lummi island wine tasting june 23 ’17

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Bread this week

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – a nice flavorful artisan bread. Made with fresh milled buckwheat and bread flour. A little honey to balance the earthiness of the buckwheat and some toasted walnuts for a nice crunch. This bread goes well with meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

Spelt Levain – Spelt is an ancient grain similar to wheat and has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. It has gluten but it isn’t as strong as the gluten in traditional wheat. This bread is made with a levain, or sourdough, traditional bread flour and about 1/3 spelt flour and fresh milled whole spelt. – $5/loaf

And for pastry this week…

Hamburger Buns – made with bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat, some milk and butter for a tender crumb and topped with a flavorful onion topping. These are nice soft buns that go well with everything. – 4/$5



Why Republicans Really Hate the ACA

The Affordable Care Act was paid for by cuts to several areas of government spending and by increases in revenue in several others. Savings of some $700 billion came from cutting payment rates to doctors and hospitals for services to be paid for by the system. And some $900 billion of new revenue was raised through penalties on those choosing to remain uninsured ($55 billion), penalties on employers ($106 billion), an excise tax on “Cadillac health plans” ($111 billion), a 3.8% tax on those earning over $200,000 on investment income ($318 billion), and $87 billion in fees on certain manufacturers and insurers. The old adage of Following the Money provides considerable insight into Why the Republicans have been Frothing at the Mouth over the ACA all these years: because it dared to take proportionally more from the Rich than from the Middle Class or the Poor– an example of progressive taxation, which they have been trying to Stomp Out of Existence since 1980.

Since the 1950’s, tax rates on the wealthiest Americans have dropped some 40%, while tax rates on everyone else have remained about the same. The idea behind Progressive Taxation is that a given tax on a subsistence income is more burdensome  than a tax on those who earn far more, so it takes a larger share from the More Fortunate to Hurt as Much as a smaller share from the Less Fortunate. But for the past forty years Republicans have been Asserting that the Marginal Value of a Dollar is Independent of how many you already have!

They Hate Obamacare because it Robs the Deserving Rich to prop up a Bunch of Losers. And as the Great Reagan Taught them, there is No Room in the Lifeboat for All Those Losers. However, Studies at the IMF have demonstrated clearly that “Specifically, increasing the income share to the bottom 20 percent of citizens by a mere one percent results in a 0.38 percentage point jump in GDP growth…But when the income share of the top 20 percent increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term.” Which is to say, Sorry, don’t expect Anything to Get Better Any Time Soon for the 99%. And which is also to say, transfers of income from the richer to the poorer are not just good for the Soul; they are good for the Bottom Line.


Solstice and Tides

Okay, tides have very little to do with Solstice, except that we just experienced Summer Solstice two days ago as this is being written. Actually tides have very little to do with the Sun at all, compared with the effect of the Moon, but still, there is a solar effect. All of this comes up because for the last few weeks I have been trying to teach myself how I can look at the Tide and know where the Moon must be, or vice versa.

As shown in the model, gravitational attraction between the Earth and the Moon are more or less constant, and on any given day, the moon is relatively fixed in space relative to Earth while the Earth rotates. In a 24-hr cycle, the Earth makes a full rotation relative to the Sun and the Moon, while the Moon moves 1/28th of the way in its path around the Earth. The image shows how the Earth’s oceans try to catch up with the Moon, but don’t show that the tide is always about six hours behind the Moon.

That’s because there is a lag between the maximum gravitational pull of the Moon (when the moon is at zenith above or at its nadir below on the other side of the Earth) and how fast the Earth’s oceans can flow to follow the Moon. It turns out that the flood tide is about six hours behind the moon, so when the moon is at the horizon the tide is high, not when it is overhead. When the moon is overhead (or at nadir) the tide is therefore low. More or less. Sadly, this image and most available don’t show this 6-hr lag, and that is confusing if you are looking at the tide and trying to figure where the moon is right then, or looking at the moon and trying to figure out where the tide is right then. Of course, this isn’t an issue many of us think about very often, but not so many years ago, such knowledge was second nature and essential.


Mar a Lago Update

IMG_20160719_143417564_HDRIt’s hard to imagine that Anyone in the Republican Leadership is happy with the Tweetster. And for sure No One in the Democratic Leadership is either, except maybe for the Death Spiral he Continually Courts for the entire Republican Party, and That of course would make it Almost Worth It. So today’s Fantasy is Wouldn’t it be Interesting if…

Consider: wouldn’t it be Logical for the FBI Director to have access to very sophisticated listening and recording technology? And wouldn’t it be entirely Reasonable for such a Director to employ that technology to record any discussions with Pwesident Tweetster as a far better method of documentation than post-meeting notes? And then to keep them Secret until they become, um…”useful…?”

Consider: wouldn’t it be Logical for the Privileged Committees of the Congress to gather Evidence wherever they can that would Incriminate the Notoriously Impulsive Mar a Lager (now available in Growlers!) for Something Substantive Enough for some kind of Removal? After all, he has already Broken all Kinds of Rules: Withholding Financial Disclosures, Violations of the Emoluments Clause, Layers upon Layers of Nepotism…and while he demands Loyalty, he doesn’t seem to give much back in return. So why should they Trust him or Support him?

Of course all this is just Wishful Thinking. Being Old in this country right now is pretty Disorienting. Everything I ever Believed about America has been Shattered to Bits. I can’t bring myself to Believe that all those people really Voted for this guy, or that if they did they can for very long maintain the Illusion that he is on the Side of the Worker. And then, the Painful Realization…OMD, this Nightmare could go on for a Long Time. Wow. Sobering, huh…?

Thank Heaven we have the Wine Shop, a friendly place where we can all Huddle Down and fine Warmth during these Dark Times!


This week’s  wine tasting

Elk Cove Pinot Gris ’16 Washington   $17
Golden straw in color, this fresh white wine approaches with aromas of Asian pear, honeydew melon and hints of lemon thyme and ginger. The palate bursts with star fruit, tangerine and apple pie mingling with notes of pithy lemon-peel and white tea.

Regaliali Nerello Mescalese
Deep salmon-pink in color, with delicate aromas of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and-appropriate to its name-rose petals.  Rich on the palate with refreshing acidity and a long, flavorful finish, this is what Sicilians enjoy in the summertime.

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.

Lar de Maia 5°  ’13     Spain   $15
Tempranillo, Garnacha and Syrah; mouth-filling notes of concentrated fruit leather with lingering notes of cherry and pomegranate; lively and fruity with hints of vanilla, coconut and liquorice.

Ded. Reckoning Flintlock Merlot  ’13     Washington  
Ripe and rich with layers of berry syrup, cassis, raspberry preserves, milk chocolate and baking spices. Big and fat, with soft tannins and gentle acids. Beautiful and supple now, it does have the capacity and structure to age for 5 or more years.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 16 ’17

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Sorry, No Bread this week

Sorry, Janice our Baker is away this week, attending a Breads of the World workshop in San Francisco. No doubt she will return with a stack of new techniques and recipes…the writeup says something about “discover the unique flavors and textures of breads baked around the world. Create exotic breads, including Germany’s Heigebrot Bread, Indian Parathas, and Mexican Bolillos.”

Which all sound kinda yummy…!




Two Montepulcianos

Montepulciano No. 1 is a hilltop town in southeast Tuscany. It is particularly famous for its Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, made primarily from the grape sangiovese, the dominant red grape of Tuscany, and known in Montepulciano as Prugnolo gentile. Among the many “Nobles” who have enjoyed this wine over many hundreds of years was Thomas Jefferson, who called it “a very favorite wine…most superlatively good.” Today’s Vino Nobiles show flavors of dark ripe berries, with notes of plum and hints of earthiness, and generally age very well.

It is easy to confuse the distinguished Vino Nobile de Montepulciano with Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, a red wine grape grown in the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy, stretching between the Apennine mountains of Italy’s spine and the Adriatic coast. The wines made from this grape are often highly aromatic with earthy black berry notes and an inky-purple color with a thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel. They will maintain their freshness for ten years or more, but do not evolve complexity in the bottle over time like Vino Nobile. Nevertheless, as this week’s La Quercia Montepulciano Riserva demonstrates, it’s pretty good stuff!


Utopian Desperation

The recent shooting episode targeting the Republican Congressional baseball team is deeply Disturbing on many levels. While Right-wing Nut Jobs regularly engage in mass shootings,  wimpy left-wingers typically choose less dramatic forms of protest. Which begs the Question: has Something Changed?

I think a lot of us Old Liberals can relate to the Desperation and Depression that may have driven Mr. Hodgkinson. Sanders supporters in particular fought hard to create a little Window of Possibility that our Nation would move toward a Thomas More-ian Utopia, where “Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually…than the bond and obligation of words.” But instead, we find ourselves in that world’s Dystopian Opposite, and that is an Ongoing source of Grief and Loss to many of us. If Utopias represent our Dreams of an Ideal Possible Future, available and beckoning if only We Take the Right Road, Dystopias are the Nightmare Societies waiting for us down All the Wrong Roads.

Over half our population are now living a Worst Possible Dystopian Nightmare as  Giddy Republicans Take Aim to Roll Back the Twentieth Century with regard to economic justice, environmental protections, public education— Everything we hold Dear.  Maybe this Near Miss can shift the Rhetoric toward bringing some much needed “kindness and good nature” back to our National Dialogue. Seems unlikely, but one way or another, we need an overall Realization that Partisanship has become the Enemy of the Common Good.


Mar a Lago Update

IMG_20160719_143417564_HDROne of my Zen teachers often used the phrase “Not Enough Water to Float a Boat,” generally a commentary on someone’s Level of Development. So now every time the Tweetster in Chief falls out of his Nest at Three in the Morning and starts Tweeting in Distress, the phrase comes back. Maybe that’s why I so like this little picture of the Duck Doll with Shades that I took a few years ago at a little pool next to the Friday Harbor Marina. I immediately recognized Who it Was. Which serves to demonstrate that a Plastic Duck can Float in a lot less water than a Creature with Actual Substance. Swim even, after a Fashion.

I also mentioned a month or two ago the Story of the Three Envelopes. Tonight as we go to press, with the Baseball Shooting, the Expansion of the Special Investigation to include The Tweetster Himself, the VP’s hiring of Legal Counsel, the Congressional Mandate against All Things Russian, and the latest series of Pwesidential Tweets about the Unfairness of it All, we are Comfortable Saying that it is Time for The Tweetster to Open the Second Envelope, which as you might recall, advises “Blame Congress!” Stay tuned!

Wild Roses

IMG_20170614_123946116Our daily dog walk generally goes by the wetland across Legoe Bay Road from the old Aquaculture School. Every day though the scene is the same, the Light is different, the Content is slightly different, the Weather and Wildlife are different, and the Feeling is Different. In general that means that the same scene always has a New Feature to Delight the Eye.

Today the Wild Roses were showing magnificently, despite the overcast sky and intermittent rain. And although this photo doesn’t do the scene Justice (clicking on it will help!), suffice it to say that these are probably my favorite flowers, and at the moment they are Shining Brightly with Color and Fragrance all over our little Island, and we are all Lucky Ducks to have them to Share the Day with!


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.

Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé ’16   France    $13
The Grenache in this food-friendly Provencal-style  rosé  adds bright red stone fruit flavors; the Cinsault brings its delicate strawberry aroma; and the Syrah adds body, making for a great pairing even with the intense flavors of seafood.

Borsao Garnacha ’15 Spain $11
From 100-yr-old vines; heady, perfumed bouquet of ripe red and dark berries, incense and candied flowers; intense raspberry liqueur and cherry-cola flavors blending power, depth and finesse beyond its modest price point.

La Quercia Montepulciano Riserva ’12   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.

Syncline Subduction Red ’15   Washington    $18
Syrah dominant Rhone blend; perfumed aromas of fresh blue and purple fruit, spice, and herbs lead to rich fruit flavors and a plush texture that persists effortlessly through the finish. Delightful!

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 9 ’17

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Bread this week

Pain Meunieraka ‘miller’s bread.’ Developed to honor the miller who mills the wheat and contains all portions of the wheat berry, bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat as well as cracked wheat and wheat germ. Always a favorite this is a great all around bread. – $5/loaf

Fig Anise – Ever a local favorite! Using a sponge that is fermented overnight then mixed with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Honey, dried figs and anise bring in all the flavors of the Mediterranean.  – $5/loaf

And for pastry this week, in honor of our Recent Ursine Visitor…

Bear Claws! – Made with a danish pastry dough rich in cream, eggs, sugar and butter. The dough is rolled out and filled 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. Claw-Lickin’ Good!  -2/$5

Sunday Concert June 11!

Singer/songwriter/therapist (and Lummi Island familiar) Rob Hutchings has played his music in the wine shop numerous times over the past year, where many of us have  enjoyed his expressive and emotive style: “With these songs of awareness, we celebrate our creative connection with an intention of healing.” For this concert Rob is teaming up with bluegrass mandolin/guitarist Perry Welsh, who brings his dynamic picking/strumming patterns to this musical collaboration in which unique rhythms frame the narrative elements of Rob’s songs. It’s gonna be fun!  Listen

Music from 4-6pm. Suggested donation is $15.  Wines available by the glass.
Space is limited, so please email us to reserve space!


Horchata & Chocolate

As mentioned last week, we have replenished our dwindling stock of Theo’s Chocolate Bars. And even though we are by Popular Demand heavily stocked in favor of Very Dark Chocolate, some of us also have a fondness for good Milk Chocolate, and the new Cinnamon Horchata bar is particularly irresistible.

Horchata is a Spanish beverage dating back to the Moors in Valencia over a thousand years ago. The original recipe used ground yellow nutsedge (aka tigernuts), water, and sugar. Today there are many regional and ethnic variations found across the Spanish-speaking world, which may or may not include milk, ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley, and/or tigernuts. The most familiar version found in the US is the Mexican recipe, which typically includes rice, vanilla, and cinnamon. There are also versions that include coconut milk, peanuts, cashews, nutmeg, cocoa, or allspice. It may or may not be strained.

It just Makes Sense that a savory concoction that has been popular for a millenium has been adapted to local ingredients, while never straying very far from its flavorful origins. We are told it is a common menu item in Mexican restaurants, and we are looking forward to exploring its possibilities. In the meantime…blending these flavors into a Chocolate Bar was a True Inspiration!


Mar a Lago Update

IMG_20160719_143417564_HDRAt some point…like Now, maybe…it might be useful to consider the Remote Possibility that Trumpism as a Movement may be something Most Devoutly to  Fear rather than to Mock, Dismiss, or Ridicule. Since the Foundation of any Society is a Commitment to Shared Values, at some level Political Control can be amplified by eliminating the ability even to think about them from the language.  This idea was the Primary Theme of George Orwell’s 1984. Its language of Newspeak was designed to make critical modes of thought and expression impossible by eliminating even their Possibility from spoken and written language.

The beginnings of Newspeak in the Real World date back to The Great Reagan, who actually held a starring role as “President” in the real year 1984, with his Iconic claim that “Government Is The Problem!” Fast forward to Now and consider just One of the Many Bizarre Current Changes happening in Public Dialogue, i.e., the Attack on Facts over the last two years on Talk Radio, Fox News, and a bazillion Internet websites, to the point that “Free Press” has been dismissed as  “Fake News;” long established Scientific Facts have been relabeled Questionable Opinions, and Constitutional Protections are being redefined as Establishment Elitism. Sad!


This week’s  wine tasting

Flaugerges Les Comptes Blanc ’14   France   $13
Aromatic, fruity aromas lead into a vibrant, generous, unctuous palate with lilac and peach overtones, good minerality, and pleasing length.

Gassier Esprit Rose ’15 France $15
Very clear with shades of peach; floral nose with notes of pear, peach, and apricot; round and delicate on the palate with notes of peach, mandarin, and grapefruit.

Zenato ‘Alanera’ Rosso Veronese      Italy        $15
Dark, inky color; rich and focused nose, with ripe berries, dusty oak and a precise note of waxy vanilla bean. On the palate delivers extracted flavors of cherries, strawberry, clay and even a hint of crushed mint. Soft tannins, rounded finish.

Catena Zapata Cab Franc San Carlos ’14    Argentina   $19
Purple color with ruby tones. Elegant aromas of spices, garrigue, red berries, cassis, and raspberries, with layers of cedar. Mouth-filling and rich with flavors of cassis, raspberries and notes of black pepper and oregano. The finish is bright and fresh with finely grained tannins.

Finca el Tesso Crianza’13     Spain   $17
87% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano, 5% Cab Sauv from 50 year-old vines; Bright and polished with enticing aromas of chocolate, baking spices, licorice, and sweet flowers, with lush notes of black raspberry.


Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting june 2 ’17

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

dscn1364 (Modified)Whole Wheat Ciabatta – Using an italian biga pre-ferment as well as a poolish. Once mixed the dough is then fermented overnight in the refrigerator. These long, slow ferments add a lot of flavor to the final bread. Made with regular bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. A little olive oil for more flavor and a lot of water. With so much water this bread can’t really be shaped, just cut into pieces and baked. A great rustic bread – $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. And as if that wasn’t enough it is loaded up with poppy, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with just a hint of brown sugar for a little sweetness. – $5/loaf

And for pastry this week…

Traditional Plain Croissants –
Even the croissants are made with a pre-ferment, a little sourdough for flavor and something called preferment dough, also known as old dough, that is fermented overnight. Made with bread flour and a bit of freshly milled whole wheat, also milk, butter and sugar, before being laminated with more butter. I’ve heard some say that these are better than any they had in Paris (France, not Texas!). – 2/$5

Sunday Concert June 11!

Singer/songwriter/therapist (and Lummi Island familiar) Rob Hutchings has played his music in the wine shop numerous times over the past year, where many of us have  enjoyed his expressive and emotive style: “With these songs of awareness, we celebrate our creative connection with an intention of healing.” For this concert Rob is teaming up with bluegrass mandolin/guitarist Perry Welsh, who brings his dynamic picking/strumming patterns to this musical collaboration in which unique rhythms frame the narrative elements of Rob’s songs. It’s gonna be fun!  Listen 

Btw, for those of you who are musicians, Artisan Wine Gallery offers free wine tastings to anyone who volunteers for a fifteen-minute gig in the shop during our regular open hours! Acoustic music sounds great in our space, no amps necessary…all you have to do is show up!

Music from 4-6pm. Suggested donation is $15. Wine by the glass.

Space is limited, so please email us to reserve space.

Hours This Week

We are away for a few days this weekend on Family Business. The wine shop is open for Bread Friday with and wine tasting as usual, but Closed on Saturday. We apologize for any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you all next weekend.


Wine Tasting