“Frugal Fun Day”
According to people who pretend to know, October 6, aka Frugal Fun Day, is widely celebrated (or, if we all got behind it, it could be!) as
“a day to enjoy fun activities that are free (or very inexpensive). If you use your imagination, the ideas are endless. Go on a bike or walking hike. The Fall leaves are on display. Have a picnic in the park, or your back yard. Take a bunch of friends to visit Artisan Wine Gallery on Lummi Island for their frugal and delicious wine tasting (only $5!!). Go fly a kite (they mean that in a nice way). Pull out the those old board games or puzzles that you have stored in the basement (and get rid of them once and for all!). Play cards with friends.”
even more frugal fun
Muddling Toward Frugality
Actually, as I am writing this, I have been struggling to recall a title from years ago, something like “Muddling Toward Frugality,” one of many neo-Malthusian calls to arms about over-consumption back when people were, you know, concerned about the environment. I just looked it up to find the first edition was 1978 (back when I was a practicing environmental economist), with a revised edition in 2010. Glancing through the new edition online, I am struck by how cynical I have become about the possibility that anything at all can or will be done about the multitude of environmentally-related woes now facing the world.
This is exacerbated by the surreal experience of watching the Obama-Romney debate last night. By all accounts Romney was the “winner,” and I have to admit he was the better debater. I was also, of course, fascinated by the rational ideas that came out of his suddenly Centrist mouth, ideas very far removed from anything else he has espoused in the last several years of his more or less permanent campaign. As President Obama quipped this morning (day after the debate), “Last night I was in a debate with a spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney.”
The reason I bring this up, yes, intruding some level of politics into today’s posting, is that it suddenly occurs to me how far into the ozone the zeitgeist of our political economy has moved since the hopeful days of the seventies. Since then we have endured the Reagan years (who heroically decided we had to throw the poor out of the lifeboat to save the lifeboat), the Bush years (Reagan Lives On?), the Clinton years (Episode Three: Rise of the Reagan Clones?), the W years (Reagan Knows Best?), and the Obama years (The Curse of Reagan?).
Back in the seventies there was an excitement, a tangible sense of Possibility that the World could be saved, or healed, or at least managed with good intention, stewardship, and compassion. Now, as I look through the revised edition of “Muddling,” only a year or so after having been deeply involved in working to establish an academic program in Sustainability at WWU, I find I have grown quite cynical, which is a way of saying I have become way less confident that human beings have the will, the good sense, or the ability to avoid destroying the ability of the world to support civilization. Suffice it to say I could go on at some length about this, but not here, and not now. Maybe over a glass of something…?
My point for right now is the curious juxtaposition of last night’s “debate,” my random discovery tonight that October 6 has been named by somebody as “Frugal Fun Day,” and the other random discovery that there is a recent version of the old environmentalist treatise, “Muddling Toward Frugality.” Which leads us to…
The Other Debate
It turns out that the so-called Presidential debate is very carefully designed and managed so as only to include two candidates, the Republican and the Democrat. The format, the questions, and all the rules are made by the two parties. As you might imagine, the rules are strongly oriented toward not letting us see behind the Wizard’s curtain, and last night was no exception, which brings us to the Other Debate.
in order to get other voices heard in the debate, Democracy Now! found a way to include Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party to answer the same questions asked of Obama and Romney in the mainstream debate. They had also invited the Libertarian candidate to participate, who declined. Still, it is encouraging to find that at least in small corners there is information NOT wholly managed by corporate interests, and I encourage anyone who is curious to check it out; it is a comfort to find serious people who reinforce our values while the mainstream goes further and further into la-la land. Link below:
Which brings us to:
This week’s tasting:
St Michael-Eppan Pinot Bianco ’10 Italy 91pts $12
Another winner from the alpine region of Alto Adige, this Pinot Bianco is again one of the stand-outs in San Michele’s 2010 releases. The aromas and flavors are beautifully delineated in this layered, expressive Pinot Bianco. White stone fruits, flowers and crushed rocks wrap around the insistent, layered finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.
For no particular or planned reason, it turns out that we have visited three of the four wineries whose wines we will be pouring this weekend, ranging from Bellingham to France to Spain. The first wine is NOT from an area we have visited, although by all accounts it (Alto Adige) is a stunning landscape, and I already know it produces exceptional and unusual wines. It is in far northern Italy, at the foot of the Alps, along the border with Austria.
Domaine Moulinier St. Chinian Rouge ’10 France $14
Typical of the domaine, this blend of syrah, grenache, and mourvedre is made for food, offering bright notes of dark berries and fruits, a hint of spice, excellent acidity, and nicely managed tannins.
Both we and many of our regulars have visited Domaine Moulinier in St. Chinian, tasted their wonderful wines, enjoyed hanging out with dad Guy and son Stephane, and been amazed at the museum-quality collection of fossils and ancient human artifacts, including Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal stone tools.
Celler Can Blau Can Blau ’09 Spain 90pts $15
The 2009 Can Blau is made up of 40% Carinena, 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha aged for 12 months in French oak. Wood smoke, spice box, incense, lavender, black cherry and plum aromas are followed by a mouth-filling, round, dense wine with outstanding grip and length. It over-delivers in a big way. Drink it over the next 6-8 years.
It turns out that the Can Blau winery is NOT located in the Montsant region, where we visited last spring, even though that is where several of their wines originate. Spanish law requires that in order to carry the label of a region, the grapes must be grown AND the wine must be made in that region. So Can Blau is mostly made up of grapes grown in the Spanish region of Montsant, which surrounds the famous area of Priorat. The wines are actually made by the Can Blau winemaker (a woman we met very briefly) at the Masroig cooperative winery located in the village of, you guessed it, Masroig. You will recall that we have tasted several of the Masroig wines over the past month or two, including the Les Sorts rose, the Sola Fred, and the Vinyes Velles.
Masquerade Syrah ’07 Washington $22
Made by Bill and Jennifer Kimmerley in Bellingham from Burgess Vineyard in Pasco, this syrah is both fruity and crisp, a great accompaniment to the heavier fare we are starting to enjoy as our evenings are turning decidedly cooler.
Bill and Jennifer Kimmerley of Masquerade Winery in Bellingham did a special tasting of their wines here in June for the Schooner Zodiac Wine Cruise stop here at our shop, and we have poured them on other occasions during the summer. We keep their wines in stock, as we do with several neighborhood wineries. We encourage you to stop by their tasting room on Iowa street (open most weekday afternoons), and to come by this weekend to taste their syrah.