lummi island wine tasting may 11 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Seeded Multi Grain Levain Made with a sourdough culture and a flavorful mix of bread flour,  fresh milled whole wheat, and rye with flax, sesame,  sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, some polenta for great flavor and crunch, and a bit of honey for some sweetness. – $5/loaf

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – A flavorful artisan bread made with a poolish, fresh milled buckwheat and bread flour. Buckwheat is not a grain, it is actually a seed and closer in the plant family to rhubarb and sorrel than to wheat, but contains no gluten, and has an earthy flavor,  a little sweetness from honey,and toasted walnuts add a nice texture. – $5/loaf

For pastry this week…

Rum Raisin Brioche: A delicious brioche dough full of eggs, butter and sugar. Filled with golden raisins, soaked in rum, and chunks of almond paste, then topped with a chocolate glaze before baking. Ooh la la, what’s not to like?! y. – 2/$5.



Syncline Wine Cellars is located along the Columbia River a bit west of Maryhill in the Columbia River Gorge. The winery is located a mile or so north of the river on a south sloping upland at the eastern edge of the new Columbia Gorge AVA, just east of a series of 300-foot cliffs rising up from the Columbia River. Locally known as the “Coyote Wall Syncline” and to geologists as the “Bingen Syncline,” this dramatic feature gives the winery its name.

The owners, Poppy and James Mantone, made their first wine in 1999, and since then have set a high standard for Rhone varietals in Washington State. Their wines consistently bring out the best qualities of Washington-grown Rhone red varietals Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, and Carignan, and white varietals grenache blanc, and picpoul.

Their recently released 2016 mourvedre is a great example of of the Syncline style at its best, with mouth-filling, soft texture and bright, rich, lingering fruit flavors. Supposedly either Thomas Jefferson of Benjamin Franklin is said to have quipped that wine it the best evidence we have that God loves us and wants us to Be Happy, and whoever it was had probably sipped a wine very much like this one. I taste it, I lean back, I roll my eyes, I smile, I feel Grateful. Yum!


Down the Rabbit Hole in Search of Relief

It started a few months ago, waking up in the morning with aching muscles in upper legs. Over some weeks it expanded to include shoulders and upper arms. Worst in early morning, easier after light exercise and stretching, but got worse over time. So after a month I thought, hmm, this must be the Statin Thing people talk about , the muscle aches, the cramping… so I cut my dose in half. But since that didn’t help much, I eventually stopped taking statins altogether and informed my Doc, who did an exam and some blood tests which said “statins are not the problem.” Huh? Really?

Simultaneously I saw an acupuncturist and a naturopath who both Believed that yes, these are Classic Statin Symptoms, which Are Indeed the Problem, so you need to rebuild your System with supplements. Meanwhile our daughter-in-law, also an MD sent a link about something called polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), a strange condition that primarily hits people around age 72, of Northern European roots, causing soreness and cramping in the muscles of the shoulders, arms, thighs, and hips, and is worst in the early morning, Oh, yeah, I thought, that sounds Very Familiar, so I told my Doc, who referred me to a rheumatologist, but who couldn’t see me for about six weeks! 

By this time getting up in the morning had become agony; putting weight on wrists, elbows, shoulders, or knees was cripplingly painful. I read that the standard treatment involved a corticosteroid called prednisone. It turns out that my Dear Dog Tator has been taking a small maintenance dose of prednisone since her own auto-immune issues last summer. So of course I took a small dose of her med…and WOW, relief was rapid (a few hours) and a relief!

Then followed several days over which I dropped by the rheumatologist’s office for an impromptu chat, (Yes I have an appointment but not for several weeks, do you mind if I wait…? informed my own doc that I needed him to expedite my appointment with the rheumatologist, which precipitated a conversation between my doc and the rheumatologist, which led my doc to begin the standard course of prednisone with me. So here as I write the weekly blog, I am out of pain for the first time in many weeks, feeling a little euphoric and hopeful and vastly Relieved. It’s been a tough few months, and a Comfort to see Relief in Sight!


Mar a Lago Update: Insanity Fatique 

The recurring metaphor for our Country and our World since the 2016 so-called “Election” is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, in which all of the Players have been Imprisoned in an Ongoing Hell of Nonsensical Events. Alice, of course, gets to leave the Tea Party after a time, though sadly it does take longer to get back to what Alice would recognize as “Reality.”

To some degree our Entire World seems dragged along into our National Nightmare, the entirely of which could only have been developed and written by a writer as creative and disturbed as 50’s comic strip author Chester Gould, creator of Dick Tracy.

For you many who are too young to remember, like Alice in Wonderland, the Dick Tracy comic strip was populated by Ultimate Weirdos with names like Flattop, BO Plenty, Flyface, Sparkle Plenty, Oodles, Diet Smith…the list went On and On and On. And no, it never made much sense, but yes as kids we did read it every weekend. Like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party we all thought it would eventually make sense, beginning, you know, with the weird, sharp Jaw of the Dick Tracy character and ending with the inevitable close-up in most weekend strips with the little arrow linking an object in the drawing with a little sign that said “two-way wrist radio,’ eventually replaced with the “two-way wrist TV.”

Every day lately the Tweetster has been linked with Yet Another Character who would have been Right at Home in the World of Dick Tracy.

As Charlie Brown often said, with his forehead leaning against a tree, ” I can’t stand it!”


This week’s wine tasting

Kerloo Grenache Blanc ’17   Washington    $17
An enticing nose that showcases bright citrus, light honey, and a hint of dry straw; bright acidity along with a supple of mouth feel. Bursts of star fruit, lemon peel, minerals, and salinity will definitely hit the spot! You’ll want this beauty with anything saying “seafood!”

Vina Equia Rioja ’14   Spain   $10
Vivid cherry red color with hints of vanilla, coconut, and  licorice; it is well-balanced with mature red fruit flavors on the palate and full-bodied with an elegant finish.

l’Ecuyer de Couronneau Bordeaux Rouge ’15    France    $16
Merlot-dominated it has been made with ‘easy-drinking’ very much in mind, offering a bit of New World ripeness; full bodied with good depth; palate of berries, red fruit, and hints of tobacco in a long finish.

Zenato ‘Alanera’ Rosso Veronese      Italy        $15
Dark, inky color; rich and focused nose, with ripe berries, dusty oak and a precise note of waxy vanilla bean. On the palate delivers extracted flavors of cherries, strawberry, clay and even a hint of crushed mint. Soft tannins, rounded finish.

Syncline Mourvedre ’16   Washington $32
Unites Red Mountain’s intensity, brilliant acidity, and tannin structure with Horse Heaven’s lush fruit flavors and texture for a wine that offers juicy plum, blackberry, cassis and savory flavors with hints of wet stone. A rich, layered mouthfeel and bright finish complement the intense aromas.






Wine Tasting

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