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lummi island wine tasting oct 5 ’18

Bread Friday this week

Whole Wheat Levain – Made with a sourdough starter that is built up over several days. The bread is made with levain and bread flour and about 25% fresh milled whole wheat, giving it a ‘toothy’ crumb,  great texture and flavor and a nice crisp crust.  – $5/loaf

Buckwheat Rye – Fresh milled buckwheat and rye flours are soaked for 8 hours without any yeast in a method known as an autolyse. As buckwheat and rye don’t have much gluten this allows what little gluten there is to start developing and really gets the enzymes going before the final mix, which is then fermented overnight in the refrigerator. The buckwheat, rye soaker is mixed with bread flour, salt and yeast and a bit of honey. Goes well with all sorts of meats and cheese – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with plenty of butter, eggs and sugar, fermented overnight in the refrigerator before being rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with dark chocolate. 2/$5


Fior D’Arancio

A few weeks ago we posted a note about a wine from Colli Euganei, a series of ancient volcanic hills north of Venice, where 50 million year old mineral deposits add depth and character to local wines. In that case we were talking about the success of red Bordeaux varietals like cab and merlot in the region.

This week we offer an unusual sparkling dessert wine from the same region, made from a local clone of muscat, which either through its own genetic identity or from some kind of cosmic osmosis  (cosmosis…?) from nearby orange orchards, has strong scents and flavors of orange. This wine is surprising and pleasing in many ways, with its lovely orange blossom bouquet, fine perlage, and fluffy mousse. It makes a great afternoon treat on the deck, or a fine accompaniment with fruit tarts, pies, puddings, or cakes.


October Sunset




Mar a Lago Update: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Kavanaugh

 Legend has it that the idea for Robert Louis Stevenson’s original story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to him in a dream, and the first draft was completed in a few days. The basic story is that Jekyll the upstanding scientist has a few flaws, and experiments with a dangerous chemical cocktail that transforms him body, mind, and spirit into the morally corrupt Hyde, through whose debauchery he can explore his own Dark Side. The tension between the two characters, one good and one evil inhabiting the same body, makes for a compelling story.

It is less well-known that late in life Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis and the effects of medicinal cocaine used to treat it, and there is speculation that he was experiencing some of the elements of his own personality split when he wrote the story.

Recently we have all witnessed a similar transformation in the Senate hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In week one of testimony he played a casual game of softball with Republican Senators, while openly defying Democrats. Then we saw an astonishing day of  hearings which featured a composed, guileless, and credible Christine Blasey-Ford describing in detail how he assaulted her when they were both teenagers, followed by a disturbing, defiant, bullying, scowling, sneering, self-righteous and infantile Kavanaugh raging against the Gross Injustice of the Obvious Conspiracy by the Democrats, the Clintons, and Blasey-Ford to keep him from his Birthright to be a Supreme Court Justice.

He was painful to watch, and his Schtick was entirely familiar to those of us who grew up in alcoholic families. Self-righteous and self-deceiving, his basic message of How Dare You Question Me? is a classic psychopathic strategy for asserting Power. If you look back at the recordings of his Performance, you will see not Mr. Kavanaugh, but Mr. Hyde, sneering and outraged, blaming and vowing revenge, and wallowing in a strangely defiant self-pity. His demeanor, his language, his rudeness, his disrespect, and his bullying are all Familiar Hallmarks of Being Under the Influence of Something, maybe beer in high school, but something more intense, coke maybe, while watching Blasey-Ford’s testimony.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens just today withdrawn his endorsement for Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying there’s merit to the criticism that Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony last week showed a “potential for political bias.” Seems like a Fair Assessment and an Understatement. But it ain’t likely to keep Mr. Hyde off the Court. Sad times.


This week’s wine tasting

Ottella Lugana Bianco ’15     Italy    $12
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.

Château Lamothe de Haux Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux ’14   France    $12
A fine wine, with wood and fruit both rich and concentrated, with notes of spice, juicy black fruits and ripe tannins. It is developing slowly and surely and will be ready to drink from 2019.

Zenato ‘Alanera’ Rosso Veronese ’13       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.

Betz La Cote Rousse Syrah ’10            Washington           $55
Black raspberry, flowers, minerals and spices on the nose; juicy on entry, then sinewy and penetrating, with obvious Red Mountain structure. Minerally, spicy, peppery finish with fine-grained tannins and lovely persistence.

Lovo Fior d’Arancio Sparkling Moscato ’17           Italy          $15
A very rare clone of Moscato with an unmistakable citrus scent from nearby orange groves for a sparkling wine with refined bubbles and beautiful, pearlescent color, a perfect aperitif with or without dessert!


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting aug 31- sep 2 ’18 labor day artists’ studio tour

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread Friday this week

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – Fresh milled buckwheat and bread flour. Buckwheat is a seed not a grain, closer in the plant family to rhubarb and sorrel than to wheat and contains no gluten. Buckwheat has an earthy flavor that in this bread is balanced with a little honey. Some toasted walnuts add a nice crunch. This bread goes well with meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

Poolish Ale – The poolish here is made with bread flour, a bit of yeast and a nice ale beer for the liquid, instead of water, and fermented overnight. Mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. This makes a great all around bread with a nice crisp crust – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

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


Studio Tour Hours This Weekend

OPEN Friday  4-7 

Bread pickup and wine tasting

OPEN Saturday (9/1) 1-6, and Sunday (9/2) 1-5

Artists Tour and wine tasting

Our visiting artist is Kim Obbink, showing her latest series of finely detailed drawings and paintings of island botanical and marine life subjects.

She has created multimedia images using mostly watercolor and colored pencils to capture not only the visual details of each subject but also to project its feeling and energy. And as she pointed out while hanging the show, like Audobon’s birds, their beauty is of their husks, the bodies they leave behind. Ah, we organic beings are so fleeting…!


Colli Euganei

(click for larger photo)

Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills) were formed from volcanic activity (and they look it) some fifty million years ago. They are just visible from Venice to their South, and have long drawn visitors with their picturesque beauty, hot springs, and calming energy. The poet Petrarch moved there around 1370, late in his  life, writing, “I have built me a house, small, but pleasant and decent, in the midst of slopes clothed with vines and olives,”—a house that may be seen there today in the village of Arquà Petrarca.

The Euganean hills also inspired Shelley’s Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills:

‘Mid the mountains Euganean I stood listening to the paean
With which the legion’d rooks did hail The sun’s uprise majestical…

The volcanic history also makes the soils here rich in minerals and trace elements not found in other Venetian subregions, making it attractive for growing Red Bordeaux varietals Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Today’s Rosso from Vignalta is a smooth and powerful blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon from the vineyards of Colli Euganei. Hopefully it will make us all wax poetic!



Vranec (pronounced ‘Vran-etz’), is Macedonian for “Black Stallion;” wines made with it are deep red, almost black, and imagined to manifest a stallion-like strength and vigor. Vranec can also means “raven-colored,” which is why the wine is known also as “black wine” in Macedonia. An ancient Balkan varietal, it represents the warmth and strength of the Macedonian people.

Vranec wines have an intense, dark red color and rich aromas of dark ripe fruits. The palate is full and balanced. When young, it shows a light purple color and aromas of strawberry jam and wild berries. With age, vranec develops darker color and complex aromas of wild berries, dried fruits, and chocolate, with rich tannins. It is usually blended with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or syrah to which it adds a bold intensity. This week we are pouring the Straight Stuff not blended with anything else. It’s easy to develop a fondness for these ancient varietals that have maintained their appeal over countless generations, literally a taste of the Past.


Mar a Lago Update: The Federalist Society and Class Warfare

For some reason over the last bunch of years, probably just not paying close enough attention, I have been laboring under the false assumption that the contemporary Federalist Society has something to do with the Federalist Papers of the 1780’s. So it is pretty surprising in one sense that closer examination suggests that they are to a large degree Philosophical Opposites. Doh!

The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five letters (essays, really) written to newspapers in the late 1780s to urge ratification of the U.S. Constitution by celebrated statesmen Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. The essays were published as a book, The Federalist, in 1788. Collectively they tried to make the case that conflicting goals and interests among individuals and states could best be reconciled through the representative nature of the proposed Republic and the checks and balances built into the new Constitution, which was specifically designed to upgrade the failing Articles of Confederation. While their impact on the eventual adoption of the Constitution was probably minimal, the papers served to outline for future generations the concerns of the time.

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy is something Entirely Different. It is essentially a Political Action Group that has distilled and bottled the legal philosophies of Antonin Scalia into a Code. Its guiding hand is Leonard Leo, a Conservative Catholic Deeply Opposed to a Woman’s Right to Choose, who has essentially dedicated his life to packing the Supreme Court with Justices supporting the paradoxically-named “Pro-Life” movement Dedicated to Bringing Every Conception, however destined for Pain and Suffering, into Whatever Precarious Existence. To a very large degree, this so-called “society” and its so-called “conservative views” are only the Latest Manifestation of the tendency of Human Societies to revert to its Default Organizational Setting: Feudalism.

By this we simply mean that whenever No One Is Looking, the latest group of Dominant Male(s) will Take Arms, Take Charge, enlist a bunch of Young Toughs by promising them Loot and Maybe Even Women, Kill everyone who resists, and dole out Subsistence Resources by whatever psychopathic rules seem appealing to the Leader. (see Venezuela).  Think of it this way: Feudalism is the political-organization equivalent of the Theme Song from M*SH…or as Bob Dylan put it: when you got Nothin’ you got Nothin’ to lose.

Bottom Line: under the auspices of Freedom, the goal of the Federalist Society is to pave the way toward the New Corporate Feudalism, under the Tacit Pact of “YOU make abortion illegal and WE will be your Unquestioning Serfs Forever.” After all: Corporations ARE more important than People!

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 4229 as of 8/1/18


This week’s wine tasting

Naia Naia  ’16    Spain     $12
100% Verdejo with 12% fermented in French oak. This fragrant, medium-bodied offering displays enticing aromatics of grapefruit, lime, and kiwi, a round, smooth-textured mouth-feel, and a crisp, refreshing acidity.

Saint Nabor Gris de Gris Rose ’16       France         $10
Bouquet of red fruit and honeysuckle with linden-tree nuances; light, crisp and easy drinking, with palate of wild strawberries and blueberries with mineral nuances.

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.

Jordanov Vranec ’15    Macedonia   $11
Displays ripe berry fruit and an exotic stream of baking spices like clove, nutmeg and cardamom on the nose. In the mouth it is full bodied with ripe dark fruit and hints of herbs with a noticeable dark chocolate edge on the well-structured finish. Enjoy with cheese, beef or lamb dishes or grilled sausages

Vignalta Colli Euganei Rosso Riserva ’09   Italy   $21
Merlot and cabernet sauvignon from volcanic hills north of Venice. Rosso Riserva is a true and delicious expression of its terroir, nice balancing of fruit and tannins, softened with two years of oak barrel aging.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting may 27-29 artists studio tour weekend

Friday Breads (contact us to get on the pre-order list!)

dscn1364 (Modified)Seeded Country Hearth – a nice rustic bread made with a blend of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and then loaded up with toasted hazelnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. A great flavorful artisan bread – $5/loaf.

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – yes another buckwheat bread. with a great earthiness from the buckwheat flour. This has a little less buckwheat than the last few breads I have done so it isn’t as dense, but it is still plenty flavorful. Toasted walnuts for texture and crunch and some honey for sweetness. A great bread for smoked salmon or cheese – $5/loaf.

Hamburger Buns – made with a blend of bread flour and freshly milled white whole wheat (so no one knows its in there), enriched with milk, butter and just a bit of sugar for a soft and flavorful bun, then topped with onions. These are always popular and I can only make a limited number so get your order in early – 4/$5.




Featured Artist

DSCN1495 (Modified (2))Our neighbor Anne Gibert is again our featured artist for Studio Tour. This show continues her ongoing theme of large canvases and bright light, this time focusing particularly on animals. Last year her showing of “Portraits of Lummi Island Women” drew lots of interest from the community. If the same logic applies, this year we should have visits from Island buffalo, cats, chickens, and foxes.

DSCN1494 (Modified) Also, please note that our usual Friday night Bread Madness will be expanded as an Opening Reception for the new show. Anne will be there to talk with you about the new work, and munchies will be provided in addition to the usual Friday Bread Tasting. Sorry, you still have to pay for your tasting…but since most of you who come on Fridays are Club Members anyway, it will still only cost you, you know…Chicken Feed!







Nana Bear and One Day Old Seriozha

baby bear day 2As we mentioned last week, we planned to be in Sonoma for the birth of our one and only grandson. As it turned out, we had quite an uneventful week except for a lot of pretty good food and wine and mostly very nice weather (except the first couple of days when it got into the 90’s…!). But it wasn’t until early Tuesday morning– the day of my flight home– that we were awakened about dawn with the Birth Alarm.

By 7am we had taken Mama Bear to the well-organized Santa Rosa Hospital for delivery. Not much happened before I had to catch the plane to Seattle in mid-afternoon, leaving Pat to play the Nana. Just about the time I got home to Lummi, Seriozha (aka Donald Sergei- — his father’s and maternal grandfather’s first names) had left the womb and is now Here In the World. Pretty Magical how suddenly there is another person in the room, beamed in from Nothingness. Hard to comprehend. Smart as we humans are, we still haven’t figured out how to make Life happen from Scratch. Nope, have to keep using the same old starter recipe from before our most distant ancestors were born.

We toast you, Seriozha— may you live long in a world of Joy, Beauty, Kindness, and Wisdom!


The Don and Bernie Show

Will it happen? Seems unlikely, doesn’t it? But it was a nice touch of the DT (we’re all getting a bad case of the DT’s about now…) to suggest that it be a fundraiser for a Worthy Cause, and it is really hard to picture what such a debate would look like. Astonishingly, the DT has won the Republican nomination without ever uttering a single Fact or Policy, only Slogans and Put-Downs. He has not demonstrated advocacy “for” anything outside his own Media Image, while at the same time he has shown that he is against  women, minorities, and Diplomacy As We Know It– all in the Vague Interest of “Making America Great Again.” Whatever that means.

The real question is what in the world  would a Debate between Trump and an Opponent Champion actually look like? He has become the Republican Nominee over a many-months-long competitive “debate” process with a host of competing candidates, a dozen and a half Angels dancing on the Head of some Virtual Pin, vying to make their so-called Issues Relevant. And somehow from that process Trump has emerged as the Hope of the Right-Wing Sneetches, despite the fact that No One Actually Believes that he has any of the skills actually necessary to, you know, Run the World.

For more on this idea, check out this interesting interview from NPR today, in which a demography scholar points out that only about ten percent of eligible voters participate in primaries, and only about 10% of those actually have factual, rational reasons for voting as they do. Mostly Americans don’t pay a lot of attention to elections; the Presidential election of 2008 elicited a voter turnout of 57% of the eligible voter base, the highest turnout since 1968. The argument is that people generally have a laundry list of issues they are at least somewhat interested in, but when they latch onto a candidate they don’t look deeply. Rather, they hear something they like about a candidate and then just assume that candidate shares all of their beliefs and goals.


This week’s wine tasting

Anne Amie Amrita White ’14    Oregon    $14
Palate-tickling blend of pinot blanc, viognier, and riesling; aromas of quince, Rainier cherry, and lemon; palate of strawberry, raspberry, and nectarine; good match for Asian spices.

Villa des Anges Rosé ’14   France    $10
Spicy and focused on the nose, showing fresh citrus and red berry and a hint of white pepper. Dry and nervy on the palate, with refreshing bitter cherry and berry skin flavors.

Borsao Garnacha ’13    Spain $9
Expressive aromas of blackberry, licorice and and fruitcake aromas; Juicy, spicy and supple, sweet, red and dark berry flavors; finishes fresh, focused and nicely persistent.

Septima Malbec ’13     Argentina   $9
Musky, ripe aromas of currants, leather, chocolate and espresso. Supple and generous flavors of  sweet currant and tobacco flavors with a note of pepper, soft tannins and good length.

Vignalta Colli Euganei Rosso Riserva ’09   Italy   $21
Merlot and cabernet sauvignon from volcanic hills north of Venice. Rosso Riserva is a true and delicious expression of its terroir, nice balancing of fruit and tannins, softened with two years of oak barrel aging.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting spring equinox ’15

(note: some photos may click open to larger versions)

Bread Friday  (sign up for


Pain Meunier:  (“Miller’s Bread”), includes all parts of the wheat kernel, bread flour, whole wheat flour, cracked whole wheat and wheat germ. A great all around bread. – $5/loaf.

Dried Cherry, Walnut & Buckwheat: Bread flour, buckwheat flour, and some whole wheat, packed with dried cherries and walnuts. – $5/loaf.

Chocolate Babkas: Yummy sweet rolls rich with eggs and butter, then rolled out and spread with chocolate before baking.  Limited supply, order early! – 2 for $5. .




cucugnanThis weekend we are pouring another wine from Corbières– a red from Cucugnan, from the same winery as last week’s delicious white. So it seems appropriate to explore the region a little further,  including of course the Cathars, who some people think were the first to bring Christianity to Europe in general, and to France in particular, as long ago as 50AD, pretty Early in the Christian Game.  Supposedly their beliefs and practices were based directly on the original teachings of the historical Jesus.

Interestingly, the Cathars believed that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married, and had come to Narbonne and Corbières while Mary Magdalene was pregnant with Jesus’ baby. No other Christian sects ever espoused this belief, which stemmed from historical accounts that their ancestors had actually met Mary Magdalene and Jesus, in this very region, back in the first century. Though the Cathars themselves didn’t appear in history until about 1000AD, they lived in Languedoc from the time of Jesus himself. Read more here.

Btw, Cucugnan was also the setting for a famous short story (Le Curé de Cucugnan) by the nineteenth century novelist Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897). The Priest has a dream in which he goes to Heaven and finds that “There are no more Cucugnanese here than there are fish-bones in a turkey.” Faced with Eternal Damnation, the Cucugnanese are supposedly compelled to clean up their act. Somehow that is harder to believe than that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were, you know, an Item…an idea that has a certain appeal, n’est-ce pas?


Raisin Taxes

The idea for this paragraph emerged from a light-hearted conversation on yesterday’s dog walk, when this little pun occurred to us: “raisin taxes.” You know, the Tea Party people and the Libertarians and the Republicans and Fox News and the Billionaires are always going on about, you know, “Raisin Taxes.” So we thought we should jump in with our own concerns that sure, today maybe they tax raisins, but hey, we have to be ever vigilant or else pretty soon they will start taxing not just Raisins, but All grapes, and OMD, that could be a Disaster for the entire Wine Industry! Something like that.

So I just searched on “Raisin Taxes,” and as usual Truth is far stranger that anything we can make up. Yes, we all sort of know that historically, agricultural production has been subject to cycles of boom and bust, and that bumper crops can have the paradoxical effect of ruining farmers because the huge supply pushes prices toward zero. So since the ‘thirties, the federal government has had programs in place to support all kinds of crop prices through various techniques to keep prices above some minimum floor.

Therefore it shouldn’t have been a surprise (but it was!) to learn that under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, the government continues to confiscate part of the annual national raisin crop to keep it off the market. A group called the Raisin Administrative Committee (I’m not making this up!) decides each year what portion of the raisin crop it must confiscate in order to keep the raisin market “orderly.” At present one of those raisin farmers (they’re almost all in California) has taken his case (he got into Trouble for not turning in his “excess” raisins for over ten years) to the Supreme Court. See more in this article in The Economist.


All Betz are off! 

We are continuing our plan to pour one of our library of Betz wines at each tasting for awhile, and offering compelling incentives for you to take some home; see recent blogs for details. This week we are pouring the 2012 Besoleil. All you need to know is that 2012 was a fantastic vintage for much of Washington State, and as a result this year’s Besoleil earned a score of 94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, its best score ever. I am a big fan of grenache, the dominant varietal in this blend, and have been a fan of this wine since it first appeared eight or nine years ago. Yes, it’s a little pricey, and yes, the pours will be smaller than usual.

But as always, of course, we will set up the pricing so the more you spend, the more you will be able to save!

See detailed tasting notes below.





 This week’s tasting

Chateau Lamothe de Haut Bordeaux Blanc  ’12   France     $14
Bright and engaging, with fresh grapefruit and Meyer lemon pulp notes backed by a flash of straw on the open-knit finish. Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.

Chateau Trillot Rouge ’12 France $16
Intense colour with deep purple highlights; Expressive nose exuding aromas of red fruit, redcurrant, blackcurrant and a hint of oak. Silky, well-structured tannins and great freshness.

Hightower Murray Syrah ’11 Washington $16
From legendary Red Mountain grapes; Ripe, rich and utterly enjoyable; lush red berry fruit followed by a complex, meaty mid-palate and a long finish.

Vignalta Colli Euganei Rosso Riserva ’09   Italy   $21
Merlot and cabernet sauvignon from volcanic hills north of Venice. Rosso Riserva is a true and delicious expression of its terroir and a nice balance of fruit and tannins, softened with two years of oak barrel aging.

Betz Besoleil ’12    Washington    94pts    $48
50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre aged all in neutral oak. Gorgeous on all accounts, with fantastic density and depth, richness, beautiful freshness and classic aromas and flavors of raspberry, black raspberry, pepper, herbs de Provence and flowers.


Wine Tasting