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Lummi island wine tasting fall studio tour September 6-7 ’15

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Friday Breads (sign up for

dscn1202 (Modified)

Buckwheat with dried apples and cider- Bread flour + thirty percent buckwheat flour and whole buckwheat for added texture. Buckwheat pairs well with apples and using apple cider in place of water adds to the flavor $5/loaf.

Sonnenblumenbrot - also known as Sunflower seed bread. This bread is made with a mix of rye and bread flours and loaded with sunflower seeds $5/loaf.

Hamburger buns- These soft buns are made with a mix of bread and whole wheat flours and have an onion topping. 4/$5


Featured Artist

Sunrise meredithOur featured artist for Studio Tour is Meredith Moench, with a series of new watercolors. We have enjoyed watching Meredith’s watercolors evolve over the past several years, skillfully using light to evoke the emotional qualities we all experience in our Pacific Northwest landscape. Meredith will be in the shop Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10- 1 to meet you and talk about her new works.



meredith 2










A few weeks ago we talked about our excitement at having fallen for a sweet little sailboat which we had just bought. Well, merely a month later Lummi Island and the rest of the PNW were visited by a Freak windstorm of the sort that sometimes occurs in late fall or winter, but which has not occurred in recent recorded history earlier than mid-October. This past Saturday we were hit by S and SE winds of 45-50 kts with sustained gusts up to 60. Our dear little Dreamtime was caught on her mooring with inadequate lines to meet the challenge (we hadn’t gotten around to it yet…dumb mistake), and snapped free around noon. Within about 15 minutes she was swept a quarter mile north onto the rocky beach just south of the ferry dock.

This photo must have been taken next morning, after an intense community effort pulled her high up on the beach on the late night high tide. Obviously much work remained if she were to be saved.


The Power of Community

20150903-221801.jpgWithin minutes of the beaching, a large group of islanders appeared on the scene to help. The boat was mostly on coarse gravel, leaned steeply to starboard with low rocks to either side. Two-foot waves kept coming in from astern. Initial attempts to refloat the boat were dashed when it became obvious she was full of water. Effort then shifted to dragging her higher on the beach as the tide continued to rise (a period of very high tides). At low tide near midnight, she was bailed out to reveal serious hull damage.

Low tide next day (Sunday) brought more volunteers, who focused on jacking up the damaged side to get a better look at the damage and attempt makeshift repairs. Those were sufficient to slow but not stop the leak on the midnight high tide, but did provide enough flotation that she could be tipped enough to settle on her port side as the tide receded. On Monday the extent of hull damage was evident. By mid-morning the pros had arrived, and by the next high tide a serious patch had been applied to the damaged area. By early evening she was floating prettily on a mooring just north of the ferry, and by mid-morning on Tuesday she had been hauled out at Gooseberry Point. She now sits in Bellingham being cleaned and prepped for repair.

We would like to express our Warm Gratitude to all of you who played a part in this Saga for the breadth and depth of your support during this crisis. We press our palms together and bow to you in thanks: no gift is more precious than being part of this wonderful community. Over the next few weeks we hope to thank each of you personally. Despite the chaos of the unfolding events, each of you was an essential part of the resultant positive outcome. Like dozens of hands on some Cosmic Ouija Board, the Group Effort proved effective in finding a Solution.


This week’s wine tasting

Naia Naia  ’13    Spain     $14
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.

Cloudlift Rosé ’14  Washington   $14    
100% Cabernet Sauvignon; nose of fresh ripe strawberries with a touch of citrus that continues on the slightly off-dry palate, followed by a long, crisp finish.

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.

Tarima Hill Monastrell ’11 Spain 91pts $13
Complex, perfumed scents of dark berry liqueur, cola, incense and smoky oak spices. Plush and expansive, with sweet cherry compote and blueberry flavors with notes of floral pastille and bitter chocolate. Rich and lively, finishing with excellent power, smooth tannins and a late jolt of allspice.

La Quercia Montepulciano riserva ’11 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
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lummi island wine tasting august 28 ’15

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Friday Breads (sign up for

dscn1202 (Modified)Toasted Pecan Flax Seed - Made with a rye sourdough culture and about 1/3 fresh milled whole wheat, toasted pecans and honey – $5/loaf.

Heidebrot. Made with a  50% rye sourdough culture with coarse ground fresh milled rye. Try with cheese or smoked salmon. – $5/loaf

Pan de Cioccolate- “Chocolate bread”– sourdough with a bit of whole rye plus plenty of chocolate, honey, vanilla, chocolate chips and a touch of espresso. Not a “pastry,” but rather a whole chocolate loaf! –$5



Trebbiano di Lugano by any other name

By a slight margin, Italy produces more wine than any other country– yes, including a slight edge on France. In addition Italy has more distinct grape varietals than any other country, with about 350 officially authorized in at least one region, and another 500 that exist but remain pretty obscure. Much of this cornucopia of varietals is due to Roman laws which prohibited growing wine grapes outside Italy beginning around the First Century AD.

Trebbiano is a widely planted white wine grape, and accounts for about a third of all white wine made in Italy. However, this trebbiano has many faces, names, and characteristics. A recent DNA study concluded that at least seven grapes known as “trebbiano” are actually genetically distinct from one another, and do not have a common ancestor. It also found a strong genetic match between Trebbiano di Soave and Trebbiano di Lugana, but neither was strongly related to other “trebbianos.” Further, Trebbiano di Soave is genetically identical to Verdicchio, another common Italian grape, but Trebbiano di Lugana had only 97% DNA matchup to verdicchio.

Whew! The bottom line is that you can expect the Trebbiano di Lugana we are pouring this weekend to taste a lot like Verdicchio: clean, crisp, and minerally with notes of citrus and white peach. Read more



And now for something more familiar

dscn1266Yes, we all understand that by all the standards of Elsewhere, our summer has been just lovely. But we also all know that this summer has been drier, hotter, and longer than anyone around here can remember. Heck, it was only about three summers ago that it got warm enough to venture outside wearing shorts on occasion. This summer they have been the default uniform since sometime in May.

Today, however, the forecast started looking more familiar, with Rain forecast for the next three days, followed by Showers for the rest of the week. I have been living in these parts for forty years, and I still can’t give you any sort of precise distinction between Rain and Showers. By common practice, however, it seems to be both a matter of degree and intensity (yes, I am making this up). A forecast of Rain implies that it will be sort of continuous, while Showers suggests some kind of intermittency, with some dry periods and some brief rain events, i.e., “showers.”

For the sake of our trees, plants, and animals, we are all looking forward to a good rain. In addition, of course, a good saturating rain will be a welcome ally in the battle against the record numbers of forest fires currently blazing throughout the region…!


Pic St. Loup

I confess a certain infatuation with the little wine region of Pic St. Loup. The “Pic” is a 640-meter “tooth” of rock that dominates the French landscape for miles in every direction. At some mythic level, there is a powerful grounding energy here, as if there is something in the soil composition that makes gravity a little stronger, or as if the ancient gods of the place still have a Hand in the Game. It’s definitely about Power and Grounding.

The wines from this place, which must be predominantly syrah, grenache, and mourvedre (as in nearby Southern Rhone) have a certain gravitas. The vines must be at least six years old (not three) before being used for red wine (but are just fine for rosé!). The climate tends to be cooler and wetter than much of the Languedoc, which stretches in a band along the Mediterranean, while Pic St. Loup is open to more of the Atlantic climate from the north and west. This combination of soils and weather, along with whatever Magic is sown by the energy of the Pic itself, makes for wines that have an esoteric appeal that goes beyond the usual discussions of terroir, in the direction of something more Profound, archetypal, or, for lack of a better term, “spiritual.”

And yes, this is all a big Metaphor to describe my own personal affection for wines from this appellation. As always, of course, it is up to you to make up your own mind!


This week’s wine tasting

Ottella Lugana Bianco ’13     Italy    $16
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.

Henri Favre Rose ’14     France  $12
Pale orange. Aromas and flavors of peach, stone fruits, orange blossom on a crisp, minerally frame.

Writers Block Cab Franc ’12   California    $14
Complex aromas of fresh dark berries, black cherry, plum, and a subtle brambly profile. Tobacco, chocolate, and herbal flavors blend with a floral component and notes of toasted oak.

Chateau la Roque Pic-St. Loup Rouge ’12   France   $16
A lithe and expressive red, with fine balance and well-structured flavors of dried cherry, plum and boysenberry, featuring hints of tarragon and cream on the finish. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.

Setteporte Etna Rosso ’12   Sicily  
95% Nerello Mascalese, 5% Nerello Cappuccio. Intense ruby red colour with a pleasantly fruity bouquet layered with red fruit and wild berries. The taste is dry, harmonious, elegant and persistent.

Wine Tasting
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lummi island wine tasting august 21 ’15

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Friday Breads (sign up for

dscn1237 (Modified)

Italian Walnut, Golden Raisins & Honey - Made with an italian preferment called a biga. About half of he flour ferments overnight which to enhance flavor and develop gluten. Uses about 30% fresh milled whole wheat and lots of toasted walnuts and golden raisins with a little honey .– $5/loaf.

Le Pave d’autrefois-  “Old paving stones,” a sourdough multi-grain bread from bread flour, whole wheat, rye , and buckwheat flours. The dough doesn’t hold a loaf shaped, so is just cut into pieces. – $5/piece

Chocolate Babkas: Yummy sweet rolls rich with eggs and butter, rolled out and spread with chocolate before baking. - 2/$5.



It’s back! La Rocaliere Tavel Rosé

20140724-123448.jpgWe have mentioned frequently our fondness for La Rocaliere, a little winery in the Lirac region of France, a bit west of Avignon. Like many wineries in Lirac (there aren’t that many), La Rocaliere also makes wine from the neighboring region of Tavel, where rosé is the only wine permitted. To keep it a rosé and yet retain some color the juice must be removed from the skins after a short period of contact time.

In Tavel, the contact time with the skins is longer than in many other appellations, making Tavel rosé darker in color than other rosés, with more structure, tannins, and aging potential. Or as some people (you know who we mean) might say, “Tavel is the absolute shiznit of rosés!” Well, we certainly think so, having visited this winery a couple of times, and we always look forward to this particular rosé each summer. And it’s here now!


Waitsburg Cellars

Waitsburg winery is a collaboration between wine writer Paul Gregutt and mega wine marketing giant Precept Wine. Waitsburg is a tiny town resting quietly east and north of Walla Walla out on the Palouse, while Gregutt has long been known to Washingtonians for his “Wine Adviser” column in The Seattle Times. His book, Washington Wines and Wineries: The Essential Guide, is considered a definitive resource on Washington wine. Wiaitsburg Winery came about when Precept offered him access to its “big box of crayons,” as he puts it, which roughly translates to “we have all these vineyards, see what you can make from them.” Would that be fun, or what??? I mean, why doesn’t anyone ever ask us that question??

A number of wines have manifested from this project. The one we are pouring this weekend is called “Three,” which is a multiple play on words. It is made from three red grapes with names beginning with “M”: merlot, malbec, and mourvedre, i.e., two cool climate Bordeaux reds with a big splash of one warm climate Southern Rhone red. Despite our philosophical distaste for giant conglomerates like Precept, we like the creativity in the Waitsburg venture, we relate to Gregutt’s fascination with all things wine, and yes, we like the wines. Be warned, they are definitely New World style, and sometimes that is exactly what the occasion demands. Pretty tasty stuff– come by and check it out!


The World on Fire

Let’s face it, it’s a disturbing archetypal concept: “The World’s on Fire!” I first heard the phrase when I was maybe seven or eight years old, in Maine. Our street had a steep hill at one end, so in Winter traffic was blocked, making a great place for sledding, as people from Elsewhere seem to call it, or “sliding,” as we called it. On this particular occasion, the sky was already dark (it was Winter, so maybe five o’clock in the afternoon!), and there was a reddish glow in the sky. Not sunset, something else. And my sister said “The World’s on Fire!”

Well. That’s a pretty Heavy Idea for an eight-year-old, right? But I tried to wrap my head around it, or as some prefer to visualize, “wrap it around my head,” with no particular success, leaving a long-lingering Fear about the World Catching Fire. You know, like, “Nowhere to Run To, baby…Nowhere to Hide!” as I believe Martha and the Vandellas put it some years later.

So slow forward to Right Now, and the Great Global Warming Drought that is manifesting around the planet and in particular on the West Coast of what we currently know as North America, and the tinder-like dryness and the Heat, and yes, the Fires. Right at this moment huge forest fires are raging in the North Cascades near Mazama, Winthrop, and Twisp, as well as all around Lake Chelan, to the point that there aren’t enough resources to keep fighting them. Firefighters are exhausted and injured, and some have died trying to save forests and communities. It’s a kind of Hell out there, some kind of razor-edged, spear-pointed Karma.

So yeah, here it is the year we call “aught-fifteen,” and the World is On Fire, and Our Way of Life has lit the matches, and the animals are all running for their lives, while our so-called leaders continue to pretend there isn’t a Problem…? Really?


This week’s wine tasting

Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2014 Italy $13
From hillside vineyards in Sardinia with mild winters, limited rainfall, and very hot and windy summers. Hand-selected grapes, using only very light first pressing. Typical notes of papaya, passion fruit, flowers, and honey, with clean, mineral notes.

la Rocaliere Tavel Rose ’14 France $13
Scents of dark berries, cherry and licorice, with a floral accent. Firm and structured, displaying cherry and floral pastille flavors and a hint of bitter herbs, finishing with good power and length.

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.

Le Rote Chianti Colli Senesi ’11 Italy $14
Rich, chewy, dark fruit, evolves into a smooth palate with notes of black cherry and sweet tobacco.

Waitsburg ‘Three’  Red  ’12    Washington     $19
Merlot, Malbec and Mourvedre; Cool aromas of blackberry, redcurrant, tobacco, spices and fresh herbs, complicated by rose petal and hints of licorice and menthol. Moderate density and texture with light dusting of tannins and New World charm.

Wine Tasting
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lummi island wine tasting august 15 ’15

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Reminder: No Friday Bread this week!

Just a reminder your baker Janice is taking the week off for her annual baseball trip with her nieces.

What does that mean to you? Unfortunately it means no bread or treats this Friday! On the other hand, maybe Friday night won’t be so Crazy, and some of you will come on Saturday this week!



IMG_0883About five years ago we were in Tuscany for a few weeks, exploring hilltop towns, wineries, and vineyards. On a whim one day we made a fairly long drive to visit the Avignonesi winery, located in on beaufiful hillside a few miles east of the town of Montepulciano. The location and its iconic trees were stunning, and all the wines were delicious! We have carried several Avignonesi wines since then, although their Washington distributor has changed several times, making the wines difficult to find.

We are happy to report that the latest distributor has been found, and last week we were treated to a lovely tasting of a number of the latest releases. This weekend we will be pouring the Avignonesi Cantaloro, a “Super-Tuscan” blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 40%  merlot, and 10% sangiovese. The name “Super-Tuscan” was coined a few decades ago when a few high-end Italian producers challenged the strict, long-standing naming and blending protocols that govern which grapes can be used in which regions by blending sangiovese with cab and merlot. Some of those wines are now among the most expensive and sought after in the world. While Cantaloro is not so rarefied, it is a really nice example of why these blends have gained so much popularity.    read more


Thinking about Blends

One of the many interesting things about being a potter was mixing glazes. If you have two or three glazes you have used and like, sometimes the question arises, “what would happen if we blended them?” And it’s not as if you can make any useful inference from their individual appearance to what some blend of them would look like fired. After all, firing pottery is like putting a note in a bottle and throwing it in the Ocean…you have no idea how it will turn out until you try it!

One method for exploring glaze blends is called the “tri-axial blend.” You make some sample tiles like these in the photo for example. The tile on each corner is one of your existing glazes. Each side of the triangle shows a blend series between the two end points of the line: 100/0; 80/20; 60/40; 40/60; 20/80; 0/100. The middle three tiles are blends of all three glazes.

Blending wines is pretty much the same process, except it can be a lot more complicated, even when blending different barrels of the same varietal from the same year into the best possible final blend. All of this is to say that when we think about a Bordeaux blend (cab sauv, cab franc, merlot, malbec) or a Rhone blend (syrah, grenache, mourvedre, cinsault), or a Super-Tuscan (cab, merlot, sangiovese), we don’t think much about how the winemaker came up with that blend. And it turns out that, just as with color in glazes, flavors in blends can be incredibly sensitive to small changes in the final blend. Something to think about next time you taste a blend of more than one varietal!



The little wine region of Reuilly comprises only about 500 acres of vineyards west of Bourges in the Loire Valley of France, where the primary grapes are sancerre and pinot noir. Our interest goes back to a few weeks ago when we were discussing the somewhat arcane topic of “nervosité.” The concept is nicely capsulized in this quote from Kermit Lynch: “If you want to experience minerality, notice the first impression on the palate, which is of fresh, cushiony, Sancerre-like Sauvignon Blanc.  Then, immediately, there is a firmness, a stony firmness that appears from within the wine. Pierres Plates is from a specific vineyard with Chablis-like soil full of chalk, fossils and sea shells, making the fruit lively, with white flower perfumes, citrus and minerally finesse and precision.” 

We are feeling the tendrils of Fall in the air these days, which remain hot in the afternoon despite the cool of the evening and the night. This is the perfect time to enjoy a really nice sauvignon blanc, and our first wine this weekend fits the bill perfectly. Whether you call it nervosité or something else, this wine’s combination of flavor, acidity, and minerality fits this time of year perfectly. Yum, mmm, and ahhhhh!



This week’s wine tasting

Reuilly “Pierres Plates” Sauvignon Blanc  ’12    France    $18
Sage, black currant, gooseberry, and lime dominate both the nose and palate, where a suffusion of salt and chalk adds to a palpable sense of extract and invigoration…bring on the shellfish!

Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc ’14 California   $16
Pale pink with a copper hue; citrus-driven aromas carry through to bright acidity, a creamy orange note and layers of tart apricot. Great balance of texture, fruit, and minerality.

Montes Twins malbec/cab ’11    Chile      $7
Richness and fruit from the Cab, and smooth, velvety texture from the Malbec add up to vibrant acidity and integrated layers of plum skin, blueberry, and blackberry flavors and soft tannins.

Tarima Hill Monastrell ’11 Spain 91pts $13
Complex, perfumed scents of dark berry liqueur, cola, incense and smoky oak spices. Plush and expansive, with sweet cherry compote and blueberry flavors with notes of floral pastille and bitter chocolate. Rich and lively, finishing with excellent power, smooth tannins and a late jolt of allspice.

Avignonesi Cantaloro ’13     Italy   $16
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese; This Super-Tuscan blend offers  lovely aromas of red fruits, sweet spices and tobacco, then fresh and supple on the palate, with ripe red cherry and plum flavors lingering softly on the long, smooth, spicy finish. 

Wine Tasting