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lummi island wine tasting august 10 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread Friday this week

Cranberry Walnut – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled buckwheat and whole wheat flours. Orange juice and olive oil are a unique combination in this bread that add flavor and keep a soft crumb, then loaded up with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. Makes great toast- $5/loaf

Pain au Levain – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat and rye flours. After building the sourdough and mixing the final dough it gets a long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator. This really allows the flavor to develop in this bread. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

For pastry this week…
A baker’s choice surprise! Sometimes inspiration for pastry comes later in the week than the email. Be assured it will be delicious! $5

Montagne d’Alaric

We have spoken before of our attraction to the wines of Chateau La Baronne in the Corbieres region of France, which we visited several years ago on a whim, passing by and knowing nothing about it. We met Andre Lignères, second generation winemaker on the verge of retiring, who poured his wines for us. He talked of the attention they paid to site selection and triage of the grapes. They have been registered with Qualité France for organic viticulture since 2007.

La Baronne makes numerous wines from several properties in the Corbieres region, with its broad vistas, long slopes, and rocky canyons. High pinnacles with the ruins of Cathar castle refuges stand as lonely markers of an entire people exterminated over many decades by opportunistic Papists who probably saw them as economic opportunities more than religious or political threats. As the nastiest of these is often quoted as he ordered the execution of thousands of Cathars at Perpignan over the concerns of his officers about how to tell Cathars from Catholics, “Kill them all and let God sort it out.”

Now hundreds of years later, these lands produce lovely wines. Today’s wine from La Baronne is the 2012 Alaric, a blend of 60% Syrah with 20% each of Mourvèdre and Carignan from vineyards on Montagne d’Alaric, a limestone mass that creates its own microclimate by cooling the air and maintaining optimal acidity and balance in the grapes, grown between 270 – 300 m.  Alaric is aged in older neutral oak barrels to keep it unmarked by oak.

 

Looking for the New Normal

California Governor Jerry Brown has been widely quoted this week for declaring the Extraordinarily Devastating forest fires that have wrought Havoc on California (as well as Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and almost everywhere else in the West) over the last several years as “The New Normal,” speaking in particular of the high likelihood that the fires will continue as long is CO2 keeps increasing.

But as Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State pointed out after Brown’s statement, as long as we keep building up the stock of CO2 in the atmosphere by burning things to create energy, we will continue to see more and worse fires, floods, storms, droughts, habitat destruction, species extinctions, food shortages, killing heat waves…you know, pretty much Hell on Earth.

According to a recent report from the Dept. of Commerce, the annualized economic burden from wildfires
is estimated to be between $71.1 billion and $347.8 billion, including annualized costs from $7.6 billion to $62.8 billion, and annualized losses from $63.5 billion to $285.0 billion.And this is just the Beginning…they will continue to increase until many decades or even centuries even if we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution a mere century ago, the average global temperature has risen some 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Most climatologists agree that another mere 0.4 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature, representing a global average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) of 450 parts per million (ppm), could represent a Tipping Point of No Return. Continued below…

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Economics of Global Climate Disaster

The above Facts are agreed upon by some 97% of the World’s Scientists (including us), and every other country on the Planet but ours. Some while back we mentioned the alarming comment of environmental journalist David Suzuki at a public appearance here in Bellingham almost ten years ago when asked if we should be worried about Global Warming. His immediate response was, “You should be Shi#*ng Your Pants!,” which roughly translates into an old Zen line, “Awake, Awake, be Mindful in Practice…Time flies like an Arrow, It will Not Wait for you!”

Fast forward to Today, after we have all witnessed across the Globe many consecutive Years of increasing temperatures, worse and more frequent hurricanes, storms, floods, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, landslides, and heat waves, more and more species at the brink of extinction, increasing food and water scarcity at lower and mid-latitudes, and the expansion of resource-based conflict and upheaval. Yet despite this Overwhelming Evidence, Tweetster and  Company continue to recruit converts to their Baseless, Lemming-Leaning Mantra that Global Warming is a Vast Left-wing Conspiracy to take away people’s guns, give their jobs to illegal immigrants, and cripple the US economy with silly environmental regulations.

At some intellectual level we have all known for many years that Propaganda is an effective tool– an Art really– for convincing people that Lies are Truth. But we have tended to think of it as in some other Time and Place, nothing to do with Our Safe American Cocoon. Yet here we are today, with Neo-Nazis marching in our streets, middle-aged White Men wearing T-shirts proclaiming “I’d Rather be Russian Than Democrat,” and Supreme Court nominees who support the concept of the Unitary Executive. We see a wide swath of our population more than willing to surrender their autonomy to a Central Government Authority under the paradoxical auspices of protecting their Freedom from Liberals, Intellectuals, and Immigrants, all of whom seem to them More  Threatening than the Comforting Reassurance of Big Brother’s Fake News.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 4229 in 558 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s wine tasting

Disruption Chardonnay ’15   Washington   $13
Beckons with aromas flavors of apple, pear, and lemon; calcium-rich soil adds complex minerality, and eight months on the lees adds creamy texture and notes of brioche, balanced perfectly with a zing of acidity stitching it all together.

La Croix Belle Caringole Rosé ’14   France      $11
Syrah-Grenache blend; intense nose of rose petals and pear-drop candies; palate of alpine strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries, with a citrus accent on the crisp finish.

Popolo di Indie Rosso ’16      Italy   $14
55% Nebbiolo, 30% Barbera, 15% Dolcetto; the Barbera brings the acidity and bright fruit, the Nebbiolo brings the tannins and the aromatics, and the Dolcetto brings the softness and rounds out this harmonious blend.

Maryhill Winemaker’s Red ’11 Washington $11
Fruit-forward and smooth with hints of cherry, blueberry and red fruit. Off-dry with fruity notes on the palate accented by cherry and vanilla. Food-friendly and perfect for everyday enjoyment.

La Baronne Alaric ’12    France       $27
Made from 120 yr-old Carignan vines (1892); aromas of plum, pepper, toast and spicy oak; palate is smooth, complex, and long on the finish with cask aging of great class (12 months in Taransaud/Darnajou barrels). Organic culture. Ideal with rich meat dishes.

Wine Tasting
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lummi island wine tasting nov 18 ’16

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Friday Breads

20141024-122220.jpgSomething a bit different this week to help everyone get ready for Thanksgiving:

Dinner Rolls! 6 rolls per order, 2 each of three different recipes. Pick them up this Friday, throw in the freezer, straight into the oven frozen just before dinner and have delicious fresh rolls for Thanksgiving!

Septieme Rolls – Mostly bread flour and a bit of fresh milled whole wheat, mixed and fermented overnight in the refrigerator for a crusty outside with a soft, fragrant crumb on the inside.

Petite Polenta Boules Made with bread flour, polenta, milk and a bit of brown sugar for sweetness, then loaded up with pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch.

Cranberry Walnut Rolls – Similar flavors to the cranberry walnut bread from last week, but not quite as rich. Made with bread flour, milk, brown sugar and eggs. Then loaded up with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries.

Note no pastry this week.

“Silent One”

photo by Lori Shepler

I first met Leonard in September 1980. I had just spent the summer on a research fellowship at Battelle Labs in Richland, WA, assessing the possible economic impacts of human-caused Global Warming on world fisheries. Then I had ridden a motorcycle to Jemez Springs, NM for a week-long Zen retreat. I had been there several times before…something of a Spiritual Home.

I remember meeting other arrivals in the dining area, including a quiet man named Leonard. We shook hands and said hello. “So what do you do?”, I asked. “I write songs,” he said. “How wonderful,” I said, “Have you written anything I have heard of?” “I don’t know,” he said. “What have you heard of?” Jennifer, a Center resident who knew us both, overheard all of this and said, “Richard, why don’t you ask Leonard his last name?” Doh!

Any of us who practiced Zen with Joshu Sasaki Roshi, whether at Jemez, or Mt. Baldy ZC in the mountains above Clairmont, or at Cimarron ZC in LA, from the seventies until just a few years ago, sat beside, walked beside, ate beside, and worked beside Leonard Cohen. He once told me, with a hint of irony and wonder, that he was “the most popular male singer in Europe.” At the time he and I were building a rock retaining wall as Daily Work Practice, and had many good conversations. And, at the end of the day I think it was a Pretty Good Wall. Maybe it’s still there. I hope so.

In the mid-nineties Leonard took vows as a monk, and Roshi gave him the name Jikai, which means “Silent One.” He then spent five years at Mt. Baldy Zen Center, when Sasaki Roshi was around 100 years old, and confined to the LA center. Therefore for years Leonard and other students would drive down well before dawn from Mt. Baldy to Cimarron for morning zazen and sanzen with Roshi, before driving back. Hard practice, for sure.

So. I have great admiration for Jikai. I am grateful to have spent time with him. And I am continually inspired by his Practice, about which he once said, “It is a great luxury not to have to think about what you are doing next.” Please join me in placing our palms together and bowing in gassho to this dear man who has enriched all our lives.

see video clip

Thanksgiving Alert

Please note that the wine shop will NOT be open Thanksgiving weekend. Pat and I are off to Sonoma with pups and trailer for a Grandparently Holiday, while Most of You will also either be Away or Otherwise Engaged with family obligations of your own. We wish you all Good Cheer, Warm Hearths, and Warm Hearts, and look forward to seeing you Friday,. December 2!

 

 

 

 

 

Politics and Climate Change

Caught an interesting interview on the radio this morning with Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer for Mars, Inc., one one of the world’s largest manufacturers, in which he said ( I am so happy to say I Am Not Making This Up!), We’ve reached that tipping point where in many places renewable energy is more cost-effective than fossil fuels.”

This statement is then unpacked into the Astonishing Reality that this multinational company has built a solar power grid in Texas large enough that its entire US production is now totally Carbon-Free! As our GPS is fond of saying, and we are fond of hearing…: “You Have Arrived!” Btw, Mars is one of the 300-odd companies petitioning Pres Elect Jabba to Uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. The Very Welcome Illuminating Reality of this announcement is that Renewable Energy Resources are already Competitive with Fossil Fuels in many places. Therefore, sad to report, Jabba’s Dream of bringing back Coal and Oil is already Economically Infeasible. Coal is too Dirty; Oil is Too Expensive; and Gas is, well, Too Fracking Complicated!

If you think about it, None of this is Surprising. Resource economists (like yours truly!) have been cautioning for a Long Time (40+ years) that per-unit extraction costs for coal, oil, and gas will continually increase, particularly when you include “external” costs like air, water, and ground pollution.

 

This week’s Wine Tasting

Lumos Pinot Gris  Rudolfo Vineyard ’15      Oregon   $18
Clear light golden straw color. Lively and complex aromas of lemon, green apple, nectarine. A vibrant, dry yet-fruity body and a tingling, breezy, nicely balanced nut-skin finish.

Virginia Dare Pinot Noir ’14     California     $17
Uncomplicated but entirely engaging with notes of blackberry, ground black pepper, and black olives along with typical Russian River notes of strawberry and pit fruits. 

Castel de Remei “Gotim Bru”
Blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cab, Merlot, and Syrah; perfumed and pleasant, with ripe aromas of plums, raisins and prunes, some floral overtones and notes of spicy oak.

Joel Gott Cab-Merlot’14       California     $14
Beautiful notes of crème de cassis, vanilla and spice with a medium to full body, beautiful purity and texture. Satisfying and very easy to like.

 Robert Ramsay Le Mien ’12    Washington  $29 
Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise and Cinsault; rock-solid aromas and flavors of lavender, leafy herbs, flowers and assorted black fruits. Rounded and supple, with a fleshy mouthfeel, solid ripeness, and sweet tannins.

 

Wine Tasting
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Lummi Island Wine Tasting Valentine’s Day Weekend ’14

Yes! Valentine Truffles!

Logo_valentineYes, we have Truffles!

Fresh from the tempering machine, Pat’s latest batch includes three nuanced flavors, all enrobed in Valrhona 72% Dark Chocolate:

Classic: Dark French chocolate inside and out;

Cappucino: Milk chocolate/espresso ganache under dark French chocolate;

Cranberry: Cranberry-infused white chocolate ganache under dark French chocolate.

Please note: NO pre-orders this time– it’s first-come, first-served beginning Friday night. Truffles are $1 each; treat yourself and your sweetie!  Each order tidily bagged and tied, suitable for on the spot gratification or taking home as a Valentine treat! Repeat after me:  “YUM!”

 

Wine without a Home

The Universe is a mysterious place, but there is order to it. Summer comes, grapes ripen by themselves. Grapes are grapes; wine is wine. So at some level if it looks like wine, smells like wine, and tastes like wine, it is probably “wine.” So this weekend we are offering for your tasting pleasure a very modestly priced California zinfandel (see notes, below) that offers a ” deep red hue, rich nose of dark cherries and ripe plums with hints of spice and coffee, and a pleasing palate of blackberry and dark cherry.” And it’s really cheap: $6 a bottle!

Wines like this serve a market need. They are affordable, drinkable, and even enjoyable. They are generally the product of mega-wineries that have tons of juice left over after skimming off their stable of higher-end niche wines to a high standard which typifies their particular place of origin. The deselected juice is then blended and sold under a number of “branded” lower-end labels aimed at lower-priced markets. These wines by their nature have a bigger, County-wide or even California-wide “footprint.” They typify a marketing strategy more than they typify any particular place.

There is a kind of Darwinian market process going on here. The very best fruit finds it way to a small number of the best wines, and all the rest sorts itself out according to its market station. Modern winemaking technology makes all this plonk more or less palatable, and modern marketing gives us countless labels for basically the same wine. The big loss in all of this is that tasting them will not tell you a story about any particular place. So this is probably a good time to say that one basic characteristic of an “Artisan Wine” is that it has a story to tell about where it came from and who made it.

 

It’s the Carbon, Stupid!

Snow isn’t a big deal when you’re used to it. As a child in Maine in the 50’s (yes,  a long time ago!), snow was a familiar and enjoyable part of winter life. Our little residential street had a steep hill on one end, which was generally blocked off at the top for much of the winter, with little wooden barriers and the canteloupe-sized, black, round, flaming pots of oil that were used to mark road hazards in those days. You could pull your sled (they had a short line on the front) to the top of the hill, jump on (head first most of the time, with your hands on the steering bar), zoom down the hill, and coast about a block and a half! So snow can be fun, and if your community is capitalized for it, with plows and sanders and removal plans, it’s pretty easy to live with.

The trouble with Climate Change is that No One is Ready. Not humans, not animals, not plants, not anything that is place-habituated. Those polar bears can swim, but not, you know, 24/7. Those salmon can swim out in the Ocean for a few years and have a great time, but they expect streams and rivers still to be there when they come back to spawn. And those phytoplankton expect the basic salinity and acidity of the ocean to be more or less in the ball park of where it has been for hundreds of millions of years. All I want to say about that is that a few years ago David Suzuki gave a talk at the Mt Baker Theater over there on the mainland. After the talk someone asked if we should be concerned about climate change. He said, “you should be sh*#*ing your pants!”

About thirty years ago as a research fellow on the economic impacts of possible climate change I wrote a paper summarizing the then-current thinking and the likely effects on global fisheries. All you need to know is that the only mistake climate scientists have made is to underestimate the speed and magnitude of the changes. The big takeaway here is that the biosphere is a razor-thin veneer well-adapted to gradual change but utterly incapable of dealing with rapid change. Imagine Winston-Salem with no snowplows, but it just keeps on snowing and snowing and snowing…

 

This week’s tasting notes

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes ’12 Argentina $14
Highly perfumed aromas of lemon drop, white flowers, peppermint and white pepper. Supple, pliant and easygoing, with citrus, herbal and floral flavors joined by a hint of licorice. Argentine winemaker Susana Balbo, “Queen of Torrontes” strives for balance in her wines, with layers of complexity coming from the individually fermented varietals. She spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers. Her wines are seamless and well structured often showing the faint earthiness which is a hallmark of the Mendoza region

Ravenswood ‘Zen of Zin’ Zinfandel ’12    California         $6
Deep red hue, rich nose of dark cherries and ripe plums with hints of spice and coffee, and a palate of blackberry and dark cherry. Ravenswood makes about 200,000 cases of wine a year from a broad collection of vineyards in Sonoma County, which generally experience hot days and cool nights, but with a wide array of soil types, temperature variation, elevation, and sun exposure.

Buglioni Valpolicella Classico ’10 Italy $12
Refined, feminine personality. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices linger on the high-toned, refreshing finish. read more about the winemaker

Townshend Red Table     Washington     $12
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah blend; aromas of black cherry, blackberry, strawberry, cedar and a hint of orange zest fill your senses with lingering pepper & tobacco notes. Spokane’s Townshend Winery gets the majority of its grapes come from the Prosser, Yakima and Tri-Cities, especially Willard Farms in Prosser.

Finca Allende Rioja ’06 Spain $21
Ripe, powerful scents of roasted cherry, plum, dark chocolate, and smoky herbs. Port-like on the palate, with deeply concentrated dark fruit compote, espresso, and bitter chocolate flavors, finishing with a rich wallop of ripe plum and impressive length. Read more about the winery

 

 

 

Wine Tasting
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Lummi Island Wine Tasting May 14 ’11

Wine Classes beginning next Sunday!
Beginning May 22, we will be collaborating with sommelier (and new Island resident) Ryan Wildstar, who will present a series of four wine-tasting classes every other week beginning Sunday afternoon, May 22, from 2-4. The first workshop will be:

Introduction to Wine: The Five S’s of Wine Tasting   Sunday, May 22nd, 2-4pm $20
We will discuss the principles of wine history and culture with a focus on the basic principles of wine tasting and analysis. An introduction to wine terminology, wine-pairing, and how to buy great inexpensive wine based on reading the label and knowing the region. Enjoyed with: 1 Sparkling Wine, 2 White Wines, 3 Red Wines. Paired with Artisan Cheeses and Charcuterie. (That’s six wines, tasty bites, good company, and wine education, all for 20 bucks! We must be crazy!). Please call 360.758.2959 to reserve your place–space is limited!

Ryan will also be our featured artist for the artists’ studio tour on Memorial Day weekend…he does constructions with found objects that I think you will find interesting. That also means you only have two more weekends to come by and see Mary Beth’s photos of “French Doors.” And no, in this case they are not “French doors”as in the movies or how you get from the living room to the garden. No, they are actual doors in Lyon, chosen for their character. All YOU need to know is that all of them had more character a hundred years ago than probably any door you (any of us) has ever used regularly in this country since then.

Which is interesting, because there is an important lesson in this, about who we are, what we value, and in some sense the shallowness of our national roots. And lately I have had the impression that there are huge corporate interests working diligently at keeping our roots shallow, keeping us, like some kind of cultural tumbleweeds, today grasping at this idea, tomorrow at that new product. Why build a door that will last for hundreds of years when you can deliberately build doors (any everything else) so poorly that they will either fall apart or bore you into replacing it as often as possible so they can keep selling you new ones and landfilling the old ones. So yes, try to come in this weekend or next to see the “door show.” Hopefully we will put it up again during the summer.

We recently spent a few days in Oregon, and visited one of our favorite wineries, Anne Amie. The first wine we tasted is the first one on this weekend’s list, a lovely white blend of Chardonnay 32%, Viogner 38%,
Pinot Blanc 29%, and a hint of Riesling 1%. Trust me, folks, it’s a knockout, and I wasn’t able to get much. So some early this weekend, or it will certainly be gone!

“you won’t believe this, but I manage all of Alaska’s fisheries from right here on Lummi Island!”

This week’s wines:

Anne Amie Amrita white blend  ’10 Oregon     $13
Sense-filling aromas of quince, grassy, passion fruit, gooseberry, and white flowers leads to rich flavors of kiwi, white peach, coriander, and key lime that taper into a dry, minerally finish. Pair with oysters, shellfish, Thai food, crab cakes; delicious, but don’t wait– VERY limited supply!

Venta Morales tempranillo ’09          Spain            $8
100% Tempranillo raised in stainless steel. Deep crimson-colored, it emits aromas of spice box and fragrant black cherry. On the palate licorice and other black fruits emerge leading to a finish with no hard edges.

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec 09 Argentina $10 WA88pts
This fleshy, round red offers spicy black cherry, cocoa, plum and raspberry notes laced with a modest touch of roasted vanilla and balanced, long, ripe tannins; a solid crowd-pleaser.

Isenhower Purple Paintbrush ’08      Washington         $25
A blend from a long-time favorite Walla Walla winemaker, Brett Isenhower, made up of 62% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, each varietal from a single vineyard. It was aged in seasoned French oak for 13 months. Medium ruby-colored, it proffers a nose of sage, thyme, olives, crushed blackberries, bing cherries, black plums, and black currant.

Wine Tasting