lummi island wine tasting july 26 ’14

Legendary Rosé

20140723-191015.jpgTo say that our rosé this week is legendary invites some explanation. The first part of the explanation involves wine importer Kermit Lynch, who began his wine career by traveling around France in the seventies. His book, Adventures on the Wine Route, tells a tale of a young man enthralled by the wine traditions of France. He explores the people who grow grapes and make the wines, telling their stories alongside the stories of the fruit and the wines. It’s something of an educational and entertaining ode to French wine. He returned to America to start his now well-established (if not quite “legendary”) import business (based in Berkeley), and his import label has earned a reputation for quality.

Of the many people he encountered on his first wine odyssey in France some thirty years ago, none stand out more prominently than the Peyraud family of Domaine Tempier in Bandol. (read more) . The domaine has been in the family since 1834, and in modern times has been instrumental in re-establishing mourvedre as premier grape of the Bandol region.

We spent the better part of an afternoon looking for the Domaine (i. e. being lost!), with only a vague notion of where it should be, and expecting (always a mistake!) it would be, you know, easy to find. Without an address. Without an internet connection. I.e., totally unprepared. As it turned out, we did stumble onto it quite by accident (there were vineyards!), and fortunately, Pat saw the sign— and suddenly we were–surprisingly–there!) Thus ensued a very pleasant and low-key tasting with Mme. Peyraud, who was charming and gracious, and the wines were delicious. Pretty low-key for, you know, Legendary, but one of the big draws about Old World wine is that at the end of the day wine is made by ordinary people with a passion. And sometimes, as with Domaine Tempier and many other small old-world producers, the passion has gone on for centuries.

The important take-away here is that we will be pouring their legendary rosé this weekend. It is more expensive than most rosés. On the other hand, it is probably the most famous rosé on the planet, and, let’s face it, that’s what legends are all about!


Rare Birds

Among the highlights of our recent stay in the French countryside were the ever-present swifts, rocketing in long, incredibly fast arcs high against blue sky and cotton clouds. At first glance these well-named birds look a bit like swallows, but actually they are closer relatives of the hummingbird (who knew?). They are swift indeed, with some larger species clocked at over 100 mph. Their wing design allows them to change the shape and area of their wings, maximizing their efficiency and maneuverability. Their aerodynamic lines are reminiscent of skipjack or yellowfin tuna, which can reach underwater speeds of (I’m not making this up) 50 mph. The takeaway about swifts: uncommonly fast, beautifully evolved, and an absolute joy to watch!


20140724-121507.jpgCloser to home, rumor has it that here on Lummi we also are visited seasonally by swifts, though I don’t remember having seen any. Of course, there are lots of “local birds” that we don’t see very often, so it is always a pleasure to sight any of them. You might recognize this pair that wandered into the shop last weekend, a little off track from their usual migratory route. I suspect it has something to do with the camouflage provided to the male of the pair by Pat’s quilt behind him…? In any case, I understand they are frequently sighted all over the island, especially up around Wild Wabbit Woad (gonna have to explore it, I guess). Btw, at least one of them posts really fascinating photos almost every day on Facebook…check it out!


Bread Rocks!

20140724-123524.jpgNo, no, not those kinds of rocks! No, here is Janice last Friday with the beautiful basket of bread she brought in. (See last week’s post). She has been teetering on the edge of starting an island bread business for over a year now. In the off-chance the there were any lingering  doubters, last weekend has the fans stamping their feet and wailing in the stands: Yes! Yes! Sign me up! Bring me bread! Every day! Every week! Please!

An abiding sense of Fair Play forbids us from giving you her email, but we know you are Enterprising, you love a good loaf of bread, and you know that sometimes you have to ask for what you want.

What do we Want?

Fresh Bread!

When do we want it?

Now! Now! Now!


This week’s tasting

St Innocent pinot blanc ‘12 Oregon $18
Intriguing scents of honey, lemon custard, and minerals, with hints of tangerine and herbs. Light and easygoing, with delicately earthy notes mixing with the pear and citrus flavors.

Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé ’13   France    $38
50% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 2% Carignan; Light, bright orange-pink; intense aromas of rose petal, orange rind, citrus blossom and distinct minerality; palate is rounded and full with notes of peach and pomegranate and good acid balance.

Le Rote Chianti Colli Senesi ’11 Italy $14
Rich, chewy, dark fruit, evolves into a smooth palate with notes of black cherry and sweet tobacco.

Garmendia Tempranillo ’10 Spain $12
Organically grown grapes ferment in carbonic maceration, yielding a balanced, round wine with sturdy tannins and notes of strawberry, raspberry, banana, and a note of fennel.

La Quercia montepulciano riserva ’10 Italy $18
100% organic montepulciano from low-yield vines; rich, port-like nose of candied cherries that carry through on the expressive, rich, earthy palate; nice balance of fruit and acidity.


Wine Tasting

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