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lummi island wine tasting july 5-6 ’19

Friday Breads

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

Polenta Levain – Also made with a levain which is mixed with bread flour and polentain the final dough mix. While there is a hint of butter used when making the polenta for a nice rustic loaf with great corn
flavor. – $5/loaf

Chocolate Croissants – a traditional laminated french pastry made with a bit of sourdough flavor and some pre-fermented dough to help strengthen the dough to create the traditional honeycomb interior. Rolled out and shaped with delicious dark chocolate in the center. – 2/$5



Fourth of July

Every Fourth of July we like to remind people to “Watch out for Falling Elephants!” That’s because of a limerick that was popular in our neighborhood in Maine when I was a kid. It goes like this:

“I asked my mother for fifty cents
To see the elephant jump the fence;
He jumped so high he touched the sky, and
Didn’t come down till the Fourth of July.”

Fortunately it is now late in the evening on the Fourth with No Reports of Elephant Damage! (whew!)


Mar a Lago Update: American Dreams

Here it is another Fourth of July in America. Besides the perennial worry about Falling Elephants , today we enjoyed the company of close neighbors over tasty snacks, decent wine, tasty barbecue, and excellent conversation on issues of the day that grew curiously animated, suggesting an unconscious anxiety about the world we share and the politics that drive it. Interestingly, our little group shared a common political perspective,  which is not so much Philosophical as it is Nostalgiac, somewhat reminiscent of Robert Kennedy’s line about “Other people see things as they are and ask Why?…I see things that Never Were and ask “Why Not?”

As we went around the table, each of us dug deeply to try to Name the sources of our Fears. The common element seemed to be that from childhood we had all become attached to idealistic fantasies of the Meaning of America which over recent decades in general and over the last two years in particular have been Wholeheartedly Abandoned by Republicans.

At root is a somewhat arcane economic theory involving the relationship between “property rights” and “amenity rights” proposed by EJ Mishan some decades ago. The idea is that in lots of circumstances the behavior of one individual imposes collateral costs on other individuals, as when someone smokes in a restaurant, plays loud music that bothers neighbors, or dumps radioactive waste into a public waterway.

Mishan’s central point was the ambiguity of rights in modern society. Does a cigarette smoker have the property right to smoke wherever and whenever s/he pleases, or does everyone else have the right to a smoke-free environment? Should the smoker pay for the right to smoke in a social setting, or should those present have to pay the smoker Not To Smoke?

Today, nearly fifty years after the first Earth Day, these issues of property rights and amenity rights remain unresolved and to a large degree define the differences between Republicans and Democrats. If you believe every individual Owns the Right to Clean Air and Water, Quiet, and Equal Opportunity, you  are a Democrat. If you believe that every individual Owns a Right to engage in any personal and economic behavior they choose regardless of its consequences on others, you are a Republican. Sadly, it is hard to see any room for compromise between these Extremes.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 10,000 as of 5/1/19


This week’s wine tasting

Ottella Lugana Bianco ’16 Italy $15
Trebbiano di Lugano (Turbiana). Intense straw yellow color with green tinges. Exotic notes of candied fruit and citrus, warm and very deep on the nose. Widespread expressive finesse, with rich and persistent texture.

Elicio Rosé ’18 France $12
Syrah-grenache blend; bright vibrant pink; fruit-forward notes of fresh raspberries and summer flowers.

Atalaya Laya ’17 Spain $11
70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell; Cassis, blueberry, pungent herbs and mocha aromas lead to an open-knit palateof fresh cherry, dark berry, and a hint of black pepper and a subtle floral note.

Coupe Roses La Bastide ’17 France $12
Carignan-Grenache blend; aromas and flavors of the garrigue underbrush of the high Minervois, laced with notes of blueberry and Carignan’s tarry black notes.

Seghesio Zinfandel Angela’s Garden ’17 $19
Nose has ripe bing cherries with a bit of leather that expand on the palate to ripe maraschino and Rainiers. Youthful and bright with a surprising depth of flavor and a youthful finish.






Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting may 18 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread Friday this week

Barley, Whole Wheat, & Rye Levain – a levain bread where the sourdough culture is built over several days and allowed to ferment before the final dough is mixed. Then mixed with bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat, barley and rye flours. A hearty whole grain bread that is a great all around bread – $5/loaf

Buttermilk Currant – A really flavorful loaf made with bread flour and almost half fresh milled whole wheat. A little honey for sweetness balances the flavors of the whole grain, buttermilk makes for a soft and tender crumb. Then lots of currants and just a little rosemary round out the flavors. This bread makes great toast and even better french toast- $5/loaf

And pastry this week…

Baker’s Choice Surprise! Sometimes inspiration for pastry comes later in the week than the email. All you need to know is it will be delicious, cost $5, and, as always, quantities are limited! C’mon, step up and take a chance!!


Open Friday, Closed Saturday this weekend!

We are away for the weekend, celebrating grandson Seriozha’s Second Birthday in Corvallis! Bread Friday will happen as usual this week from 4-6pm with Janice and David and delivering bread and pouring this week’s wines (see list below). However please note the wine shop will be closed all day on Saturday, 5/19. 

We will reopen for the Memorial Day Artists’ Studio Tour Friday 5/25 from 4-6, and Saturday and Sunday 5/26-27 from 1-6pm, continuing our ongoing show of works by Meredith Moench. More on that next week!

The Current Wine Plan for Studio Tour is for our friend Tristan to come up and pour wines from his Spanish Portfolio on Friday and Saturday. Mark your calendars!



Trailer Update

Plan A was to pick up our new trailer in Portland on May 1. But as we wrote that week, it was the Wrong Trailer, Gromit! “Our” trailer had gotten stranded Somewhere in Indiana when the factory lost track of where it was supposed to go. Instead they sent a trailer with the same exterior but a different interior.

Then we were assured that Everything Possible was being done to get it shipped ASAP, almost certainly within a week, May 7 or 8 at the latest. As that date came and went, it became clear that yes the trailer had “gone to the shipper,” and would soon be On the Road to Oregon, and For Sure it would be leaving Indiana by Monday, May 14. Figure three or four days on the road and it could arrive in Portland by Thursday, May 17, opening a theoretical doorway for pickup sometime during our current Birthday Trip.

So, as one does, we maintained Hope. At this writing we are in a motel in Woodland, WA, on our way to Corvallis. Today we get the latest update on the Trailer Shipping News; the current projected delivery date is next Friday, May 25. Which is (see above) Studio Tour Weekend. Curiously, repeated Disappointment doesn’t so much leave a Bitter Taste as a Corked taste, Flavorless and somewhat Musty, and you are Ready to Dump it Down the Drain, but you have built up So Much Expectation you can’t quite bring yourself to do it, and you sit with your disappointment and frustration with, you know, a kind of Puzzled Irony.


Mar a Lago Update: Rooms Full of Elephants

Day to Day coping with the Tweetster in Charge of The World is an Ongoing Challenge. Everybody Can Feel it is All Wrong, that a Terrible Mistake has been made. It is not unlike the beginning Gambit of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when a Vogon Demolition Ship is sent to destroy the Earth to make room for a new Hyperspace Bypass. Nothing personal, Just Business, sorry for Any Inconvenience, Really, If you hadn’t been here, we wouldn’t have to Remove You, Our Hands Are Tied.

The News this week has repeatedly reminded us that it is the Anniversary of the appointment of Robert Mueller to Investigate Possible Wrongdoing/Collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian Intelligence Operatives during the 2016 Election Campaign. Republican Loyalists, having Accepted Him as their Personal Savior,  have Closed Ranks around the Tweetster in a Phalanx of Shields and Spears to protect him from each Daily Onslaught of Fake News. And the Rhetoric continues to Amp Up that there should be a Time Limit for Mueller to Prove that there is a There There.

This all reminds us of the Eight Long Years of the Whitewater Investigation of the Clintons, not to mention the Fox News 25-year Obsession with Hillary Clinton, you know, in case she ever ran for President, and oh by the way, fast forward to today’s world where there is Nothing the Tweetster can do to arouse moral outrage among his Disciples.

So it is worth taking a moment from the daily cries of Fake News and looking around the room Slowly Enough to Start Focusing on the Increasing Number and Size of Elephants in the Room that Everyone is Studiously Ignoring, especially the One in the Middle that No One can either Ignore or Acknowledge: that Yes, Indeed, the election of  2016 was manipulated and Stolen through a concerted campaign involving Russian hacking, Facebook manipulation, Cambridge Analytica, and the Tweetster Campaign. But of course no one can actually Say That.


This week’s wine tasting

Maryhill Viognier ’15        Washington       $14
Vibrant aromas of orange zest, honeysuckle, and pink grapefruit; flavors of lemon, pear, and white peach. The mouthfeel is delicate, yet full-bodied, withnotes of fresh flowers.

JM Cinsault Rose ’17   Washington    $23
Bigger, more textured, and more aromatic than one expects from a rosé; in the dark could be mistaken for a full-bodied white blend…delicious!

Antonio Sanguineti Nessun Dorma Toscana ’15    Italy    $15
Super-Tuscan blend of sangiovese, cab, and merlot, with notes of black currant and cherry, and spicy chocolate. Rich and spicy on the palate, the red fruit comes on strong in the middle, with chocolate rounding out the finish.

Chat. Cabriac Carignan Old Vines ’16 France $12
Ruby color with purplish reflections; scents of ripe red fruits, currants and blackcurrant with some spicy notes; in the mouth elegant, round, and well structured with soft tannins and good persistence.

Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz ’16   Australia   $19
Rich, opulent fruit with a wonderful freshness and balance. An incredible deep, central core of dark fruit gives way to an intense textural mid palate full of cassis, plum, spice and dark chocolate.






Wine Tasting

Lummi Island Wine Tasting April 4 ’14

Opening: New Works by Anne Gibert

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Today we installed a new art show featuring new works by our friend and neighbor Anne Gibert. As a group, these paintings all share a certain bold intensity, sometimes for their composition, sometimes for their contrast, and sometimes for their sheer Size in our tiny space. They are quite striking, and we highly recommend that you come by and take a look.

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Anne will be in the shop Friday evening to host the Opening, and will provide a range of munchies to accompany our regular Friday night wine tasting. Shown above are a few images from the show. Don’t miss it!  Click on images for larger version


The New Carpetbaggers

As both of you who read this blog probably figured out a long time ago, it isn’t just about wine. This is a very personal creative endeavor which has painstakingly evolved to its present form over many years. The typical structure is several short paragraphs, each illustrated with an image that in some way illuminates the topic. After all, if Google can show a thousand photos in response to any crackpot query, then anyone else should be able to link to it (free advertising!), especially in the service of zany Creativity!

That, it turns out, is an Open Question. We have recently received several heavy-handed, intimidating, and threatening letters (sent, peculiarly, by Bulk Mail…must be a Big Task shaking down Mom and Pop bloggers around the world…) from unscrupulous, nasty, grasping…what shall we call them?…ah, yes, Carpetbaggers, of course, which Wikipedia describes as “a pejorative term referring to the carpet bags (a fashionable form of luggage at the time of Reconstruction)…the term came to be associated with opportunism and exploitation by outsiders, and is still used today to refer to an outsider perceived as using manipulation or fraud to obtain an objective.”


Millions for Defense, but Not One Cent for Tribute!

These lines go back to the “XYZ Affair” involving bribery demands on U. S. diplomats by officials of the new French Republic in 1798. But the version I prefer for the statement goes back to our war against the Barbary Pirates around the same time, “(the shores of Tripoli”), which took the Pirates out of US Hair (no pun intended) once and for all. As mentioned above, our business in general and this blog in particular are currently being harassed by an unscrupulous outfit called “Getty Images, a gigantic global firm that supposedly owns the rights to some 80 million images, many of which come up in Google searches for anything you can imagine, like, oh, let’s say, “Flying Elephants,” and which are rarely identified online as proprietary. Getty has gained an international reputation for preying on Mom and Pop bloggers like us, and we are joining the ranks of thousands of others who find their behavior offensive in the extreme and are determined to fight them. In our case, they want $1400 in compensation because I linked to one of their (unidentified) online photos in this blog. Stay tuned. “Arrgghh…Now All Hands report to the Bos’n’s Locker for Cutlass Issue…look lively now, lads, and stand by to Repel Boarders!!”


This week’s tasting

Giro Ribot Cava Brut  Spain     $11
Delicate bubbles, deep minerality, and invigorating acidity make this the perfect start to any gathering.

Scarafone Montecucco Rosso  ’08  Italy   $12
90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  A rustic Italian red with aromas and flavors of dried cherry and dark blackberry, with a somewhat toasty character that includes bramble and dried herbs with a hint of leather.

Les Pious Cotes de Rhone Grenache ’11    France    $14
Smooth and rich, with notes of plum and caraway; grown biodynamically and aged in cement tanks…nice!

OS Red ’11    Washington   $14
64% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon. A silky blend from some of WA’s best vineyards; Deep, rich color; smoky condensed fruit on the nose. Full and round on the palate, with notes of black currants and plums.

OS Riesling ’12 Washington (92pts WE) $11
Apple blossom and citrus aromas; broad, flavorful palate of quince, lemon custard, lime, and honey-tinged mineral notes; bracing acidity; should evolve further over time and age well thru 2034.

Wine Tasting

Lummi Island Wine Tasting July 6 ’13 4th of July Weekend

CCSVI (Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency)

dscn0214 (Modified)Last Saturday we had a long conversation with visitor Ben Munkres about CCSVI (which stands forChronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency), and its possible role in the development of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The theory is that MS and a number of other chronic debilitative diseases are caused by, or at least made worse by, blockages or constrictions of veins that move blood from important centers of brain activity. CCSVI advocates believe these blockages can be alleviated by vascular surgery or angioplasty.

Read more
See brief ‘before’ video
See brief ‘after’ video

In Ben’s case, he had rapidly advancing MS for several years and had lost a considerable amount of function when he learned about CCSVI. He told all of us in the wine shop about how he felt his symptoms disappear while the procedure was being done a couple of years ago. So now he is on something of a crusade to extol the benefits of the procedure.

If you Google CCSVI, you will find a lot of information pro and con. As Ben suggested, much of the “con” is from mainstream medical interests. He is convinced that the medical and pharmaceutical industries have been doing very well with diseases like MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers, conditions that are chronic and increasingly debilitating over time, with essentially no hope of recovery…perfect Cash Cows. There is nothing so convincing as someone who has experienced a Miracle Cure, and these days the credibility of medical, financial, and insurance institutions has been deeply compromised. My take-away from the afternoon’s conversation is that vascular intervention worked for at least one man, and I would probably look into it if I or anyone close to me was so unfortunate to get one of these really horrible related conditions.


The Italians are back!

italy_svLovers of Italian wines will have noticed our stock has been getting quite lean of late. Partially that is because we order many of the Italian wines we carry from an importer called Small Vineyards. Twice a year their representative puts on a tasting at a nice Bellingham restaurant for those who buy wines for shops, stores, and restaurants in the area. What sets the SV tastings apart from most others is that it is a sit-down affair, with a story about each of 20 or 25 wines, their wineries and winemakers as you taste them, along with a parade of delicious food. This is in sharp contrast to typical trade tastings, which are in a warehouse-sized room with perhaps hundreds of wines at 20 or 30 tables, and your mission is to taste as many as you can in a couple of hours, and maybe pick a few to bring into the shop.

Btw, this SV model is the same one we will be using in the shop very soon to introduce YOU to wines Ryan will be importing from France in the fall. Samples will be arriving soon, and just as SV does, we will host an event in the next few weeks where you will be able to taste each wine, munch a little something, and hear about who made it and where it comes from. Then you can pre-order those that you want and a few months later: Voilà, here is your wine!

As for this weekend, we will be pouring three of the new Italian arrivals, each the latest vintage of wines we have been consistently impressed with year after year. As I write this I am “previewing” the 2011 Poderi Elia Barbera d’Asti, and it may be the best one ever, smooth and delicious, with dark notes of cranberry, leather, and maybe just a touch of horse sweat on the nose…!


Fourth of July

Every Fourth of July I like to remind people to “Watch out for Falling Elephants!” That’s because of a limerick that was popular in our neighborhood in New England when I was a kid. It goes like this:

“I asked my mother for fifty cents
To see the elephant jump the fence;
He jumped so high he touched the sky, and
Didn’t come down till the Fourth of July.”

Well, this morning Judy O came by for a small “wine emergency” (Remember: we are open Fridays 4-7, Saturdays 2-6, and anytime for Wine Emergencies!) I knew that Judy grew up on Cape Cod, and here it was the 4th, so I asked her if she knew the limerick, and she did! That suggests it is a New England thing, not just a Maine thing. Cool! Pass it on: maybe it can become a Global Thing, and Everyone can be on the alert for Falling Elephants on the Fourth!


This Week’s Tasting

Trevisiol “Rosecco” Sparkling Rosé   Italy $15
Where prosecco meets rosé; Light and effervescent wine that dances on the tongue with fresh berries, lively acidity and gentle bubbles.

Marchetti Later Harvest Verdicchio ’12 Italy $16
Full-bodied with lush notes of pear and melon, with beautiful acidity. An extra month on the vine delivers not sweetness, but rather greater body, structure, and fruit essence. Entirely satisfying!

Poderi Elia Barbera d’Asti ‘11 Italy $14
Balanced, soft, and rich, with freshly pressed cranberries on the nose, and lush palate of pomegranate, bright acidity, and soft tannins that beg for pairing with a savory meal.

Stonecap Cabernet Sauvignon ’11 Washington $9
Opens with aromas of blackberry, spice, and oak followed by flavors of currants, raspberry, and hints of chocolate and coffee on a smooth finish; a perfect companion to grilled meats.

Almirez Toro ’08 Spain 91pts $22
Vivid ruby. High-pitched red berries and spices on the nose. Silky in texture and emphatically fruity, offering fresh raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of tangy minerality. Very fresh, with strong finishing spiciness and lingering mineral note. Impressive clarity and focus.


Wine Tasting