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