Annual Chili Cook-off
Okay, folks, it’s that time again. A dozen or more chili competitors will be vying for your vote as best Lummi Island Chili for 2012 at Otto Preserve this Saturday beginning around noon. There will also be music, beer, cookies, and more. Two things you need to know about that are:
1) We will once again be among the competitors with the new, improved version of our famous vegetarian “Screaming Seagull” chili, for which we won the award for best name and best logo two years ago! and
2) We might be a little late opening the shop on Saturday, maybe around 3-ish (not usually a problem cuz everyone will be at the Chili Cook-off!)
I only became aware of thimbleberries after moving to Lummi Island nearly twenty years ago. They are a curiosity, growing in banks alongside the road, often alongside salmonberries, another Northwest native. According to Wilipedia they are, like other raspberries, not a true berry, but instead an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core. The drupelets may be carefully removed separately from the core when picked, leaving a hollow fruit which bears a resemblance to a thimble, perhaps giving the plant its name.
All I know is that I often find wines with flavors that remind me thimbleberries, definitely raspberry-like, but somehow brighter and more acidic, and often with a sort of dusty quality (probably from dirt blown onto them by passing cars!). All you need to know is that this year, right now, today and for the next week or two, these little gems are out in all their glory. In most years, thimbleberries are marginally edible at best, ripening unevenly or not at all. But this year, oh yes, this year is probably the best we have seen. Look for them along roads or driveways or around the edges of fields. And yes, they are a perfect match for the many dry rosés we have in stock right now!
For some months we have been looking forward to the seasonal return of dear friends we have met here at the wine shop. When people ask me, “how’s the shop doing?’ I usually have to stop and think about what in the world that could mean. And where I usually land is, “Are we still having a good time?” And the answer is generally yes, we ARE having a good time, because of all the wonderful people we meet each week. We have been to a number of events with lots of people we know and very much like, and the thought sometimes occurs to us that these are people we have met in our funny little wine shop. And we also notice in such groups that many of the people know each other from the wine shop!
So I would like to take this moment to thank all of you who have bellied up to our tasting bar upon occasion, and a special thanks to you who have made our tastings a regular event. I am prompted to mention this because, like migratory birds you only see in a certain season, some of our dearest (see pix…sorry no names!) are hereabout this month. So hoist yer glasses, lads, and Toast to Friendship! Arrrrrrrr, ‘n’ it’s a good life when ya can share a spot o’ grog wit yer mates, eh?…!
This week’s wines:
Aravo albarino ’09 Spain $15
A one-of-a-kind, lush, mineral-laden, and medium-bodied Albariño that fills the mouth with peach, pear, mint, acacia flower, and wet granite notes.
Lost River Rosé ’09 Washington $14
Blended from merlot and cabernet franc, harvested early to preserve bright notes of strawberry and cherry; excellent by itself or paired with summer fare from salads to barbecue.
Sikelia Nero d’Avola ’10 Italy $11
90% Nero d’Avola,10% Syrah. Densely purple, floral and earthy, combining the power of mountain fruit and the bold lushness of fruit grown by the sea. (a big hit two weeks ago, back by popular demand!)
Baguala Malbec ’08 Argentina $8
Rich, elegant, and full-bodied, with notes of raisins and a dash of bitters. Delicious!
D’Artagnan Gascogne ’10 France $11
Alluring nose of black raspberry, flowers, and garrigue leads into a crisp palate of plum with a touch of bitters.