lummi island wine tasting feb 22 ’19

note: some photos may link to larger formats when clicked…

Friday Breads This Week

Multi Grain Levain – Uses a flavorful mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A blend of flax, sesame sunflower and pumpkin seeds and some polenta add great flavor and crunch. And just a little honey for some sweetness. A great all around bread that is full of flavor – $5/loaf

Polenta Levain – Made with bread flour and polenta in the final dough mix. This is not the sweet corn cranberry bread that I have done in the past that is enriched with milk and butter, this bread is a nice rustic loaf with great corn flavor. – $5/loaf

…and pastry this week, always popular, and twice now having seemed to precipitate a number of Real Bear sightings on the island (we are not making this up! –hopefully, no Bears invited this time)…

Bear Claws! – Made with a danish pastry dough rich in cream, eggs, sugar and butter. The dough is rolled out and spread with a filing made with almond paste, powdered sugar, egg whites and just a bit of cinnamon to round out the flavor. Then, because bears love honey, topped with a honey glaze after baking. – 2/$5

 

Savoie Blanc

Savoie is a stunningly scenic wine region along the alpine border of France and Switzerland. (see nice photo sequence). Because of the altitude and the proximity to Switzerland, it is home to a number of ancient grape varietals grown in the region for hundreds of years, and a white wine-lover’s joy in particular. Savoie consists of many geographically distinct wine sub-regions scattered across the four French departments of Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Isère, and Ain. All together, the various subregions total only about 5000 acres.

On average, vineyards in the region have moderate elevation between 1000 and 2000 ft., where vineyards are influenced by both the altitude and the moderating effects of the nearby Mediterranean and southern hillside exposures. Savoie whites, including the one we are tasting this weekend, include Jacquère, Chasselas, and Altesse. Jacquère is the most widely planted grape in Savoie, producing lively floral and white fruit flavors. Altesse brings complex flavors of fresh almonds, bergamot (think Earl Grey), pineapple, and quince. Chasselas does well in cooler, short summers (it’s grown right here in Whatcom County!), and offers hints of buttered toast and dried fruit. All in all, this Savoie is a perfect wine for those sunny Spring afternoons that are Just Around the Corner…!

 

February Blues

Growing up in Maine, we got used to Winter, or Wintuh, as we called it. It was No Big Deal. Though the first snow would appear sometime around Thanksgiving, the reality of snow on the ground wouldn’t begin till around Christmas and would last until March. Snowbanks along roads, streets, and sidewalks would get taller and taller until late March or early April, when melting days fought for dominance with snowing nights, and you could see and hear the Thaw. It wasn’t a big deal. And it was rarely Gloomy; it would snow, and then the Sun would come out…Quite Brightly, as Donovan once sang. It was actually Nice when there was new snow, because the steep hill at the end of our street was blocked to traffic and all the kids in the neighborhood would spend every free moment sliding down the hill on their sleds. (In Maine we never “sledded,” we “went sliding.”)

On the same hill it was easy to turn the snow banks into snow caves when they were high, or snow forts when they were lower, and make snowmen and snowballs when the snow got moist enough to be “sticky.” But that was a Long, long, time ago.

Here in our corner of the PNW for  some 40 years, I have gotten used to the Winter Gloom, and over time accepted the Bargain that seemed to come with the Territory: in exchange for the lingering and Oppressive Winter Gloom, one learned to appreciate the arrival of the the first Harbingers of Spring shortly after Groundhog Day. Though you might not have seen the sun since early October in some years, mid-February brought warmer temperatures, longer days, and early buds on the Indian Plum, pussy willows, and daffodils.

This winter has been Different, especially the last several weeks– as it has for much of the Nation. It has been Too Cold, gone on Too Long, and delivered Too Much Snow. It feels like the Worst of both Maine and Washington, though of course no one here has Any Idea about Sliding, cuz till now it never snowed enough to make it possible!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Rumors of the Coming Mueller Report

Speculation has it that Special Counsel Mueller is about to release some results of his investigation of the Tweetster, his Ilk, Kith, Kin, Ko-Konspirators, Kronies, Kommie Kontacts, Krooks, Konfederates, and Konfidants. Speculation also has it that no one should expect much immediate excitement. Rather, as the Washington Post puts it, a short Mueller report would mark the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. That is, it would be a sort of Road Map the Attorney General (that should be interesting…), FBI, Federal courts, House Committees, and other investigators could use to delve more deeply into matters uncovered by the investigation so far.

It sounds like a Big Dose of Lowering Expectations, kinda like when you’re seven years old, it’s Christmas, and your folks tell you, “you know, Honey, you, um, probably shouldn’t get your hopes too high for that Pony you’ve been wanting so much…” In our own case, there was something about the recent election, the Halfway Point in a Tweetster Four-Year Term, that invoked feelings of Resignation and Hopelessness in a Spicy Sauce best defined by the Indian Guru who told his Followers with Deep Amusement, “There’s No God; there’s No Heaven; and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It!”

As we have mentioned recently, it is Komforting to have the House in Democratic hands. And there is a strong likelihood…mmm, hold on a minute, let’s lower our expectations a bit and say “some possibility” that various investigatory entities at all levels will be able to use pieces of Mueller’s road map to get some Leverage on Justice.

While the Skeptic who has lived inside me for a long time remains cautiously hopeful, the Reality seems to be that the Tweetster could be several years into or even past a Second Term before the Wheels of Justice might free us from his Madness. In the meantime, the Stolen Election of Aught-Sixteen will never be corrected nor Damages Paid. The Global Damage of however many Surreal Years this goes on will never be repaired, the System that allowed it happen will has yet to be improved, and the Justice of turning the clock back to the So-called Election of Aught-Sixteen and Starting Over is definitely “There’s Nothing you can do about it!”

So. Mueller Report or no Mueller Report, it’s a Long Road back to Normal.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 7,546 as of 1/1/19

 

This week’s wine tasting

Viallet Vin de Savoie Blanc ’16   France  $12
Fresh, crisp, bright, and tangy, with notes of stewed fruit and honey, and a refreshing balance of minerality and acidity.

Domaine La Croix Belle Caringole ’14      France       $11
Syrah, Carignan and Merlot blend from Languedoc’s Cotes de Thongue region; fresh and supple with flavors of cherry, and black olive, and herbs.

Monte Tondo Veneto Corvina ’16     Italy   $12
Ruby red; bright lively nose with fresh cherry, blackberry and black pepper; supple, well-integrated tannins and a well balanced, dark fruit core with cherry, dark chocolate, a smooth, seductive slightly spicy finish.

Terra d’Oro Zinfandel ’16 California $15
Vibrant aromas of clove and big, generous fruit lead to concentrated flavors of juicy plums and blackberries in a soft frame of toasted oak.

Kerloo Majestic Syrah Grenache ’16 Wash. $24
Aromas of leather, black cherries, and plums; on the palate smooth and silky with a complex, lingering finish.

Wine Tasting

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