Hey! Bellingham Herald Article Makes Us Even More Famous!
A couple of weeks ago our friends Dan and Alex stopped by for what turned out to be most of the afternoon to chat about how the wine shop has been faring the last year or two. Dan (Radil) writes the weekly wine column in the Bellingham Herald, and he and Alex drop in from time to time to check up on us. Their too-occasional visits make for a festive time, and we always look forward to seeing them. (Of course those of you who visit regularly know that, hello, we always have a good time here, but that’s another story!). Suffice it to say that Dan’s article featuring us appeared this week! Numerous people have read it and told us it was a great article (Thanks, Dan!). I thought it would be easy to find online but unfortunately there is some weird delay between when the column appears in print and when it appears online. Bottom line: we haven’t seen it yet! Since we didn’t manage to get out and buy the edition of the paper in which it appeared, the next best option is this:
Free tasting this weekend for the first person (or couple) who presents us with a clipping of the original article!
Several months ago our trusty little Canon Powershot S500 Digital ELPH that Pat bought ten years or so ago starting acting as though it had suffered some kind of stroke. This is a camera we have relied upon heavily in the wine shop to document our (and your!) activities on this blog over the past several years. The first symptoms were the appearance of horizontal bands in the photos. That went on intermittently for several months; sometimes pictures had the bands, but most of the time they were fine. A few weeks ago, however, the bands started appearing all the time, definitely a problem. That was quickly followed by an unresolvable seizure mode, in which the camera could not zero in and focus, but just kept trying anyway. It appears, therefore, that we need a new camera, and that’s why in the past few weeks I have been relying almost exclusively on public photos I find online to illustrate this weekly missive rather than the more familiar shots of People Having Fun in the wine shop!
It is bizarre that these days you can take photos with your camera, your phone, your computer, your Ipad (not to mention tiny spy cameras in the shape of little black helicopters in microscopic specks of dust!). Yet despite the ready availability of photographic technology, when I try to use one of these alternatives I find that there is always some other piece of hardware necessary to access the photos, which tends to make me a little grumpy. So the good news is that I can take pictures with the new dumb phone I bought last winter when my old one ran out of power, but of course I don’t have the special cable required to connect it to my computer. We do have an Ipad, which also takes pictures, and even a cable to connect it to an actual computer, but it is a little unwieldy to “point and shoot.” At the moment, based on the recommendation of one of our regulars visitors who happens to be a professional photographer (thanks, Jim!), I am leaning toward the new Canon Powershot G15 to replace our terminally ill camera. However, that is a little pricey, so we are still shopping. In the meantime, if you have a camera to recommend, let us know!
Next week we are off for a week or so to Napa wine country, visits with family and friends (maybe including a white-knuckle ride in The Kid’s Red Car…ah, the Napa lifestyle!), and possibly a bit of wine tasting, you never know. Never fear, Ryan will be here to attend to all of your wine needs during our travels, so the shop will be open as usual next Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5, and we will be back the following weekend, which might be studio tour..? Anyway, there is something about vineyards, especially hillside vineyards, that always evokes in me a deep sense of calm, a soothing beauty, a long, restorative exhalation. Ahhhhh!
Even after all these years, it is still a surprise– not a complaint– to re-experience the seasonal slowdown our business takes in the Fall. So it was a bit of a surprise that last weekend, when we were special tasting of the new Betz releases of their Rhone blends, that we had so few visitors to share them with.
Despite the low numbers in attendance, I have to say that the quality of conversation and cameraderie reached a new qualitative high. So here is a special thanks to Mary Jane, Capella, and Judy O (this photo is from last Halloween with Capella, Leere, and Mary Jane…sorry no photos of Judy) on Friday night for a lengthy and enjoyable salon, and special thanks to Randy for wasting most of a perfectly good Saturday with us, including taking it upon herself to make sure everyone got several chances to taste the Betz wines…! and yes, folks, they were very, very good; imho, this very difficult 2010 Washington vintage more closely mimicked the climate of the southern Rhone, yielding more Old World-like wines with sharper varietal delineation and brighter acidity than usual. They may not earn the big ratings scores they have in the past, but I suspect that they may come closer to the ideal that winemaker extraordinaire Bob Betz has been continually striving toward.
This week’s tasting notes
Poet’s Leap Riesling ’11 Washington $18
Fragrant nose of mineral, lemon-lime, and floral notes leading to a vibrant, Kabinett-style, off-dry wine with pear and apricot flavors on the palate. Balanced by the excellent natural acidity of the vintage, it is likely to evolve for 1-2 years and drink well for another 6-8.
Underwood Pinot Noir ’11 Oregon $11
Notes of cranberries and red raspberries with hints of smoke and spice. The palate is filled with sweet raspberry fruit intertwined with warm cinnamon tones.
St. Francis Red Splash ’08 California $12
Lush with succulent ripe, red fruit flavors and spicy aromas. Full-bodied and versatile, RED pairs with a variety of foods for any occasion.
Cryptic Red ’10 California $18
Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon blend from lots of vineyards, yielding a big, jammy New World red blend brimming with brambly, intense, red berry flavors; inky, intense depth and color; and a silky mouth-filling finish: a hedonist’s delight.