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lummi island wine tasting nov 18 ’16

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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

lummi island wine tasting nov 30 ’18

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Bread This Week

Whole Wheat Levain – Made with a sourdough starter fermented overnight in the refrigerator, which  allows the fermentation process to start and the gluten to start developing. The bread is made with levain, bread flour, and about 25% fresh milled whole wheat. I like to say it has a ‘toothy’ crumb, it has great texture and flavor and a nice crisp crust.  – $5/loaf

Buckwheat Rye – Fresh milled buckwheat and rye flours are soaked for 8 hours 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

Pastry this week…

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

ps: the last two times Janice has made these, real, live, Actual Bears have been sighted on the Island…Stay Alert!


December  Schedule

Nov 30-Dec 1 and Dec 7-8: open both weekends for Bread Fridays 4-7 and Saturdays 2-6


Dec 21-22 and 28-29: open usual hours

and…mark your calendarsDec 31: 13th Annual “East Coast New Year’s Celebration” 7-9pm..!


Refosco Update

As we have mentioned before, from our earliest days back in 2005 we have kept an eye to Weather for signs of wines made from the elusive Slovenian grape refosco. This year so far we have found and poured for your tasting education and pleasure (is there a difference…?) two examples of these wines, and this weekend, since the previous examples were so interesting and appealing, we offer a third. This week’s offering comes not from Slovenia exactly, but from the the Colli Orientali de Friuli “the eastern hills of Friuli”) in Italy just a short walk over the northern border with Slovenia and about 60 miles north of Venice.

Officially named Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, this wine comes from 25-year old vines in Torreano di Cividale (see photo, left). It shows an intense red color and good consistency, with aromas of  blueberry, blackberry and raspberry, good balance. and characteristic tannins that let it pair nicely with rich beef or game.

Lore has it that the first vines were planted by a Roman Centurion named Taurus for whom Torreano is named. Today’s wine reflects that commitment of focusing time and energy to grow rich and generous grapes, hand-harvested with low yields per hectare.


Mar a Lago Update: Two Years Down, a Million to Go*

Everybody knows that the man’s a Faker,
Everybody knows that his stuff is Wrong;
Everybody knows that he’s a Taker,
Everybody knows that he’s weak, Not strong.

Everybody knows that he stole our Power,
And he’s not inclined to give it back,
That’s how it goes…
And Everybody knows.

Everybody knows that the World is Broken,
Everybody knows that it Can’t be Fixed;
Everybody knows Whatever Words are Spoken,
Everybody knows that they’re being Tricked;

Everybody knows that the Game is Lost,
We never had a chance though we thought we might,
That’s how it goes…
And Everybody knows.

*with heartfelt apology to Jikai for twisting his words…

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 6,420 as of 11/2/18


This week’s wine tasting

Treana White ’16    California     $16
Seductive blend of viognier, marsanne, and roussanne. Aromas and flavors of pineapple, dried apricot, peach and Clementine orange  with floral notes of honeysuckle and elder flower and sweet notes of marzipan, honey, graham cracker and cinnamon.

Bieler La Jassine Cote du Rhone ’15   France $15
(63% grenache, 37% syrah) Solid, with plum and blackberry compote flavors forming the core, backed by a good snap of licorice and a dose of dark toast on the finish. Has good drive overall.

Bodegas Ateca Atteca ’15     Spain    $14  
Displays aromas of cedar, an earthy minerality, black cherry, and lavender leading to a savory, deep, well-balanced red with succulent fruit and a lengthy, seamless finish.

Tommasi Poggio Al Tufo Rompicollo ’14      Italy    $17
pulent, with an Amarone-like raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice, and herb aromas and flavors. Velvety, opulent, well balanced and smooth, with long, lush, smooth tannins. Terrific buy!

Guerra Albano Refosco ’15 Italy $20
Smooth and complex, with hints of blueberry, vanilla, coffee, a good balance of tannins, a long finish, and rich, big flavors.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting july 6 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Polenta Levain – Made with a levain preferment, then mixed with bread flour and
polenta in the final dough mix for a nice rustic loaf with great corn flavor. – $5/loaf

Pan de Cioccolate – A delicious chocolate artisan bread. Made with
a levain preferment for a rich chocolate bread made with bread flour and fresh milled rye
flour, honey, vanilla and dark chocolate.  – $5/loaf.

And our pastry this week…

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with lots of butter, eggs and
sugar and rolled out with pastry cream and dark chocolate. The dough is folded over all that delicious filling and cut into
individual pieces. 2/$5


Barred Owl

Owls being what they are– nocturnal, silent hunters who keep to themselves– encountering one is always a little Magical. So it was last week when we were on a usual neighborhood dog walk. As we rounded a curve on our own road we spotted a strange silhouette on a low branch quite close to the road. We slowed our pace to find a backside view of some kind of Owl (!), and then slowed even more, already awed by the rare daylight sighting.

As we came alongside it was clear the bird was sleeping, with its head turned to the side and eyes closed. However, as we stared it moved its head to the front and opened its eyes directly at us…OMD! But it didn’t fly away, it just held its pose, in a way that we could imagine was saying something Shaming and Wise, subtly accusing us of various levels of Karmic Intrusion. Let’s face it, these birds have an Archetypal Mystery, Power, and Dignity, and every rare encounter has a Strange Magic, leaving us with a feeling of How Wonderful That Such Creatures Exist!





Alsace Pinot Gris

A couple of weeks ago Judy dropped by with her Giant Wine Bag and poured us some Samples. The first wine was an Alsation pinot gris at just the right temperature and just the right amount of aeration. We have all learned over the years that Wine Moments Happen at random…for some reason you go somewhere, you have some wine, and for Whatever Reason it Resonates in the Moment.

So it was with this Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris. We tasted though the other samples but kept sneaking back to this one, marvelling at how great it tasted. So of course we ordered some and are pouring it for you this weekend. Alsace you may recall is a wine region of northeastern France bordering on Germany, which over the centuries has been variously part of France or part of Germany to the point where it should probably become its own country.

The wine is a bit off-day, with great compensating acidity, flavor profile, and texture, a Genuine Treat for the senses. But don’t take our word for it…come by this weekend and see for yourself!


Mar a Lago Update: The Crossroad to the Future

In the Great Epic War between Good and Evil there have been many Battles. So far none has been Decisive. But in the past week it’s all gone Up for Grabs, and yes, we Are talking about the Supreme Court, the Referees, the Rule-makers.

On the one hand it is Peculiar to find oneself lamenting the loss of Justice Kennedy, who voted with the Conservative (…um, What exactly are they trying to Conserve…?) Side of the Bench on many cases which have Broken Our Hearts, e.g. Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, while also occasionally siding with the liberal side of the Bench particularly on issues regarding marriage rights and gender identity.

On the other hand it is Heartbreaking to consider the Strong Likelihood that for the next thirty years or so the Court might be Stacked to the Corporate Will, eliminating environmental safeguards, consumer protections, gerrymandering excesses, women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, and the sanctity of “one person, one vote,” in favor of “one dollar, one vote.” The underlying feelings are of Rome Burning while Nero Fiddled,  the  Titanic sinking while the Band Played On,  and an Illegitimate so-called President who begins every day with “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…”

Bottom line: it’s the Not OK Corral, and Everything is At Stake.


This week’s wine tasting

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris ’16     Alsace     $21
Nose shows archetypal Alsatian limestone influence, with nice nutty, toasty and minerally hints. The palate is powerful and dense as aeration brings out some honey and ripe fruits with a velvety.

Teutonic Pinot Noir Rosé ’15    Oregon     $19
An elegant rosé that’s low in alcohol, showing  notes of dark plum, pink apples, and cassis. Voluptuous and succulent with fresh strawberry notes, good minerality, and zesty acidity.

Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo ’15   Washington   $21
Opens with aromas of red fruit, cherry, plum and spice notes. This sleek and silky Tempranillo unfolds into flavors of black currant, mocha, French vanilla with a lush and velvety tannin.

Lagone Aia Vecchio ’15       Italy    $14
“Super-Tuscan”blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv, and Cab Franc. Rich and expressive, with aromas of cherry, vanilla, raw beef, and herbs; structured palate of plum, wild berries, and hints of spice, with a long finish that begs for food.

Latta GSM ’13    Washington     $28
58% Grenache, 23% Syrah and 19% Mourvèdre ; mesmerizing aromas of kirsch, white pepper, boysenberry, black plum and raspberry with a hint of barrel spice, depth, and  texture, with lingering coffee notes  on the finish. a stunning wine, especially at this price.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting april 28 ’17

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Bread this week

20141024-122220.jpgCinnamon Raisin – Not the soft type of cinnamon raisin with a swirl of cinnamon sugar. This is a rustic version that is made with bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rolled oats. Some milk to tenderize the crumb, honey for sweetness and cinnamon mixed throughout before being loaded up with raisins. Makes delicious toast -$5/loaf

Braided Challah – a delightful soft loaf made with bread flour, lots of eggs, some sugar and vegetable oil. No butter or milk. Also makes great toast and even better french toast- $5/loaf

And for pastry…

Chocolate Babka Rolls a rich sweet dough made with plenty of eggs, butter and sugar, rolled out and filled with dark chocolate and even more butter and sugar. Sliced into individual rolls before baking. Elizabeth K. has
been waiting for over 2 months for these so get your orders in before she does! – 2/$5

Cloudlift Returns

Our regulars know we have a particular fondness for the lovely wines from Cloudlift Cellars in Seattle. I dropped in on our friend and Cloudlift winemaker Tom Stangeland a couple of weeks ago and brought home a number of new releases that we will be pouring one by one over the next several weeks. Last time we did this the Hit of the Show was Tom’s “Ascent,” mostly cab franc from Horse Heaven Hills.

A 2013 vintage has been released, but since there is still some of the ’12, I thought we all deserved another taste of an old favorite, even better after another couple of years in bottle!

Cab Franc is the fourth most-produced red wine grape in Washington, behind Cab, Merlot and Syrah. Most often, as elsewhere in the world, it is primarily used as a blending grape in wines where cab sauv and/or merlot dominate. In our Fair State, cab franc often has softer tannins than cab sauv or merlot, and brings notes of garrigue and black pepper along with hints of chocolate and coffee…yes, indeed, very easy to like!


dscn1792 (Modified)Ulee is now 4 months old, and weighs in at 21 lbs. The Puppy Growth Chart projects he will therefore level off between 30 and 35 lbs, about the same weight as Tator. However, like other “mini” Aussies (including our dear boy Cooper) Ulee conforms proportionally to the AKC standards for the breed, which are heavier than the ASCA dogs, which are bred longer, lighter, and more maneuverable for the agility that herding dogs require.

After a month of studiously avoiding Ulee, in the last week Tator has been spending a lot of time with him, trying to teach him the Rules Around Here. She is very patient, and seems to have no trouble with issuing the same correction over and over, maybe amping it up a little each time, but always very measured. It’s an interesting model to observe; any time he crosses some “line” she issues a corrective bark, growl, nip, or takedown, and then backs off and waits to see what he has learned. She seems infinitely patient with the process, and they seem to be developing quite a Bond. Absolutely fascinating to watch!

Back Porch Robins

dscn1799 (Modified)A few weeks ago we noticed a bird’s nest just outside our back door, on a beam up under the roof that covers the back deck. A few days later through the bathroom window we saw a robin sitting in the nest, as if incubating eggs. We also noticed that if we or one of the dogs went onto the back deck, the robin would quickly, smoothly, and silently drop off the back of the beam and fly away with distracting calls. Then, over the next ten to twenty minutes she would follow a circuitous path around the back yard, pausing to watch at a number of different spots before very indirectly going back to the nest.

Two days ago we looked up and saw Momma Robin dropping food into two gaping beaks, and yesterday I got this photo of Momma and one chick. A Definite Sweet Sign of Spring, now showing at a Nest near you!

Relaxing at Mar a Lago

There is a contemporary Myth that for many decades the Outgoing President leaves Three Envelopes for the Incoming President, with the following Instructions:

“During your time in office you will face Three Crises. When the first crisis happens, open the First Envelope. When the Second Crisis happens, open the Second Envelope, and when the Third Crisis happens, open the Third Envelope. These guidelines represent the cumulative Wisdom of all who have held this office.”

Eventually each President feels compelled to turn to the envelopes. The first one says, “Blame Me.” The second one says, “Blame Congress.” The third one says, “Prepare Three Envelopes.”

Judging from recent news blaming Obama and the Democrats for Everything the Republicans can’t seem to get done despite their control of every single branch of the Government, it would seem that on Day 100 the First Envelope has been Opened. Make a note of it, and Stay Tuned…


This week’s  wine tasting

Aravo albarino ’13 Spain  $14
A one-of-a-kind, lush, medium-bodied Albariño that fills the mouth with apples, lime, peaches, flowers and grass, with bracing acidity and cleansing minerality.

Saint Nabor Gris de Gris Rose ’12       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.

Flaugerges Les Comptes Rouge ’12    France   $13
Grenache blend; Garnet red, with slightly spicy aromas and flavors of olives, herbs, blackcurrant, cherries,  and raspberries.

Esplugen Priorat ’14   Spain       $17
Garnacha, carinyena, cab sauv; Priorat’s famous slate soil and arid climate give this wine great intensity and structure, with deep and complex aromas of rich ripe fruit and toast notes, and a long pleasing finish .

Cloudlift Ascent ’12    Washington  $27
80% cab franc, 18% merlot, 2% petit verdot; aromas of black cherry, dark strawberry, sweet herbs and notes of minerality; light and silky mouthfeel with flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder and crushed herbs  with bright acidity and hints of toasted almond on the finish.


Wine Tasting