Drydock is a little like summer vacation for us retired folks. Even the wine shop is a bit self-tending this month: no wines to order and schlep, lots of folks away (both summer residents and a fair number of full-timers), and low expectations for Friday and Saturday turnout. Add to that beautiful clear weather, cool mornings and warm afternoons, and ahhh, life is good!
Drydock is also a good time to tackle some of those pesky projects that we expect to take a fair amount of time and effort, and which are therefore easy to postpone. (As the quip goes, “Ladies, if a man says he will fix it, he will; there’s no need to remind him every six months about it!”). The first project has been building the framework for a new deck in front of the house. When the ferry is back, we will add the decking. And if the good weather holds, maybe a little bubbly to christen it…! As one of our favorite cartoon characters would say,., “Well, Gromit, I guess that turned out about as well as could be expected…?”
Space Aliens visit wine shop !
Yes, it’s true, even eagle-beaked Aliens from the Bird Planet love our wines! Seriously, for some while now our little camera has been a little neurotic. For example, the picture above of the deck project has a bunch of horizontal lines in it (you might need to click on it for the larger version to see them). And recently several pictures from this camera have transformed their subjects into spacey Zombie Melts or Space Aliens (see left) — sure, entertaining, but not exactly what one is looking for in a photograph, eh…?
Any ideas on what is going on and how to correct it would be welcome. After all, this little camera has been faithfully chronicling events at the wine shop for years now, and we would like to keep it going. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” as John Cameron Swayze used to say about Timex watches after dropping one from the Empire State Building, or running over one with a Sherman tank, or boiling one in oil, or feeding it to a python and retrieving it from python doo-doo (OMD…do pythons DO doo-doo???) see old Timex ad
Italian Olive Oil
No matter how, um, mature one gets, one is always (I love how use of the “this has nothing to do with me” third person ‘one’ means we can be talking about anyone…), it is always difficult to say, “Sorry… I know absolutely NOTHING about that!” Yet when it comes to olive oil, that’s pretty much where many of us live. Two years ago we were in Tuscany for three weeks; a year ago we were in France for three weeks; and this Spring we were in Spain for three weeks (yes, travel is definitely one of the perks of being retired!) . Each country is famous for both their wines and their olive oils; we have learned a lot about the wines of each country, or at least some regions of each, but somehow we haven’t really acquired much ability to distinguish one national style of olive oil from another, even though many wineries also make olive oil.
Maybe that just means that all olive oil is good, and who cares where it comes from? More likely, as with any kind of education, we just don’t have enough experience to be able to make the subtle distinctions among different olive oils. What we have learned is that in Tuscany, they like their olive oil young and fresh, maybe even a little “green,” and with a “bite” that you can feel in your throat when you swallow.
For a couple of years we have carried olive oil from one of our favorite Italian wineries, Perazzeta, which is located just south of the Montalcino wine region. Even though we know little about olive oil, we are impressed with the fact that these winery olive oil labels tell when (to the month) the olives were picked (and pressed). This is not something we Americans think about: how long has it been since this olive oil was made?
A few months ago we bought a bunch of wine from an importer who specializes in Italian wines (with a name like Giuseppe he is definitely Italian), and he also introduced us to another very small Italian production family olive oil, which we will be tasting this weekend: Gemma. His suggestion for tasting olive oil is to stick a finger into a dish of it, then use the finger to rub it around the palm of your other hand to warm it, then mindfully smell and then lick your hand (discreetly, discreetly!) to get a good sense of the aroma and flavor of the oil. Come on by and try it…and sure, it’s okay if you wash your hands first!
Case sale and Wine Club Musings
We have some good news and some bad news, and we’re not sure which is which. One of the “newses” is that the $99 case sale has turned out to be an unsustainable, “break-even” arrangement. Therefore it will be discontinued, effective immediately, which raises the question: What will replace it?
The short answer is, “we don’t know!”
However, we are clear that we need to win more of your wine purchasing dollars. We know that many of our regular supporters and a LOT of our resident non-supporters buy most of their wine from Costco, Trader Joe’s, the gas station or Trolls under a Bridge, with the result that our volume is too small to compete with any of them. After numerous discussions, we are perhaps starting to get a sense of our ( I really hate this term) ….Business Plan.
What we know so far is that we very much need to earn a greater percentage of your wine-buying dollar than we currently enjoy. And since we certainly can’t stock every wine on the market, that means that we need to be able to acquire your favorite wines for you at unrefusable prices. What we need to know next is what wines you buy Elsewhere, and what needs to happen before you would prefer to get them from us instead.
So let’s talk about that over the next few weeks!
This week’s tasting: (the madness continues: four hefty pours for only $5!):
Altarocca Arcosesto Orvieto ’10 Italy $14
A crisp, clean, fragrant white wine (grechetto, procanico, malvasia), bright and sunny with minerally notes of flowers, citrus, and dried fruits.
Pierre Usseglio Cotes du Rhône Rosé ’11 France $18
Grenache 80%, Cinsault 20%. Only 3,000 bottles of this gorgeous and special rosé are produced from the direct press method. Elegant and velvet of texture, this refreshing, stylish rosé has pretty strawberry and almond aromas, some notes of garden herbs and a clean, smooth finish. A very classy rosé.
Bodegas Ateca Garnacha de Fuego ’10 Spain $10
100% old-vine (65-85 years of age) Garnacha. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it offers up aromas of pure black cherries and violets. Dense on the palate and remarkably rich for its humble price, this great value over-delivers big-time.
Lost River Cabernet Sauvignon ’07 Washington WS 91 pts $22
Supple, refined and expressive, built around a core of black cherry, currant and floral flavors that expand gently on the long, harmonious finish. Shows deft balance and doesn’t flag as the finish lingers. Best from 2014 through 2019.