Faces of Sangiovese
Sangiovese is the red grape we most often associate with Tuscany and Central Italy. In particular, it is the dominant grape in the Chianti Classico region which stretches south from Firenze (Florence) toward Siena, while a variant of the grape, sangiovese grosso, is the dominant grape in the southern Tuscan wine region of Montalcino. The name itself is from Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jove.” Depending on where the grapes are grown, sangiovese can present a wide range of profiles from very earthy and rustic–as is the case with many Chianti Classicos– to big, round and fruit-forward. Regardless of where it’s grown, it generally exhibits a tart strawberry edge around dark bing-cherry flavors, earthy tea leaf notes, and often a touch of brett.
This weekend we are pouring two sangioveses. One is from near the center of the more steeply hilly Chianti Classico region (above left), and the other is from further south, just past Montalcino (below left). We leave it to you to see if there’s a difference.
There’s the green ketch and there’s the old song that have somehow gotten hooked up in my fantasies. The green ketch may or may not be the same one that has moored at the Island for the last several summers. In previous years on any given day it would move as if with the tides from anchorage near the ferry dock on the east side to Legoe Bay on the west side. And back and forth and back and forth. Curious, make a fella scratch his whiskers and say, “hmm…” This year the green ketch looks more shipshape, more “reputable,” somehow, than the one we have seen the last several years, but she is certainly similar and looks like a comfortable sailor.
In any case, for a while she was flying this flag, which we could barely make out…looks like a tree shape in the center of blue-white-green stripes. Looked online, but was unable to identify it, so still curious. Therefore, we offer a free tasting this weekend to the first visitor who can enlighten us about the boat and the flag…!
As for “Pirate Jenny,” it is a song from Three Penny Opera, sung variously by Lotte Lenya, Nina Simone, and Judy Collins, among many others over the years. Arrrr, it’s a Dark ‘n’ compellin’ Tale (“…and the ship, the Black Freighter…turns around in the harbor,…shooting guns from her bow…) of fantasy and vengeance. So I be askin’ ye mates, is it Pirates we got off our shores? Is she flyin’ some kinda new Jolly Roger? Should we be checkin’ our powder? Eh…?
Diesel-electric Hybrid Ferry!!
In a weak moment recently I allowed myself to to volunteer for the Long Range Planning Subcommittee of LIFAC. The key question being addressed is to make recommendations for what sort of ferry service should replace the aging Whatcom Chief. Last week sometime it occurred to me that , hey, OUR portion of ferry expense does not include capital costs, only operating and maintenance costs. Therefore, our aim should be to find a ferry that economizes on O&M. We shouldn’t really CARE about capital costs (except, you know, politically). It then occurred to me that, hey, a good way to save on operating and maintenance might be to have some kind of diesel-electric hybrid, sort of a sea-going Prius. If such a thing existed, it would likely have lower fuel costs, lower emissions, and lower maintenance costs– exactly what we should be looking for. Well, sure, nice fantasy, right?
Until yesterday, when I did a search for “diesel-electric hybrid ferry”…! It turns out a lot of people around the world have been thinking about this for some years now. Several have been built, from the passenger ferry that takes tourists to Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, to the small seagoing vessel shown here in Scotland. Oh, man, I WANT one, don’t YOU??
This weekend’s tasting
Bargemon Provence Rosé ’13 France $14
Pale pink. Bright, mineral-dusted aromas of pink grapefruit and dried red berries. Light and racy on the palate, offering tangy citrus and redcurrant flavors.
Dom. Tremblay Quincy ’11 Loire Valley $18
Nose of yellow grapefruit, tangerine and sea air. Suave, fine-grained and concentrated, with zesty green apple & citrus flavors with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel and finish.
Eguren Codice ’09 Spain 90pts $11
Aromas of cassis, cherry, licorice and mocha. Dense, alluringly sweet and juicy, with excellent concentration, silky fine-grained tannins and lingering spiciness.
Molino di Grace Chianti Classico ’08 Italy $13
Spicy redcurrant, strawberry and herbs on the nose, with tobacco and smoke nuances emerging with air. Pliant red berry and succulent herb flavors show an appealing sweetness buffered by fresh minerality.
Perazzeta Sara Rosso ’11 Italy $11
90% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo from the Tuscan south; bright and full-bodied with cherry, crisp acidity, and tantalizing earth tones make this pretty wine a winner with savory dishes.
Labor Day Studio Tour is usually our busiest weekend of the year. Beginning Friday night and then all day Saturday and Sunday, it’s almost like running a real business! OMD! This intensity is then immediately followed by the Island-wide madness of getting ready for annual Drydock, with the locals running to town to get pantries stocked up and cars situated on the mainland (good luck finding a place to park!), and part-time residents escaping to Wherever till the ferry comes back. It makes for hours-long waits to get a car off the island. Crazy!
So it was a nourishing delight to take last weekend off from the wine shop and sail out to the islands for a few days. The weather was great, winds were light, and skies were clear. Very relaxing, very beautiful, very soothing. Ahhhh.
Took a few photos while walking on Sucia Island. Click on photos to enlarge, and see if you see what we saw…!
We were introduced to this startup Woodinville winery about ten years ago. A friend had invited us to their release party, in a big tent, on a somewhat snowy day in February. It was the second vintage of easygoing and talented young winemaker Lance Baer, and we definitely bought some for the shop. Tragically, Lance suffered liver failure only a few years later, leaving the winery to his sister Lisa. Read more about Lance
In recent years the winery has earned international recognition with stunning reviews from the global wine press. So it is our pleasure to offer the Baer 2010 Ursa in our tasting this weekend. I will confess that I opened a bottle a few days ago, you know, just to make sure it was okay, and all you need to know is that it is a lot better than “okay”…!
After all, it’s Drydock, it’s quiet on the Island, nothing much to do— a perfect time to drop by and savor some great wines and easy conversation…!
This weekend’s tasting
Borsao Rosado ’13 Spain $9
Delicate strawberry and cranberry fruit, a touch of minerality, medium body and a fresh, dry style.
For a Song Chardonnay ’12 Washington $9
Six months on the lees yield lively floral, lemon, and pear aromas and flavors of fresh pears and tart apples.
Cepas de Zorro ’10 Spain $10
100% Monastrell from chalk and clay soils; a powerfully authentic wine with aromas of plum preserves, Partagás cigar ash, soy, and sage blossom; a fantastic match for Manchego cheese, Marcona Almonds, and olives.
Vinosia Aglianico ’10 Italy $12
Deep garnet-purple color. Raisin, blueberry and underbrush aromas. Some dried rose petals and spice. Crisp acidity and a medium+ body. Medium+ level of velvety tannins. Long finish.
Baer Ursa ’10 Washington $38
(42% merlot, 41% cab franc, 10% malbec and 7% cab sauv): Roasted raspberry, strawberry, truffle, and woodsmoke on the nose, accented by pepper and herbs; tactile and penetrating in the mouth, with good juicy clarity to the flavors of red berries, tobacco leaf and smoky roast coffee.
Reminder: CLOSED This Weekend!
You would think it would be easy for retired folks with a sailboat to take off any time they want for as long as they want. And, honestly, I don’t know why it is so difficult to arrange. But for some reason it is difficult. However. at the moment it looks as if we will actually be able to pull it off this weekend. Your big Takeaway from this is that the wine shop will be closed this weekend, not open either Friday or Saturday.
(click on image for best view)
More and more in the last few years, out-of-the-blue, one of a kind meteorological events have been occurring often enough that “Bad Luck” is becoming a euphemism for “Global Warming.” The latest and most poignant episode has been unfolding here in Legoe Bay over the last several weeks as our stalwart Reefnet fishers have come face to face, head to head with yet another local and very troubling “Huh, are you Kidding Me???” piece of Local Climate Change News.
Diverted by an unusual large “blob” of very warm water, highly anticipated huge runs of returning salmon have chosen to take the very long route out around Vancouver Island to their spawning grounds up the Fraser River. Over 99% of the returning cohort have taken this route, leaving our local reefnet fishers with essentially No Fish. This is both locally and globally devastating news. Locally, it means our friends and neighbors who annually invest their time and energy into maintaining our historic reefnet fishery are not even covering their expenses. Globally, it is yet another wake-up call that everything six billion humans do has a huge impact on the ability of our Dear Planet to support Life As We Know It.
Remember…we are Not Open this weekend!
Studio tour Featured Artist
Our artist for Labor Day Weekend Studio Tour is again our friend and neighbor down the street, Anne Gibert. Anne has been in something of a high-gear production mode for well over a year now, generating an amazing series of large, colorful, and appealing paintings at a prodigious rate. These newer works are bright and airy, often with offbeat moods that are hard to describe, but which invite curiosity and contemplation. Although Anne is off to Alaska for a month, and will not be available to discuss the show with you till she returns, we heartily encourage all of you to come by and see these intriguing new works!
A Special Note on Studio Tour Hours
Generally our Featured Artist is in attendance from 10am-1pm on Saturday and Sunday. HOWEVER, since our FA is out of town, we WILL NOT OPEN UNTIL 1PM BOTH DAYS. We regret any inconvenience this causes our members and visitors,
A Strange Day
It’s Thursday evening as I write this week’s post. This morning around 11:30 a friend stopped by to say, “Um, your boat seems to have drifted off her mooring and is aground on the beach.” So, OMD, you think, that’s Pretty Urgent! Jumped into my boots and drove down to the little bay next the to ferry dock where we have our mooring, and yup, there she was, aground and heeled far over to port not far from the abandoned wreck of the last sailboat to break free of her mooring around here. My co-owner Bob had gotten the word much earlier (we were off at yoga and missed the calls) and had done his best to break her free but the receding tide made it a futile effort.
By low tide at about 2pm she was stranded in about two feet of water. The next high tide was at 8pm. We deployed anchors in two directions seaward, took up the slack, and waited for the tide. Around five the rising tide had her again afloat, and we returned her to her mooring, embarrassed, but thankfully no damage. Cause for the incident was an unexplained failure of a simple shackle, though it had been appropriately tightened and secured with wire to keep it from unfastening. So it’s a mystery. Anyway, we spent a strangely quiet afternoon on the beach, waiting patiently for the tide to come to her rescue. How about those tides, huh…? They are SO Dependable!
Closed Next Weekend
Despite today’s near-disaster, we are taking next weekend off from the wine shop and and going…wait for it…sailing! Hopefully we will get any lingering boat glitches sorted out enough to get out on the water for a few days. In previous years we have taken this time to attend the annual Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend (highly recommended if you have never attended). This time we are hoping just to sail out to a nearby gunkhole for a few days, and kick back with a few good books and maybe a bottle or two of wine. Mmmm, sounds appealing!
Btw, drydock parking is particularly skimpy this year. So it’s especially nice if those of us who can get by without going off-island for two weeks (far easier than the usual three week ordeal) to avoid leaving a car on the mainland while the car ferry is out of service– leaving more room for those who really need it.
The Return of Tristan!
It’s getting to be a Tradition here at AWG: if it’s Studio Tour, our friend and importer-impresario Tristan will be here again with a vanload of French and Spanish wines. He will be hosting our tastings both Friday and Saturday, pouring a selection of delicious and incredibly well-priced wines from small, family-owned wineries in France and Spain. Tristan has been leading SV’s Spain/France efforts for several years now, so that while he is pouring he will expound in great detail on the families, the vineyards, the terroir, and the history of each family winery. These are very special tastings, and definitely not to be missed!
This Week’s Wines
Aravo albarino spain $18
Alta vins tinto joven spain $10
Finca el tesso Spain $10
Borie de Maurel Esperit d’Automne France $13
San Isidro Blanco Spain $10
Domaine de Cabrol Vent d’Ouest France $18
Girot ribot cava brut Spain $10
Lacroix Vanel Melanie France $24
Parmi L’Infant Priorato Spain $29