Saint Patrick Saint Patrick Saint Patrick
I first learned about St. Patrick’s Day when I was about 5 years old. My mother was of Irish descent from both sides of her family (Collins and Gillis), and mighty proud of it. So she would NEVER have let us go to school on March 17 without at least some display of the Green. Not only did that mean some article of clothing, but it also meant wearing one of two little pins she had; one was a leprechaun, and the other was a shamrock. Now, bein’ Irish meself, I got nuthin’ against shamrocks, but when I was a little boy, sure and I did have a preference for wearin’ the leprechaun over the shamrock. And of course I have no idea why…it was just kinda cute is all!
That o’course raises the question of why we wear green in the first place on St. Patrick’s Day, eh? Well, why do you suppose, because originally some say that green was an Unlucky color in Ireland and that the color for St Pattie’s Day was Blue , not Green. (who knew?). In our family, at least, the explanation that makes most sense is the separation between Catholics and Protestants: Catholics wore green and Protestants wore orange. That is why the Irish flag has three stripes–green for the Catholics, orange for the Protestants, and white for peace between them. If ya don’t wear green, it’s a disappointment, but if ya wear orange, sure ‘n’ yer gonna get pinched!
Of course, we know “peace” between the Irish Protestants and Catholics has not always been an easy road–not in Ireland, not in America. My mother used to tell stories of her childhood in Maine (where I grew up, too), when the KKK was active even in the North, and cross-burnings and violence were directed against Catholics, and it was pretty scary. Her father was “the Catholic dentist,” distinct from the rest, so there was a solid cultural divide. Now, it is of course a comfort to know that here in 2012 America the Catholics and Protestants (and Mormons) are no longer divided, and have united whole-heartedly toward the peaceful respect of all religious and secular points of view…… Thus we measure our progress…and upon reflection, that may explain why you don’t have to be Irish to need a drink from time to time…and of course We Are Here For You, regardless of your religious orientation… Wine is religion-neutral, as any good leprechaun knows!
I will also take a moment on St. Pattie’s Day to offer a toast to me dear departed mother, proud to her dying breath of her Irish roots. “Remember,” she would often entreaty us, “you’re a Collins!” And proud of it, Mum, proud of it!
THE NEXT ART OF WINE Workshop is THIS SUNDAY, March 18!
The Art of Wine in Italy
Ah, si, signoras et signori, pair a fleshy Valpolicella with the lively Baroque strings of Vivaldi…ponder the celestial tableaux of Michelangelo while savoring a bold Super-Tuscan blend of sangiovese and cabernet…try Fellini with a tipple of the ancient grape malvasia…taste the wines, hear the music, see the art, hear the poetry…now That is Terroir!
ALSO— The last workshop in this series is in two weeks…The Art of Wine in Germany, and is already nearly full, so call now!
See flyer for details about each workshop, and call Ryan soon to reserve your place (758-2020)…only two spaces left!
Javier Javier Javier
Probably because the Heritage Trust annual dinner was last Saturday, many of our regulars came by last Friday night instead of Saturday…quite festive! That made Saturday more of a day for visitors; now that the Willows is open again, we are seeing more new faces each weekend who are staying at the Inn or one of several other rentals the Willows is now managing.
As most of you know, our shop is up a narrow stairwell such that we hear the door open and footsteps all the way up the stairs, but don’t see the arriving guests until they reach the top and enter the room. Everyone gets a greeting (unless we are Really Busy), and even after seven years we most often recognize anyone who has ever been in before. We can also usually tell if we have not seen someone before. It gets tricky, though, if someone you have seen somewhere else comes in, so they look familiar, but not in our setting.
So it was last Saturday when a charming young couple came in, and though they had not been in before, he knew me and knew the shop. And he looked familiar, but from where??? It turns out they were Javier and Shyla Alfonso, owners of Pomum Cellars in Woodinville- Javier is one of my favorite Washington winemakers! He is Spanish by birth, having grown up in the famous Spanish wine region of Ribero del Duero. His Tinto (teen-to) wine is made from tempranillo (temp-r-r-r-aneeyo) grapes, like the wines of his childhood home. We have carried the Tinto, his top blend called “Shya” (named after his wife!), and his Pomum Red blend. In honor of his visit last weekend we will be pouring the Pomum Red this weekend. Salud!
This week’s wines:
Alta Vins Domus Pensi Blanc Spain $11
Bracingly clean and zippy, this garnacha blanca comes from 1200 ft altitude from the Terra Alta region in the hills near Tarragona. (We’re going there next month!)
Alta Vins Crianza Spain $18
From the same producer, a red blend with balanced French oak and integrated tannins yielding soft notes of vanilla, rhubarb, cinnamon, and highland coffee. Try with foie gras or grilled onions!
Leese-Fitch Cabernet 09 California $10
Deep ruby in color, the nose has notes of black cherry, root beer syrup, and cedar. The 2009 vintage of Leese-Fitch Cabernet has flavors of rich berry cobbler, cappuccino, chocolate covered mints, currants & fig cake. It finishes with toasted marshmallows and dried blueberries.
Pomum Red 08 Washington $19
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 % Syrah, 10% Merlot, 10 % Cabernet Franc and 10% Malbec from an array of top vineyards in the Yakima Valley including DuBrul, Upland and Dineen . The wine is brick-red in color with noticeable exotic spice and dried herb aromas. On the palate, the wine expresses tart red cranberries and cherries. The finish, long and smooth.