lummi island wine tasting july 20 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Honey, Wheat, Lemon & Poppy Seeds – Made with a very active poolish pre-ferment using some of the flour, yeast and water, but none of the salt, overnight and mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Some honey, poppy seeds and freshly grated lemon peel round out the flavors- $5/loaf.

Prairie Bread – Named for the ingredients that reflect all the goodness of the grains that grow on the prairie. Using regular bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat as well as oats, and cornmeal, plus poppy, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with just a hint of brown sugar- $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche Tarts au Sucre – otherwise known as brioche sugar tarts. A rich brioche dough full of eggs and butter is rolled into a round tart and topped with more eggs, cream, butter and sugar- 2/$5

 

Refosco

We opened the wine shop in May, 2005, with only a vague idea of what we were trying to do. Now thirteen years later, we still have only a vague idea of what we are trying to do, but realize it doesn’t matter very much, because the whole process just unfolds by itself…!

Sometime that first summer in 2005 a young man came by for wine and conversation (our stock in trade) and asked if we had any Refosco, wherein ensued a lengthy conversation about his favorite wine, a Slovenian varietal of the same name. He returned a year or two later for another visit, during which he continued to extol the virtues of this obscure varietal, inspiring in us a curiosity and a vague sense of Duty to track down this Mythical Varietal and pour it for our Faithful.

Fast forward to last week when after several months of ineffectual communication, we managed to connect with a boutique importer specializing in organic and biodynamic wineries for a wine tasting, which included what may be Slovenia’s best example of its elusive refosco grape. It comes from winemaker Uroš Rojac, who has long been committed to producing organic/biodynamic wines, bottling when the moon is new, adding only as much sulfur as necessary to protect the wine, and using only native yeasts to initiate spontaneous fermentation.

We are pleased to report that after all these years since a customer’s original request, this weekend we will finally be pouring for your Education and Pleasure a Slovenian Refosk that is rustic, compelling, and rare. It finishes with notes of sappy, herb-inflected dark cherry and blackberry fruit complemented by hints of leather, smoke, and pipe tobacco. Stock up now and enjoy over the coming five years with hearty stews, lamb shanks, rich bean casseroles, and marinated Portobello mushrooms!

 

Sharecropping

There are lots of ways for Capital and Labor to coordinate: Slavery, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, among others. As in any coordinating agreement, there is a negotiation for Power. Capitalism in practice has been an ongoing Contest to allocate relative returns to Capital and to Labor. All you need to know is that since 1980 the real value of the share going to Labor has remained constant while the real value of the share going to Capital has increased exponentially.

At various times in Human History (our source for both Tragedy and Comedy), the ongoing battle over Shares of the Pie among workers, owners of land, natural resources, and machines has created circumstances for innovation, ingenuity, and compromise. One of this week’s wines is called “Sharecropper,” in acknowledgment of one of the particular compromises once made between owners of land and workers, under which growers contracted to deliver their crops to a particular Buyer, rendering them Interdependent, so that the better either one does, the better they both do. These days this is a relatively  common arrangement between wineries and vignerons in many parts of Europe.

Friends of the wine shop know that we have a long-standing Issue that Oregon pinot noirs are Overpriced, and therefore we are always looking for examples that deliver Good Value. We recently met the founder of Owen Roe, which begat Sharecropper, which now has its own label, and will soon offer examples of his newer wines (Lady Hill). In the meantime, this weekend we offer, untasted and sheerly by reputation (always Dangerous) we offer for your Pleasure the latest vintage of Owen Roe Sharecropper Pinot Noir.

 

Mar a Lago Update: A Bridge Too Far

Wow. It’s been a Big Week for the Tweetster. And for All the Rest of Us. Wow…like, did All of This Really Happen???  We seem to have arrived at a point in our Collective Cognition at which our Tiny Brains refuse to accept  More Nonsense, and where we have no better choice than to throw up our Tiny, Ineffectual Hands in Consternation and Disbelief while looking for a Viable Exit.

This is the point in the Dream where we expect to Wake Up, but instead we just see more and more Dots Connect. OMD, we Realize, the Russians have not only put the Tweetster in Charge of America; they have also broken up the EU with Brexit, sown Populist Dragon’s Teeth to disrupt even the most Remote local elections across the Globe, and look forward with Glee to the Collapse of NATO, the EU, and Global Free Trade. As when seeing for the first time the Alien juvenile bursting forth from a human body, we are both Horrified and Frozen with Existential Horror. Really? Has it all come down to this?

We find ourselves at a critical Inflection Point. Mathematically this occurs when a curve changes from increasing at an increasing rate to increasing at a decreasing rate. It marks a first detectable change in Trend, a Small Sign of Hope in a Dark Hour, inspiring us as In the immortal words of Captain James Lawrence as he lay dying aboard the USS Chesapeake, “Fight her Till she Sinks and Don’t Give Up the Ship!” Or, more or less along the same lines, Obiwan Kenobi saying “Use the Force, Luke!”

However we phrase it, our Path is Clear; we are at War, and Everything We Hold Dear is Suddenly at Stake.

 

This week’s wine ta sting

Popolo di Indie Bianco ’16 Italy $13
100% Cortese; aromas of white fruits blended with sweet citrus and a hint of tropical fruit. These fruits appear delicately on the palate, intertwining with fine acidity and a touch of mineral flavor. The finish is long, yet soft.

Campuget Tradition Rose ’17   France     $11
Pale brilliant pink. Nervy, mineral-tinged aromas of orange zest and strawberry; Silky and light on its feet, offering zesty, light-bodied red berry and blood orange flavors and a bracing touch of bitter quinine.

Sharecropper’s Pinot Noir ’16     Oregon   $15
Aromas of bing cherry, rose petals and pomegranate with hints of baking spice and forest floor, and flavors of cherry, and olive with toasty cinnamon notes.

Dom. Belair Moulin a Vent Beaujolais ’15   France   $19
Perfumed and rich in tannins and generous, ripe black fruits. Aged nine months in wood, it shows hints of caramel and spice that adds extra dimension. It is juicy, ripe and needs to age further.

Rojak Refosk ’15   Slovenia    $16
Opaque black-plum hue with classic Refosco aromas of wild blackberries, elderberries, cured meats, bitter medicinal herbs, and piquant soil. Wild and rustic on the palate, with big layers of blackberry, huckleberry, violets, star anise, and white pepper.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting jul 14 ’18 Bastille Day

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Bread Friday this week

French Country Bread – A levain bread made with mostly bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and and a bit of toasted wheat germ. After building the levain with a sourdough culture and mixing the final dough it gets a long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator to develop a great rustic country loaf. – $5/loaf

Brioche Loaves – Loaded with eggs and butter, a little milk and some sugar for a tender crumb and luscious flavor. Fermented in the refrigerator overnight, then formed into loaves and put into loaf pans for baking. Makes great toast and even better French Toast – $5/loaf

…and for pastry this week, continuing our French theme

Kouign Aman: As with croissants, has both a little levain for the sourdough flavor as well as some pre-fermented dough to help build strength. When rolling out however, instead of using flour to prevent sticking, sugar is used. The dough is cut into squares and baked in cupcake tins where all that sugar and butter caramelizes and makes for delicious, crunchy, delightful pastry.  – 2/$5

 

 This Weekend

Lots going on! We are in Oregon with our trailer on grandparently duty. Simple thing, right? But then there are always those little things that our Imaginations don’t always consider as Worth Worrying About.

Like, okay, just because you usually hit the road in your trailer in the colder months, when there is never a shortage of sites, doesn’t mean you should take for granted that it will be the same in the summer, when every family in America is On The Road.

Or, just because for 99.999% of our experience, Interstate Highways, particularly though high-volume areas like Seattle, are open as best they can to deal with more traffic than design specs doesn’t mean that at random several miles of your route can’t be taken Offline for Maintenance for several days.

Or, just because the many times you have stayed at the local Fairgrounds RV park have somehow unconsciously assured you that it will be available 24/365 doesn’t mean that it doesn’t Close Completely for a month in the summer because it is, after all, a Fairground with Camping, not a campground with the Occasional Fair.

Sometimes Common Sense is a bit Elusive.

 

Mar a Lago Update: Interdependence or Autocracy?

In a recent Salon interview, author and career intelligence operative Malcolm Vance provided an array of insights on the Tweetster’s Mad Experiment in Government and his Apparent Goal of making Vladimir Putin the Happiest Man in the World. Not only has be been actively undermining NATO since he stole office, he has successfully enlisted the active cooperation and support of Congressional Republicans, who have abandoned Principle after Sacred Principle to Stay in his Favor…like keeping Russia at Heel with a strong NATO alliance and supporting “Free Trade” around the world (well, the Megacorporate version, anyway).

In Today’s World, due in no small measure to concerted Russian cyberattacks, we have seen a proliferation of Autocratic candidates vie for leadership in both Eastern and Western Europe, with varying degrees of success. They share a Narrow View of the World which aggrandizes this or that Ethnic Superiority as the Good Old Days, or as the Tweetster is fond of saying, “Make America Grate  Again,” which many of us have been doing for the past couple of years.

Despite the Steady Forty Percent of bigots, shallow thinkers, religious fanatics, gazillionaire capitalists, uneducated white males, women married to uneducated white males, stoners, latent racists, people who have to blame Someone, and of course habitual and unquestioning Republicans (but we may repeat ourselves), our only hope is that within the ranks of sensible and thoughtful Republicans (if there are any) we will find Allies who recognize the Mortal (and Permanent) Danger the Tweetster represents to Our Country’s future.

From this point in time, the Future is likely to unfold in one of two directions, each of which, as we have noted before, is Dystopian to one side and Utopian to the other, which seems True but is Really Hard to Get Your Head Around: toward Ethnic Insularity or Global Interdependence. At the moment the Tweetster is bound hell for leather toward the autocratic, fundamentalist, racist, Lowest Denominator of Human Traits, and he’ll take democracy with him if we don’t find a way to Stop Him.

 

This week’s wine ta sting

Martorana Insolia ’17    Italy    $17
Straw-yellow with hints of green; aromas of flowers and tropical fruits, and flavors featuring citrus, nuts and herbs, a soft acidity, finesse and elegance.

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!

Bodegas Ayuso Estola Reserva ’15    Spain   $10
Tempranillo/ cab sauv blend; Warm aromas of spices and ripe fruit; wide and round palate, easy drinking, great buy!

Clos St. George Chevaliere ’08    France    $14
Dark and rich, with notes of cherry, plum, and fig with a hint of spice; complex and round, and  full bodied on the palate with fully developed tannins; a great value red.

JM Cellars Bramble Bump Red  ’15    Washington    $25
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 13% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, made to enjoy now. Big and powerful with strong tight blue and black berry fruits.

 

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 june 29 ’18

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Bread Friday this week

Kamut Levain – Kamut, aka khorasan wheat, is an ancient grain that has more protein than conventional wheat. Some people who can’t tolerate wheat find kamut to be more digestible. This bread is made with a levain fermented overnight before being mixed with with bread flour and fresh milled whole kamut. It has a nutty, rich flavor and makes a golden color loaf. – $5/loaf

Barley & Rye w/ Pumpkin Seeds – Also made with an overnight fermented levain before the final dough is mixed with a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled rye, barley and whole wheat flours. Some buttermilk makes for a tender crumb, honey for sweetness and toasted pumpkin seeds add to the flavor and texture. A really flavorful artisan loaf – $5/loaf

and pastry this week …

Traditional Croissants – Made with a levain and “old dough” where a portion of the flour, water, salt and yeast is fermented overnight. The final dough is then made with butter, milk and sugar, laminated with more butter before being cut and shaped into traditional french croissants… some say these are the best ever!  2/$5

bard owl https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/species/graphics/owl_3.jpg

 

Rkaciteli

We have just received our semi-annual wine shipment of Italian wines from our friends at Seattle Importer Small Vineyards. So naturally we will be featuring a number of familiar Italian wines in the next few weeks. In recent years SV has also been branching out to bring in wines from “near” Italy, including Slovenia, Macedonia, and Croatia. New to us this time is an old Macedonian white grape varietal named Rkaciteli (“ree-kaht-see-TELL-ee.” ), which dates back nearly five thousand years to around 2800 B.C., Very Early in the Wine Game! No wonder Macedonia claims to have invented wine!

Its unique flavor profile is brisk, floral and invigorating, with a salt-tinged lemon zing,  hints of spicy apricot, orange zest, honeysuckle, red apple, a hint of a sherry, and tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and papaya. Wherever you are it can transport you to the Mediterranean, imagining the warm sun on your back and a cooling sea breeze in your face. At the same time its thick skin has helped it thrive in colder climates, where it delivers an opulent texture with bright acidity, a winning combination in any wine!

 

Salmonberries…Rubus spectabilis

Salmonberries, stalwart staples of the Pacific Northwest, look like raspberries but occur in yellow-orange (salmon), and darker red, depending on the season. Frequencies of the two morphs vary geographically, and if this year is any indication, by climate variation. In the last week the berries here on the Island have suddenly exploded into full ripeness. And unlike previous seasons, this year we see very distinctive differences in the color of the berries from plant to plant and even on the same plant, with some berries the usual bright yellow to orange, and others ranging from red-orange to dark purple, for no known reason. We can say that both we and birds generally prefer the red berries over the salmon colored.  (yes, we took this photo before we ate most of them…!).

Salmonberries are an important food source for local wildlife in early summer. Here on the Island in most years they are quite watery and bland, i.e. “taste one and call it a Season.” By comparison flavors  this year of both variations are the best we can recall, and every dog walk this week has involved a fair bit of salmonberry foraging.

Both the berries and the bark have also been an important food source for the indigenous people of the Northwest, who ate both the sprouts as well as the berries, either raw or mixed with oolichan grease or dried salmon spawn. The berries, which ripen from early May to late July in most of the Pacific Northwest, were seldom dried because of their high moisture content. And, blooming in early Spring, they often enjoy symbiotic pollination by Rufous Hummingbirds, which migrate north at the time of Salmonberry flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Obsolescence of Political Parties

It’s been a tough week for The Resistance. Clouds of Grim Foreshadowing have begun Swirling Even More Ominously over the Tweetster’s Mt. Doom Towers Worldwide, causing us to Lament, and Gnash Our Teeth. Where are Gandalf, and Frodo, and the Elves and the Forces of Good who will Comfort us and Restore the World of Benign Equilibrium we imagined would Always Persist in our Divinely Blessed America?

Alors, avec regret, mes amis, there is no Good News about that at the moment. However, for what it’s worth, yesterday we encountered a compelling and curiously encouraging Perspective on the issue in an op-ed by Thomas Friedman that we found engaging and thoughtful.

Of course we encourage you to read it for yourselves. But the essential feature to which we invite your consideration is, perhaps the most dear and valuable vis-a-vis Our Present and Future Dystopian Landscape,  a New Perspective, a Different Arrangement of the Pieces into a New and Compelling Theory of– as we ask Ourselves Every Morning, and what could be More Important– “Who Are We And What Are We Doing?!!”

Friedman’s Answer it that we are going through three Climate Changes at once, which together are reshaping our Core Concepts about work, learning, geopolitics, ethics and community (among others) in ways that demand more of our binary Left-Right Model than it is capable of delivering, including:

The This vs. That Binary Dichotomies that have defined politics in our Lifetimes are becoming Obsolete in a world in which each person is An Exception, a Unique Package with both Talents and Baggage in a Corporate Landscape that values Complete Interchangeability of Capital and Labor. Friedman argues that these forces portend a Future in which we can see emerging organically in many towns and communities across America a highly pragmatic and ad hoc approach to problem-solving which builds solidarity through the trust and bonds of friendship that are built from broad collaboration on big, hard challenges in local community settings.

All of which adds up to an Interesting, New, and in a way Post-Political Paradigm in which Locally Driven, Pragmatic Coalitions of Regional Interests with widely divergent political values can organize around Common Interests for a Common Good. Food for Thought.

 

This week’s wine tasting

Jordanov Rkaciteli ’15      Macedonia    $11
Brisk, floral and invigorating with a salt-tinged lemon snappiness; taut flavors of dried pineapple, mango, and papaya – finishing with pleasing notes of marzipan and taffy.

Perazzeta Sara Rosato ’16     Italy     $14
From the same grape as Brunello (sangiovese grosso), this beautiful rosato is rich, bold, and flinty while also crisp, summery, and light.

Monte Tondo Valpolicella ’16   Italy    
The grapes are dried for about a month in a well ventilated “fruttai” before pressing, and ultimately aged for five months in oak. Not a frivolous wine, it packs loads of sour black cherry aromas, spices, violets, and rosves.

Brunelli Apricale  ’16    Italy  $14
Sangiovese Grosso with a little Merlot and Cab Franc; Fruity and persistent nose of wild berries and spice. Soft and balanced with fine tannins this Sant’Antimo Rosso works well with any meal!

La Quercia Montepulciano Riserva ’13   Italy      $18
100% organic montepulciano from low-yield vines; rich, port-like nose of candied cherries that carry through on the expressive, rich, earthy palate; nice balance of fruit and acidity.

Wine Tasting