cross) in the middle, you will see a little cafe atop a low turret…the perfect place for an afternoon pastisse!
Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday
Friday night we are open as usual from 4-7 so you can stock up for the weekend. We will be pouring two of the samples we brought back from France, so stop by!
This week’s wines: for sure we will be pouring the following two Spanish “best buys” we just picked up tonight. And then tomorrow (Friday) some of our next Italian order will be delivered, but I don’t know yet which wines. As usual, though, there will be four for Saturday, including at least one white, and of course they will all be delicious!
Honoro Vera Garnacha ’10 Spain $10
Aromas of sage, thyme, and black cherry lead to a plush, succulent wine with layers of spicy fruit.
Wrongo Dongo ’10 Spain $9
100% Monastrell cuvee made from Jumilla grapes. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, it offers up a fruity nose with plenty of spice and floral notes. Ripe and savory on the palate, it has enough structure to provide pleasure for another 3-4 years.
Lummi Island Artists’ Studio Tour & Wine Tasting Nov 12-13
ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST
We are delighted to announce that our artist for the Studio Tour is Anita Aparicio, who does wonderful mixed media paintings. Each of her pieces has the nostalgiac feel of a scrapbook page, while at the same time juxtaposing unexpected images that build engaging tapestries of shapes and moods. Each of these paintings is centered around a Lummi Island scene. Come see if you can identify them!
NOTE: Anita is donating 30% of proceeds from art sales to the Lummi Island Heritage Trust!
WINES WINES WINES WINES WINES WINES WINES WINES WINES
It’s a little hard to predict EXACTLY what wines we will be offering for tasting this weekend. We will be joined by one of our importers, Tristan Ohms of Small Vineyards, the source of many of our lovely Italian wines. Now, however, he is branching out and will be pouring new selections from France and Spain. In particular he will be pouring at least two wines from our favorite winery visit in France, La Rocaliere. So Tristan will probably be pouring their rose and their red wines. We are waiting for him to get more of their delicious white blend, and are also working very hard to get him to import their two higher-end reds, listed on their website as “Ikebana” and “les Dentelles.” (OMG, they are SO good!) All of their wines share the common characteristics of balance, naturalness, integration, and elegance.
We tasted a lot of delicious wines on our trip to France, and these were our favorites. Sisters Melanie and Severine took over the winery from their father and are putting their own fingerprints on the wines. Melanie (left) runs the business, and Severine (right) is the winemaker; her style is to interfere as little as possible with the natural development of the wines. She uses no oak at all; the red wines are fermented and aged in cement tanks, which, as we learned in Italy, give the wines freedom from noise, vibration, and temperature variation, and this gives the wines a noticeable stability and integration. Each of her wines, while unique to itself, clearly is made by the same hand; this sense of a particular winemaker’s style is one of the most fascinating characteristics of wine, and this domaine has a definite and very appealing style.
La Rocaliere is located in the small Southern Rhone appellation of Lirac, which is just west of Avignon, and a bit SW of the famous Chateauneuf du Pape. All YOU need to know is that, despite the many problems we had with our vaguely neurotic GPS, “she” absolutely shone when it came to navigating the torturous route around/through Avignon to get to Lirac.
I think most of the other wines Tristan is delivering this weekend are Spanish wines, and may include any of:
Alta Vins Domus Pensi blanc
Martina Prieto Pariente verdejo
Giro Ribot Cava
San Ysidro Cepas de Zorro
Finca el tesso tempranillo
Pech Celeryan cuvee sixtine rouge
La Rocaliere Lirac
la Rocaliere Lirac rose
Even though I don’t know which wines we will pour, I can promise you that they will be good!
CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE
We have a fresh array of wonderful cheeses from Pleasant Valley, including Mutchli, Farmstead, Jalapeno, Provencal, Fines Herbes, and more, cut and pre-wrapped in handy 6 oz wedges. Yum! They are So Good!
THANKSGIVING THANKSGIVING THANKSGIVING THANKSGIVING THANKSGIVING THANKSGIVING
Here is your Heads Up that there are only two wine shopping weekends left before Thanksgiving! OMD! (ohmydog!) Sure, I know that a lot of you sneak out to Costco ( boo hiss now that Costco’s wine and liquor Initiative passed–impact will be HUGE) for your Volume wines but there are always a Select Few who are doing small gatherings and want Something Special. As usual, we recommend a selection of full-bodied white wines ( like roussanne) or pinot noir for the big Turkey dinner, and we have some great choices, that’s all I’m saying.
Y’all come by and see us now, heah…?