Lummi Island Wine Tasting February 25 ’12
LEAP DAY LEAP DAY LEAP DAY LEAP DAY
Well, I have just been on a weird little browsing journey. As often happens when I start this blog, I look for something timely, humorous, zany, or offbeat to start with. So because it’s 2012, it is also a Leap Year, and that means that there is a whole day reserved for February 29. So, okay, I thought, what about those people who were born on Leap Day? There is the old thing about their only aging 1/4 as fast as the rest of us, and I found this old site (1996) which does a nice job of debunking that. Surely there must be some kind of story here…?
Well, okay, I thought, let’s read more (yes, I confess, I do speak to myself “editorially”), and that led me to “famous people whose birthday was Leap Day.” Most I had not heard of, but two stuck out– Jimmy Dorsey (1904) from Big Band days, an acquaintance of my parents, and “Tempest Storm” (real name Annie Blanche Banks) 1928, identified as a legendary striptease dancer. Okay, I thought, that’s a great stage name, let’s find a picture of her. The Web being what it is, there was no shortage, most not appropriate for this blog (even though tame by contemporary standards). The photo that caught my eye is on the left, with her next to…could it be…are you kidding? OMD…it’s Elvis!
Further browsing revealed details of their connection in an excerpt from her memoir –an interesting read–and by the way, she was also acquainted with the likes of Mickey Rooney, JFK, Englebert Humperdinck, and Sammy Davis Jr. And most important, of course…and which is the whole point here– she was a Leap Day Babe…er, Baby…!
So to all you Leap Day Babies out there, drop by this weekend or next (oh, what the heck, there can’t be that many of you, come BOTH weekends!) for a Free Wine Tasting. One birthday every four years…you deserve it!
THE ART OF WINE Workshop Series The Art of Wine in Spain The Art of Wine in Spain The Art of Wine in Spain
This past Sunday was the first of Ryan’s four workshops (The Art of Wine in France)–it was full, it was REALLY fun, it was fascinating! Ryan leads you on sensual journey linking the wine, the art, the literature, and the food of four regions in each country.
The next workshop is on Sunday, March 3: The Art of Wine in Spain:
Take a tipple of aged, dry Sherry while you indulge in the sensuous imagery of Garcia Lorca and the engaging symmetry of Picasso…taste the nuances of a rich red Rioja as the ethereal notes of Ravel tickle your ears… pair Cervantes’ Don Quixote with the outlandish scenarios of Almodovar and a plump, juicy Monastrell from Jumilla…indulge and learn!.
See flyer for details about each workshop, and call soon to reserve your place! Call now… Ryan: 758-2020
FRIDAY NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT
We continue to be open Friday evenings from 4-7. For $5 you get generous tastes of a couple of particularly nice wines and a tasty plate of crackers, cheese, olives, and charcuterie to help take the edge off after a hard week at The Factory. We like Fridays because we get to sit on the other side of the bar and schmooze with all of you while Ryan does the hosting and pouring. It’s our little Friday night salon. come on by on the way home, and stock up for the coming week!
DISCOUNT DISCOUNT DISCOUNT
After all these years, probably everyone knows about our “Buy any four bottles and we pay the sales tax” policy. Here in the Evergreen State that is a pretty big deal because the sales tax is a whopping 8.6% including the local taxes. We started that policy years ago because we thought if Haggen’s could do it, WE could do it. Of course, they have a lot more volume than we do (that’s why so many of you bring in your old Haggen’s wine bags for us to reuse (keep ‘em coming, it really cuts down our bag expense!). But really, we would like to be your Go-To wine shop, and would love to hear suggestions about what it would take to make that happen. We are working on a system to let you pre-order online for either pickup at the shop or even delivery on the Island. Let us know if that is appealing.
Also, we do have feedback from some of you that bought wine during our end-of-2011 $99 case sale that you like the idea of just having us pack up a mixed case for you. We would also appreciate any suggestions about what that might look like. Your thoughts will be most appreciated!
SPRING SPRING SPRING
In case you hadn’t noticed, and in accordance with our Decree on Groundhog Day, it is really trying hard to be Spring around here. As nearly as I can tell, the only thing holding it back is that some of you are still wearing Winter Blues (as we called them in the Navy) and staying home on weekends when you should be stepping out— and coming here to join the fun. While the old Zen adage is true that
Spring comes, the grass grows by itself
That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also take a mental and perhaps spiritual housecleaning to notice that indeed the days are longer, indeed the snowdrops are in bloom, indeed the daffodils are only days away from blooming…!
Revelers from last weekend…!
This week’s tasting:
Novelty Hill Chardonnay Stillwater Creek 09 Washington 91pts $17
Smooth and round, with a spicy, creamy blanket wrapping around a deftly balanced core of pear and citrus flavors that extend into the graceful finish.
Rubio San Polo ’09 Italy $14
From Montalcino, but neither a Brunello nor a Rosso, this lovely upstart bursts from the glass with layers of dark fruit that build with notable intensity. Plump and engaging, thi wine is a huge overachiever in its price range.
Chateau Lestrille Bordeaux Superior ’09 France $14
A hit at last weekend’s Workshop: Modest plum and cherry fruit is laced with rhubarb and savory herb hints, which persist through the juicy finish.
Garnacha de Fuego 08 Spain $9
Sourced from 60- to 80-year-old vines; purple-colored with spicy black cherry aromas that jump from the glass; this is a forward, friendly, ripe effort with no hard edges.
Lummi Island Wine Tasting February 18 ’12
SUNDAY AFTERNOON FEBRUARY 19: The Art of Wine in France
Ryan has put together a new series of FOUR tasting workshops on Sunday afternoons, two weeks apart, beginning THIS WEEK, FEBRUARY 19! Each tasting will explore experientially how the wines of a region embody the cultural influences of the area. So you taste the wine, eat the food, see the art, hear the literature, and at some level grok the links among them. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s amazing, and we are really looking forward to it! It puts wine into the broader context of its cultural setting to show how this wine could only come from this place. See flyer for details about each workshop, and call soon to reserve your place!
Call now…room for just one or two more for this Sunday! Ryan: 758-2020
FRIDAY NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT
We continue to be open Friday evenings from 4-7. For $5 you get generous tastes of a couple of nice wines and a little plate of crackers, cheese, olives, and charcuterie. We like Fridays because we get to sit on the other side of the bar and schmooze for a change. It’s a little “salon-like,” and may morph into something more structured come Spring. Come on by– it’s a lot easier to chat than on a busy Saturday!
GRUNER VELTLINER GRUNER VELTLINER GRUNER VELTLINER
Our white wine this week is curiously unknown by most Americans. It is the most abundant grape in Austria, and they drink so much apparently little escapes their borders! It has the complex flavors and great acidity of riesling, the fullness of chardonnay, and often a spicy, peppery tang– so it pairs well with just about any dish, and it’s delicious all by itself.
Read more: It’s Gruner “Velt-LEEN-er !!” (not Gruner VELT-leen-er!!…who knew???!)
DAVID COFFARO DAVID COFFARO DAVID COFFARO
Last week’s special tasting of current releases from David Coffaro made believers out of all who came by. The wines are big, plush, and fruit-forward, definitely New World (well, except maybe for the Carignan…) and a bunch of you splurged for a bottle or two ($25-30 range). Still, we have a bunch left, so look for it. If you didn’t get by to taste them, all you need to know is “it’s not your mother’s merlot.” (depending on your mother, of course).
OLD VINES OLD VINES OLD VINES
Like the reverence some cultures have for their ancestors, wine lovers often develop a reverence for Old Vines. Grapevines being what they are (thirsty sun-worshippers– sound familiar??), the older they get, the deeper they grow. The deeper they grow, the more the water they drink takes on the chemistry of the soil they inhabit.
Vines are “mature” after about 30 to 50 years, and the term “Old Vines” usually is reserved for 80, 90, or over 100-year-old vines. These venerable beings are in the business of alchemy at its highest level, transforming water and sunlight into grapes, the fruit of the vine, the nectar of the gods (and mortals!) that so greatly enhances and illuminates life on this Earthly plane.
Read more: (click)
This week’s tasting:
Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner “Gobelsburger” ’10 Austria $16
Subtly floral scents; complex notes of cress, citrus peel, fresh green bean, and even coffee and lentil combine for a delightful intro to this delightful Austrian varietal. The brashly juicy palate leads to a finish of impressive length, wherein salt, stone, and iodine convey dynamic and complex interaction with fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Peirano Estates The Immortal Zin Old Vines 09 California $10
Hand selected from gnarly, twisted, 115-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.
Tres Picos Garnacha ’07 Spain WA92pts $14.
Heady black cherry and blackberry aromas, Asian spices, incense, and mineral notes lead to a dense, layered, rich old-vine Garnacha that over-delivers in a big way, leading to a layered, intense, rich Garnacha with gobs of succulent fruit, excellent balance, and a plush finish.
Perazzeta Erio ‘09 Italy $14
From a family winery just south of the Montalcino appellation (we also carry their exceptionally good olive oil!) comes this Sangio, cab, syrah blend (”Super Tuscan)– Balance, extract, and rich, intense fruit..
Lummi Island Pre-Valentine Wine Tasting Feb 11 ’12
SPECIAL TASTING SPECIAL TASTING SPECIAL TASTING
As promised a couple of weeks ago, this weekend will be a special tasting of five delicious California red wines from David Coffaro Vineyards, one of our long-time favorite winemakers. He was written up in Wine Spectator in the late 90′s and has kept his focus on blending rich, fruity, soft, smooth wines. His acreage in Dry Creek, north of Healdsburg gets plenty of heat, and produces a broad array of mostly red varietals, including many that are quite unfamiliar to most of us (carignan, peloursin, lagrein, alvarelhao, tannat, souzao). We always make it a point to stop by when we are in the area to taste through his current selections.
This time, as usual, we liked them all, but five in particular. We had a case of each shipped up, and they arrived last week. To give them their best showing we should probably wait at least a month before opening any of these beauties, but they’re here, we’re here, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and by popular demand (and this blog’s declaration) it is after Groundhog Day and therefore officially Spring here at the Gallery. So we’re gonna pour’em this weekend; see the list below. As these are wines in the $20-40 range, the tasting will be $10 for five wines.
FRIDAY NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT
We WILL be open Friday evening this week (Feb 10) from 4-7. Ryan will be pouring a couple of nice wines, and there will be munchies. We like Fridays because we get to sit on the other side of the bar and schmooze, and because they are a little “salon-like.” Come on by!
SUN SUN SUN SUN
Caught this patch of fog partially obscuring Orcas Island and the setting sun…has a certain drama, huh…? (click for larger image)
SUNDAY AFTERNOON FEBRUARY 19 SPECIAL TASTING WORKSHOP
Ryan has put together a new series of FOUR tasting workshops on Sunday afternoons, two weeks apart, beginning NEXT WEEK, FEBRUARY 19! Each tasting will explore experientially how the wines of a region embody the cultural influences of the area. So you taste the wine and regional food, see the art, hear the literature, and at some level feel the links among them. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s amazing, and we are really looking forward to it! It puts wine into the broader context of its cultural setting to show how this wine could only come from this place. See flyer for details, and call soon to reserve your place!
Workshop #1: The Art of Wine in France February 19th 2-4pm
Imagine closing your eyes while listening to Chopin, sipping a crisp Sancerre, and nibbling an aromatic, aged
goat cheese… or gazing intently upon the lush brushstrokes of Ingres as you waft a glass of
old vine Carignan…or contemplating the elegant musings of Montaigne as you sip aged
Bordeaux with an earthy Roquefort…Ahhhh….THIS is what French wine is about!
Still a few seats left! To Reserve, please Email Ryan directly ( Dargelos24@yahoo.com) or call at 758-2020.
Special Saturday Tasting: Five wines from David Coffaro (Geyserville, California):
Barbera 09 $25
81% Barbera, 19% sangiovese
Block 4 ’09 $29
A perennial favorite, this is a “field blend” of the Block 4 acreage: 50% zinfandel, 25% petitie sirah, 5% each syrah, peloursin, & carignan, and 10% other.
Estate Cuvee ’09 $25
31% zinfandel, 31% cabernet sauvignon, 25% carignan, 13% petit sirah
Carignan ’09 $25
Having spent much of our time in France last fall searching out Old Vines carignan, Dave’s 100% carignan was a delightful find!
Aca Modot ’09 $29
Can’t quite remember what this name means…the wine is a blend of 42% petit verdot (the one that stains your tongue the most), 32% cab sauv, 21% cab franc, 5% merlot.
Lummi Island Wine Tasting Groundhog Day Weekend ’12
It is Groundhog Day as I write this, so it’s time again to consider its place in the great sidereal movement by which we humans reckon time and the passing of the seasons. As we discuss periodically in these pages, we are all familiar with the greater solar holidays, the two equinoxes and the two solstices that mark the official transitions from one season to another.
There is also an ancient tradition of celebrating the “cross-quarter days” that fall halfway between these major events. February 2 has long been known as Candlemas, Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigit, Brigid’s Day, Bride’s Day, Brigantia, or Gŵyl y Canhwyllau, falling midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In many ancient traditions it is considered the beginning of spring. In the picture, it is labeled “1st.” Our culture (yes, I use the word loosely) usually refers to it as “Groundhog Day,” but it has–literally–cosmic significance. Who knew??
As it turns out, we had a lovely, mostly sunny day today, and that probably means that the Groundhog saw his shadow, and by popular belief that means there will be six more weeks of Winter. Of course, as we can see from the diagram, it doesn’t really matter, because whether the Groundhog sees his (or her) shadow or not, there are STILL six more weeks until Spring Equinox, i.e., “winter.” I only mention this because I think here in the PNW we should just declare that Groundhog Day, aka the winter-spring cross-quarter day, is officially Our First Day of Spring. Judging from the pussy willows and other buds that are starting to appear around here, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Yay!
The Evidence is before us: six weeks ago the sun set over the hump of Orcas Island on the far left in the first picture (center of right pic). Tonight it was over Mt. Constitution. See? Spring can be anytime we say it is!
FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY
We WILL be open Friday evening this week (Feb 3) from 4-7. Ryan will be pouring a couple of nice wines, and there will be munchies. We like Fridays because we get to sit on the other side of the bar and schmooze, and because they are a little “salon-like.” Come on by!
RYAN’S TASTING WORKSHOP SERIES
Ryan is kicking off the New Year with a new series of FOUR tasting workshops on Sunday afternoon, two weeks apart, beginning . This series will be modeled after the last workshop in the summer series, in which he explored the cultural influences of the region along with the wine. So you taste the wine with regional food, experience the literature, see the art, learn about the land the the climate, and at some level make connections that link them together. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s amazing, and we are really looking forward to it! It puts wine into the broader context of its cultural setting to show how this wine could only come from this place. See flyer for details, and call soon to reserve your place! And I can’t resist posting this photo I took of Ryan at our New Year’s party…
La Cana Albarino 09 Spain 90pts $14
Light gold-colored with an unusually fragrant nose of mineral, lemon zest, and spring flowers that jumps from the glass, on the palate it exhibits a creamy texture, vibrant acidity, and a lengthy, refreshing finish.
Honoro Vera Monastrell ’09 Spain $9
Tank aged 100% Monastrell. Its pleasing nose reveals notes of underbrush, mineral, and blueberry leading to a savory, spicy, nicely balanced medium-bodied wine.
Yellowtail Reserve Shiraz ’08 Australia $8
Cherry, blackberry, and chocolate aromas, plush mouthfeel, spicy finish with seamless tannins…
Goose Ridge Vireo 06 Washington $20 WS93pts
Firm, rich and distinctive for the black olive and roasted meat overtones that swirl around the red berry and cherry flavors, persisting impressively on the long, expressive finish. Stylish and focused, this has miles to go. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot