Lummi Island Wine Tasting September 1 ’12 Studio Tour
OMD, Drydock!… a brief rant
When I was a child, summer was Magical, seeming to last and last, challenging your ability to come up with things to do. Another bike ride to the ball field for a pickup game, a walk to the store for a soda, another novel from the library and maybe the latest serial in the (I am really dating myself here) Saturday Evening Post, the perfect magazine for summer.
So it is always a bit of a shock when Labor Day rolls around again, and I have the feeling, “Wait, wait, how can this be, I’m just getting ready to enjoy the summer!” But there you are, and here we are, and it is the end of August and the beginning of September, and on Lummi Island that means two things: Artists’ Studio Tour and annual Drydock for our ferry, the Whatcom Chief.
Only a few years ago Drydock wasn’t such a big deal. First, the boat wouldn’t leave service until the Sunday after Labor Day, giving Islanders and visitors a whole week to sort out their plans, travels, and cars to best coordinate their lives with the limitations of the passenger ferry. Now there is only One Day between Labor Day and the departure of the car ferry, which mashes together the Labor Day Weekend visitors with the ferry loads of people juggling their Island cars and Mainland cars to least disadvantage during drydock. As all Islanders know, this is now further complicated by the ever-shrinking parking capacity on the mainland. All I’m saying is that this time of year, this particular weekend on this particular Island, a lot of people have to be wondering…“What Are They Thinking???!!!!”
Well the good news is that it’s time for another Studio Tour, and that means lots of visitors on the Island, and lots of great art from 10-6 on both Saturday and Sunday. This year there are 26 artists at 15 different venues. You can pick up a map with details at the Islander Store. We will be hosting three of the artists at the Gallery. If there is a theme that unites the styles of these three artists, it is something like “Just give me some random pieces of (cloth/junk/wood) and I (Kathy/Ryan/Gerry) will make something interesting out of them.” These are talented and creative people; please be sure to stop by and see their work! (click on images below for larger versions)
Kathy Elston returns after her very successful show on Memorial Day weekend with her mixed media“fantasy dolls” that derive from her many years of textile exploration and her interests in myth, poetry, literature, and nature.
Ryan Wildstar returns with several new multimedia constructions that defy the traditional categories of art.
September Wine Workshops: Sign up now!
Okay, given that it IS Drydock, and we would all like to find entertainment right here on the Island so we don’t have to deal with the passenger ferry and the parking and cetera, what CAN you do with your time? Well, one possibility is to sign up for one or more of Ryan’s Wine Tasting workshops. (see flyer for details). These workshops are modeled after the very popular series he did last fall, which many of you attended and enjoyed enough to take his wine tasting tour in France a few months ago: both educational and fun!
One of the highlights of our trip to France last fall, and for the group that went with Ryan in June, was a visit to Domaine Moulinier in St. Chinian. The winery is in its fifth and sixth generations with retiring winemaker Guy Moulinier (we had a great time trying to understand each other while he gave us a tour of the winery) and his son Stephane who now makes most of the wines. In the winery are astonishing displays of fossils and artifacts dug up in the past hundred years in their vineyards, including dinosaur eggs and bones and stone tools of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon hominids. Their collection rivals anything you would see in a museum, really amazing.
The important thing here is that we now have in stock a small amount of the Moulinier rose and their “Tradition” red wine. We hope to get more in the future; for now call or email to reserve some.
This week’s wines:
You wouldn’t think it would be that complicated to choose the wines for the weekend. However this year it is complicated by the fact that for the first time ever we are committed to staying on the Island for all of Drydock. We are not leaving a car on the mainland. We have no plan for what happens if we Really Have to Get To Town. Rather, we have stocked up on the necessities for Survival, including of course a great deal of wine to tide us all over.
Therefore, all I can tell you is that we will have our usual tasting format, generous sample pours of Four Wines for Five Bucks. These will include most likely a white wine, a rose, and two reds. If it is really hot, maybe more focus on white/rose, and if it is chilly, maybe more reds. So the wines may vary through the weekend depending on when you drop by. Sooo, now that I think about it, you might want to drop by a number of times!
Lummi Island Wine Tasting August 25 ’12
Like a great shadow looming in the foreground of consciousness, a vaguely threatening phantom haunting the unconscious, or like Arctic natives feeling the first vestiges of the coming Winter, Island residents are consciously and unconsciously bracing for the annual Ordeal of Drydock. This is when our trusty ferry, the Whatcom Chief, goes out of service each year for annual maintenance. In recent years that has been for three long weeks, though for many years it was only two.
During drydock the car ferry is replaced by a passenger-only ferry, which means that the only way to get to the island (and back) is to park your car at Gooseberry point (the mainland end of the passage), and catch a ride with a friend or take the shuttle bus or take your “island car” to your destination on the Island. This year is particularly challenging because there is no longer a parking lot on the mainland, only a strip of Lummi Shore Road where only a small number of cars will be able to park. A thoughtful person has to ask, “how in the world did we get into this situation??!!”
In searching for an answer one can, I suppose, look to many fields of thought and inquiry for some kind of explanatory rationale, but almost certainly there is no narrative that could possibly make sense of what we have seen over the past few years.
The first week of drydock is actually novel and somewhat Festive; you sit at tables across from people you usually see in their cars on the daily commute. The second week is more sobering. If you are a regular commuter, you notice that at the end of each day you are driving further and further to find a parking place because the spaces closer the the ferry are taken by people who park earlier in the day. The third week is at best a kind of Truce, a sense that you are Really Tired of this but you are pacing yourself to last just a few more days, and you are really thinking seriously about how you can structure your life to be far away from Lummi Island next year during Drydock…well, here we go again…are you ready?
In preparation for drydock we are trying to stock up for the inevitable Wine Emergencies that are sure to arise. Sure, we all do the best we can to prepare for various emergencies, but no one can think of Everything. That’s why, with you in mind, we are loading up the shelves in preparation for both the Labor Day Weekend (Studio Tour!) festivities and the following three weekends of Drydock. We are stocking lots of favorites from the past year, and if necessary we will be replenishing as necessary. For this weekend, though, all you need to know is that the shelves are full with lots of great values, and we will keep them that way so you can sleep easier during the Ordeal that is Drydock. Remember, though our regular hours are Fridays 4-7 and Saturdays 2-6, we are here “Anytime for Wine Emergencies,” a responsibility we take very seriously!
Hints of Autumn
We all remember that just a few days ago we had a few of the hottest days on record here. While temperatures around 80 are not big news to the rest of the country, here on the Island it seemed both psychologically and physically taxing– being Too Hot is not something we experience very often around here. And now while the last few days have been for the most part very pleasant, with warm sun most afternoons, there is the beginning of a morning chill. The blackberries have dramatically slowed their ripening process; random unscientific sampling suggests that the average blackberry harvested at random today shows some sweetness but still a fair amount of tart acidity (probably just about right for making wine…?) , and that’s not much different from a week ago. Another little warm spell would be good for the blackberry harvest, whether you are just browsing while you walk or actively foraging to make pies, jam, or jelly.
Still, there is some ancient magic about harvest time, the end of the growing season and the beginning of the slide into Winter. We are just on the cusp of the seasonal change, and this one, from summer to fall, is a rich blend of plenty and warmth on the one hand, and a need to stock up for keeping warm in the coming months. Somehow that makes these days in late August a little poignant…
This week’s tasting:
Legoe Bay Viognier ’08 Washington $7
The new release of Lummi Island’s only winery’s flagship wine offers subtle floral and fruit notes with lots of fruit, great texture, and balanced acidity.
Hahn pinot noir ’11 California $11
Softly fruity California pinot, with classic notes of strawberry and peach, good acid balance, and an unbelievable price. Like the riesling, this should pair well with just about everything on the table.
Pend d’Oreille Bistro Rouge 08 Washington $13
Garnet black color. Aromas of black raspberries and plum chutney with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tangy green apple, nut, and peach skin accented finish. A fun, flavorful wine for the table.
Urban Ribera ’07 Spain 90pts $14
Deep purple in color with an inviting perfume of violets, Asian spices, black cherry, and blackberry, on the palate it is layered, plush, and intense
Wine Tasting August 18 ’12
Last Saturday was complicated around our place, for two reasons (see last week’s post). First, it was the day of the Jazz Festival, ostensibly a fund-raising event for the remodel of the Island Library, which, as I pointed out last week, belongs to the people of Lummi Island via the Friends of the Island Library (FOIL). The library is long overdue for an upgrade, and the remodel project– years in the making– is kicking off its fundraising campaign, and therefore FOIL will be soliciting donations during the coming year to pay for it.
The Good News is that the Jazz Festival over-delivered in a big way; the weather was perfect, the music was fantastic, and the sound system was just right, all contributing to a sensational event! If you missed it, you REALLY missed something special.
The Bad News is that it was relatively poorly attended, so all day there were more empty seats than filled ones. That means that a lot of people missed out on a really Amazing event. It also means that the event underwriter generously took a very big loss, and the Library construction fund made only what it earned on the raffle (Many thanks to all of you who bought raffle tickets, and all of you who donated prizes!). So in the coming year I hope all of you will be able to dig deep and pledge some $$ to keep our library Strong!
Will there be another Jazz Festival next year? All you need to know is that if there is, you definitely want to be there!
Anyway, we manned the entrance booth for a few hours before heading back to the wine shop for the second event of our day, the special tasting of wines from Lullaby Winery, owned by our long-time acquaintance, winemaker Virginie Bourgue. This was a real treat for all of us. Virginie’s winemaking style is definitely “Old World,” with considerable restraint in the use of new oak and a tendency to pick her grapes a bit before they are fully ripe in order to preserve their food-friendly acidity.
Her rosé was dry, pale, and delightful; her sauvignon blanc was crisp, fresh, and balanced; her viognier was refined and complex; and her special red wine, called “Lalayee,” is a stunning wine that showcases deep blackberry and black cherry aromas under layers of earthy leather, sandalwood and tar. Folks. the wines were Awesome, and yes, we have all of them in the shop!
We recently discovered a couple of lovely wines from Gascony, a French wine region west of Toulouse near the Pyrenees. The whites have crisp, minerally notes of lemon, lime and orange rind, and the reds have a “wild and rambunctious character of smoke, dried herbs, roasted meat and black currant.” We poured the red, Terres d’Artagnan, named after the Three Musketeers’ dashing confrère) a few weeks ago, and it sold out immediately. The white wine from the same region, the Casterot Gascogne Blanc, was also very popular. This is to tell you we now have more of both, on our “Under $12″ rack and of course qualifying for our ongoing $99 case sale!
I know some of our regulars are old enough to remember the great Motown hit Heat Wave from Martha and the Vandellas (around 1965), but little did we expect we would, like, experience an actual Heat Wave right here on Lummi Island! OMD! It’s been nearly 80 degrees here, and ninety-something in Seattle and even Bellingham. What’s THAT about, huh? We have had to drag our AC unit out of the closet in the wine shop four times already this year, and this week I have to turn it on every afternoon. By comparison, in previous years we have maybe two or possibly three days where the temperature gets over 70 in the wine shop for a few hours before dropping back to the usual 50′s or 60′s overnight. All YOU need to know is that in honor of the hot weather we will be pouring five wines on Saturday, with two whites and a rose to start off with on both Friday and Saturday. So come by, cool off, and chill out!
This week’s tasting notes (Five Wines!):
Perazzeta Rosado di Montalcino ’11 Italy $14
It’s back! From the same grape as Brunello (sangiovese grosso), this beautiful rosado has it all: rich, bold, flinty, and summery.
Casterot Gascogne Blanc ’10 France $10
Light, bright, crisp and minerally, just the thing for our little spate of hot weather!
Martina Prieto Verdejo ’10 Spain $14
Verdejo thrives in the hot days and cold nights of the mesa and yields one of the most refreshing white wines of the world, delighting the palate with flavors of nettles, ripe pineapple, dried mint, and pencil dust on a crisp, fresh frame. From vines planted in clay, shells, and limestone in the Rueda wine region.
The Warrior Red ’07 Washington $14
A blend of 88% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauv, and 2% Petit Verdot; offers classic plum and red fruit notes with hint of chalk and minerality to support the delicious bouquet of cassis, spice, and blackberry. The balance is impeccable, with real elegance and restraint that gives this wine the kind of class that’s remarkable at the price.
Baguala Malbec ’08 Argentina $8
This was a hit a couple of weeks ago, just brought some more in. Rich, elegant, and full-bodied, with notes of raisins and a dash of bitters. Delicious!
As for this last picture, all I can say is that our little camera gets fairly creative from time to time, having a little trouble focusing, a little confusion about colors. So no, this is not edited in any way, this is just the way it came out. Kinda looks like “wine shop during acceleration to Warp Drive”…??
click on photo for larger view
Lummi Island Special Wine Tasting August ’12 Lullaby Winery
A few weeks ago we mentioned we had recently been in touch with an old acquaintance, Virginie Bourgue, the winemaker/owner of Lullaby winery in Walla Walla, and we poured one of her wines that weekend. We first met her a few years ago when when she was the winemaker for Bergevin Lane Winery in Walla Walla, where she helped establish their reputation for quality wines. Now she has her own winery, and the Good News is that she will be visiting and pouring several of her wines at our shop this Saturday from 2-5. Don’t Miss It! See below for wines and winemaker notes.
Lummi Island Jazz Festival and Island Library Upgrade
Virginie’s visit to Lummi coincides with the the kickoff of the Island Library’s fundraising campaign to support the expansion/remodel of our Library. Curiously there are still a lot of folks who don’t realize that even though our library is part of our excellent Whatcom County Library System (in which our dear friend Polly Hanson played such a major role years back), the building itself is owned by all of us through our own Friends of the Island Library. It is truly a community asset, and because of that maintenance of the buildings is our collective responsibility.
The Jazz Festival marks the beginning of the fundraising efforts to pay for the library upgrades to better serve our community. We hope you will support these efforts by attending the Jazz Festival and by donating generously during the coming year.
Hopefully there is no conflict between attending the Jazz Festival and dropping by the wine shop to taste these great wines. Your hand will be stamped at the Festival, so you can easily come and go. It’s a pleasant 15-minute walk from the Festival to our place; hope you can make it!
Ongoing Case Sale continues!
There is this well-known picture we have all seen of a man (obviously French) riding a bicycle along a tree-lined country road, with a small boy behind him and a lovely baguette tied on cross-wise behind the seat. It captures, as the French say, a certain je ne sais quoi about what is really important in life.
As it turns out, we encountered many roads like this one during our time in France last October. We found ourselves on many beautiful sections of rural highway lined with big old plane trees that seem to embrace everything in sight: you, the road, the vineyards or fields on either side, the sky—something about these trees is warmly welcoming.
Well, we don’t have plane trees lining the road on Lummi Island, and as yet there is no bakery where you can get a fresh baguette in the morning (although you can usually find something tasty at the Islander, and at the new incarnation of the Beach Store, and Janice keeps threatening to open a bakery sometime soon, so yes, we got bread!), and we still rely more on motors than pedal power for most of our transportation.
Still, there is something of the same feeling to this little scene of our friend Megan loading a case of wine into the little trailer she had made to tow behind her scooter. And by the way, some of that wine will help Megan and Chris celebrate 25 years together…hoist yer glasses, mates, it’s cause fer Celebration!
And don’t forget: we are losing money hand over fist on this deal, but we just can’t stop, so the Madness continues: any twelve bottles from our $11 and under rack for just $99! Bring your scooter, bring your bike, bring your car, or take a hike, but hurry, cuz we can’t keep this deal going much longer!!!
This week’s wines from Lullaby Winery in Walla Walla
2011 Lullaby Rosé $22
This single vineyard rosé is 100% Grenache from Alder Ridge Vineyard. It is dry, fruity, delicate and elegant. Lullaby Rosé has floral and fruity aromas of cherry, red currant, raspberry and citrus. Crafted in the true spirit of Provençal Rosé. Only 183 cases produced.
‘Blanc de Virginie’ ’11 $22
Clean and crisp, combining grapefruit, lime, lemongrass, pineapple, star fruit and passion fruit, with mouth-watering acidity, a perfect match for shellfish or a simple mixed green salad.
Viognier ’10 $32
Opens up on aromas of dried apricot, pear, hints of fresh hazelnut and vanilla followed by candied orange peel, gooseberry and marshmallow. Its silky texture and vibrant acidity will make this Viognier the perfect companion with food like scallops, prawns, pasta a la carbonara or roasted chicken.
Lalayee cab-merlot blend ’08 $45
Blended from two vineyards,this Cab-Merlot blend, called “Lalayee”, has a fragrant nose of blackberry, leather, cedar and tar. The mouth showcases blackberry and black cherry aromas over earthy notes of leather, sandalwood and pencil lead.