Comments Off on lummi island wine tasting june 23 ’16

lummi island wine tasting june 23 ’16

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Friday Breads (email us to get on the preorder mailing list! )

20141024-122220.jpgPain Meunier –aka miller’s bread, and includes all parts of the wheat berry: cracked wheat, whole wheat, wheat germ, and bread flour – great for toast! – $5/loaf.

Italian Walnut & Golden Raisin Made with bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat. Full of toasted walnuts for a bit of crunch and golden raisins and a little bit of honey for some sweetness. The walnuts and raisins make this a nice bread to go with cheese – $5/loaf.

Brioche Tart au Sucre – A rich brioche dough that is full of eggs, butter and sugar, rolled out into individual tarts and topped with more eggs, sugar and butter that form a delicious caramelized crust on top of the tart when baked – 2/$5


Sheep and Wine

This weekend our tasting menu includes Writers Block, made from cabernet franc grown in Lake County, California. The Writers Block (and Shooting Star ) labels are among several owned by Steele Winery in Lake County, California. The grapes for Writers Block come from Shannon Ridge Vineyards, where owner Clay Shannon has developed a sustainable farming system which integrates raising sheep and growing healthy vineyards into a symbiotic natural system. Over a thousand sheep wander through the vineyards, eating both grass and protein-rich grape leaves, and and converting it to natural fertilizer to continue the cycle.

About a third of the total acreage is left natural, providing both habitat and migration corridors for the abundant wildlife native to the area, including eagles, bears, elk, lots of smaller mammals and nesting for migrating birds. So this weekend when you enjoy this tasty cab franc, maybe it will taste even better knowing where it comes from!     link to video



Cinsault is a red wine grape found across much of Mediterranean France, from the Spanish border across Languedoc, where it is used to add perfume and fruit to red wines, as in Minervois and Corbières, and further east it is often blended into the iconic Provencal rosés, for which its light skin and soft perfume is particularly well-suited, typically blended with some combination of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre.

The grape has also found its way into a few Washington vineyards, including The Benches (formerly Wallula Vineyard), located along the Columbia River. These “Benches” were formed during the Great Lake Missoula floods some 20,000 years ago; their strange resemblance to the little ridges one sees in sand along a beach is what in 1922 prompted Geologist Harlan Bretz to start imagining that they were caused by Catastrophic Flooding. It would be another twenty years before his theories found support in research into Glacial Lake Missoula, a fascinating chapter in our region’s geological history.

This week’s rosé is from Woodinville winery JM Cellars. It is made primarily from cinsault. It is not shy. It does not smell or taste like a typical rosé. It is as full of aroma and flavor as a big fat chardonnay, or viognier, or roussanne. But it’s a rosé, basically a red grape trying to pass as a white wine. Whatever the Big Floods did to the geology of the Benches, it has been great for grapes!


There is a lot going on these days in Planetary Politics, nationally and globally. The Familiar Polarities of Right and Left now seem Global. Everyone is Talking with Great Conviction about what needs to be done. Everyone is Talking and No One is Listening. It’s our Own Modern Tower of Babel moment. Scary Stuff– lots of blaming, accusing, finger- pointing, and Bluster. Not a lot of Compromise. Not a lot of interest in “incremental change.”

Maybe this is all the continuing unfolding of the Legacy of 911, by which every Slight is a Grievance; every Grievance demands Vengeance; and every Dishonor demands Blood, to the extent that many entire societies are coming unraveled, collapsing under people’s feet. We stand in long lines and take our shoes off to board an airplane, while entire countries collapse into chaos and suffering. The Right circles its wagons around its Core Values, which are…um…let’s see…well don’t you worry they have them somewhere. And the Left finds itself splitting across different Fault Lines between its own Elite and its Labor Roots.

On the Other Hand, there are a few small but hopeful signs of Thaw in various places. In Colombia the FARC have signed a cease-fire with the Government, possibly ending decades of active warfare. In Congress, a small but dedicated group of Representatives staged a show of Solidarity for the development of a Reasonable set of gun control rules to protect Public Safety after the latest Mass Murder by Assault Weapon. And…and…let’s see there WAS something else Hopeful, let me think a minute…

This week’s wine tasting

Arindo Verdejo ’14 Spain $11
Bright straw. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of lime pith, pear skin and white flowers, with a mineral topnote. Dry and sharply focused, with nervy citrus over a hint of bitter quinine with orange zest and jasmine qualities.

JM Cellars Cinsault Rosé ’15 Washington $24
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!

Borsao Garnacha ’13    Spain $10
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.

Linen Red ’13   Washington   $11
Syrah-cab blend. Opens with charcoal, blackberry and spice on the nose, with flavors of plum, cassis, and cedar in the
turning to blackberry and peppery black fruits on the finish.

Writers Block Cab Franc ’13   California    $15
A perennial favorite here, with aromas of red cherry, raspberry, plum, and licorice. Flavors are of red fruit, raspberry, and plum with smooth acidity, followed by soft tannins.

Wine Tasting
Comments Off on lummi island wine tasting june 17 ’16

lummi island wine tasting june 17 ’16

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Friday Breads (email us to get on the preorder mailing list! )

Oops! Janice has been away this week, so no bread pickup this Friday. Look for her pre-order email in your box Sunday or Monday for next week’s offerings…!




Rosé Season!

DSCN1490Yes, folks, the rosé shrine at the top of the stairs now now displays about about ten different rosés. Yesterday and today have qualified as Perfect Rosé Days– sunny with lots of big puffy white clouds accenting lots of clear Blue Sky, temperatures perfect (pushing 70), a light breeze, everything in Full Bloom.

Nothing beats a pre-dinner glass of rosé on the deck on days like these. Raise your glasses to the Magic of Summer and repeat after me:   “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh…!”




Mont Sainte-Victoire

This week’s rosé is from a region about 25 km east of Aix en Provence, and just south of the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, a favorite subject of Paul Cezanne, who lived in Aix. Apparently Cezanne became enamored with the mountain on a train ride across the bridge near the foot of the mountain in 1878, and subsequently did numerous paintings of it. In most of them the railroad bridge, with its many Roman arches, can be seen in the landscape…can you find it?

Provence, of course, has set the standard for the style of rosé that has become immensely popular around the US in recent years, and this wine is a typical blend of 35% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, and 10% Rolle (aka the smooth and flavorful Italian grape vermentino).


 The Underground Wine Project

The “Underground Wine Project” is a collaboration among Mark McNeilly and Mike MacMorran of Mark Ryan Winery and Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars. We first met Trey some years ago when he was winemaker for Basel Cellars in Walla Walla, which is still worth a visit next time you are in Walla Walla, if only for the curiously overstated decor. We also attended a wine dinner back in those days at Oyster Creek down Chuckanut Drive featuring wines from Basel with Trey there to pour them. In particular I remember that he had hastily bottled (and not yet filtered or labeled) some of his newest white blend, called “Forget Me Not,” a traditional White Bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon.

All you need to know is that raw oysters have always been a bit challenging for me, but with the Right Wine I can heartily enjoy at least a few. And in my modest experience, the “Right Wine” definitely involves sauvignon blanc, and it is a toss-up whether the best pairing is with a White Bordeaux (blend of sauv blanc and semillon) or the straight, minerally, sea-scented sauvignon blancs from the little area at the eastern end of the Loire Valley, including Sancerre, Quincy or Reuilly. The common thread seems to be that ancient soil, rich in millions-of-years old seashells, still sing a salty song of open ocean  that resonates Mightily with the Briny Oyster.

But I digress. The main point is that many of you are familiar with Trey Busch’s wine, because we have long carried his very popular “Renegade” second label; his “Renegade Red” has been an over-delivering favorite with most of you for several years now. Very Western in style, his wines are not at all Shy, and this is particularly true of the Underground Wine Project wines, which put their Fruit right in Your Face, where you are moved to Jump In and Wallow. So it is with that introduction we announce the new vintage of Underground Wine Project’s “Idle Hands,” from 100% Washington Syrah from Red Heaven Vineyard on Red Mountain, Washington State’s premier wine appellation. You’re gonna like it!


The Return of Dreamtime!

dreamtime1As both of our Regular Readers will note, last July, on a sudden Irrational Impulse, we Bought a Boat (Dreamtime) the day after we Sold a Boat (Layla). According to Popular Wisdom, the Two Best Days in a Boatowner’s life are The Day You Buy and The Day You Sell. The Big Takeaway here is that we were Giddy on Boat Buying and Selling—what could possibly Go Wrong?

Well, anyone who has lived long enough to have Spent Some Time with Murphy knows that Life is Cyclical. Or as Ecclesiastes might say, a Time for Everything In Its Season. And don’t forget Murphy’s Most Important Corollary– when things DO go Wrong, it will be at The Worst Possible Time, as it was when a Seriously Unusual Gale hit Lummi Island late last August which tore our Baby Boat from her mooring and cracked her open on the rocks near the ferry dock.

All these months later, after a LOT of Work, Dreamtime is back in the water and being Refitted for Service. And in Deference to Good Omens, we are happy to report that on her Maiden Voyage yesterday of at least several hundred yards from one slip to another at our dear Squalicum Marina, we were moved to Stop and Hail at our friend (and Wine Merchant Extraordinaire) Laurent’s boat about halfway across the Marina, only to find that we were crashing an ongoing Wine Tasting. I mean, Really, does it get any Better than This?!! And yes, next weekend you may expect to reap Dividends from this highly impromptu Tasting, which included a number of very tasty and well-priced white wines…!


This week’s wine tasting

Waitsburg “Three” White ’14   Washington   $15
Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Picpoul from Boushey Vineyard: Bright, light yellow; aromas and flavors of orange zest, pink grapefruit, quince, and menthol,  with a  mineral and anise notes.

Gassier Esprit Rosé ’15  France $15
A very clear rosé with shades of peach; floral nose with white and yellow fruit notes (peach, apricot, pear); in the mouth, round and delicate with notes of white peach, mandarin and grapefruit.

Anciano  5-Yr Tempranillo Riserva ’08   Spain    $11
Aromas of damp earth, mocha, tobacco, and black cherry. On the palate it is sweetly fruited, easy-going, and nicely balanced leading to a seamless, fruity finish.

Bocelli Sangiovese Italy $14
Bright,, lush, and appealing; deliciously ripe and smoky, with notes of marasca cherry, granite, and rhubarb compote. Finish is long and dry, with admirable acidity that makes the palate taut and pleasing

Idle Hands Syrah ’13     Washington        $27
A classic Red Mountain Fruit Bomb with plenty of ripe cherries, blueberries, and hints of Chambord liqueur,  spices, and lusciously smooth texture. Big and fruit-forward with the density and power that has become the hallmark of the Underground Wine Project.


Wine Tasting
Comments Off on lummi island wine tasting june 10 ’16

lummi island wine tasting june 10 ’16

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Friday Breads (email us to get on the preorder mailing list! )

dscn1364 (Modified)Honey Rye – A great country bread made with about fifty percent fresh milled rye for lots of that great rye flavor. Some of the rye is coarsely milled for more texture, with honey added to balance the flavor of the whole grain. A great bread for meat and cheese – $5/loaf.

Light Rye – What most of us have in mind when thinking of “rye bread.” About fifteen percent fresh milled rye, 85% bread flour, and caraway seeds. A nice light rye flavor with the spice from the caraway. Makes for great sandwiches – $5/loaf.

Bagels Made with an overnight fermentation to really bring out the flavor, then, in the traditional manner, boiled in a water bath with malt syrup before being dipped into poppy or sesame seeds and baked. Each order comes with a mix of toppings – bakers choice only-  4/$5.


Limoux: 500 years of Bubbly

Everyone has heard of Champagne (the wine), which is essentially a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France,  east and a bit south from Paris. It has such Global caché you would think they invented the method. But they didn’t. The earliest reference to sparkling wine, in the records of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Hilaire, dates back to 1531. Residents of Limoux believe the so-called “methode champenois” was actually developed in Limoux, in the shadow of the iconic Pic de Bugarach. (shown at left)

By this “traditional method,” bubbles are produced in the wine by a second fermentation that takes place when yeast is added to each bottle, which is then recorked. When secondary fermentation is completed, the wines are uncorked, yeast residue removed, and rebottled. These days, while blanquette de Limoux is still made mainly from the grape mauzac, the more “internationally styled” Cremant de Limoux is predominantly chardonnay and chenin blanc (as in Champagne), with only a vestigial proportion of mauzac– though hopefully still enough to produce sparkling wines that are fresh and grassy with aromas of green apple. More to the point for this weekend, contemporary Cremants de Limoux may include pinot noir, a red grape, which opens the door for a delicious sparkling rosé, the Limoux version of a “blanc de noirs.” Will you still taste a bit of green apple…?


While we try to stay true to our roots of featuring “artisan wines,” we are sometimes led a bit astray. Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with that…! In this case last week I was in a doctor’s waiting room and found a recent copy of Wine Spectator, so of course thumbed through it. Each issue has a section in the back with reviews of recently released (or tasted) wines. Since malbecs are consistently popular with our locals, I was intrigued by some nice scores going to a series of Argentine malbecs from an outfit called Kaiken, which turns out to be an Argentine acquisition of the large Chilean wine producer, Montes.

It turns out that Montes acquired the winery only a few years ago, but it had been in production since 1920. Its current production is on the order of 750,000 cases. That is a LOT of wine, especially when measured against our back-of-the-envelope definition of an “artisan winery” as one producing between 2000 and 5000 cases per year. In other words, these guys make as much as 150 artisan winemakers. Kinda takes your breath away, huh…? Does it mean anything? Yeah, I think it probably does. But we are simple creatures, governed by taste buds, a pleasure-oriented decision framework, and simple economics. Just enjoy it, it’s pretty good stuff!

Bye, Bye, Bernie

Well, it’s been a Good Run. Against All Odds a curmudgeonly old guy from New England ( I can So Relate!) hopped on his old horse, turned his old microphone into a Lance of sorts, and headed into the Rhetorical Wasteland to have it out with the Corporate Windmills. And he fought an incredibly Good Fight. And lost. Of course. We should not be surprised. Like, Dude, what part of “Impossible” don’t you understand about the Impossible Dream…you know, “To right the unrightable wrong …To reach the unreachable star …”

Fast forward. Well, not that fast, as it took the whole Primary Season to unfold. But tonight, as Hillary Consolidates her Base, our Progressive Heroine Elizabeth Warren spoke with Uncharacteristic Passion about the coming Battle between HIllary and Trump. Is she a candidate for Veep? Is she setting herself up for 2020? Hard to say. But what is clear already is that she will play an important role in the coming campaign and election as well as the one after that.

And did I mention I attended a rally for her in Seattle when she was running for Senate from Massachusetts, and came that close to an actual Handshake…??!! The question is, will she pick up the Reins of Bernie’s Movement….??? Stay tuned!



This week’s wine tasting Bye, Bye, Bernie

J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Rose    France      $14
 A longtime favorite here at AWG–Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Noir; shows a gentle yeastiness, effusive effervescence and rich, tangy, mouth-filling fruit. Makes just about anything Festive!

Cloudlift Chardonnay ’12   Washington    $18
Enticing aromas of Gala apple, white peach, and apple blossoms, with nicely balanced fruit compote flavors with minerally notes of peach stone and alluvial minerals.

Pugliani Treggiaia ’14    Italy     $11
A smooth and satisfying blend of sangiovese, canniolo & cab, serious but friendly, delightful with anything from pizza to lamb chops.

Airfield Estates Merlot ’13 Washington $14
Slightly muted nose with dill, red cherry and raspberry, and flavors of red cherry, pomegranate, dill and milk chocolate. Silky texture with good balance.

Kaiken “Ultra” Malbec ’12     Argentina   $17
Aromas of cassis, cocoa powder and licorice. Juicy and fine-grained, with dark berry and bitter chocolate flavors. Nicely pliant and persistent.

Wine Tasting
Comments Off on lummi island wine tasting June 3 ’16

lummi island wine tasting June 3 ’16

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Friday Breads (email us to get on the preorder mailing list! )

dscn1364 (Modified)Toasted Pecan Flax Seed – this bread is made with a rye flour starter, but the final dough is made with a mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Toasted pecans and flax seeds are added for texture and flavor and a little honey to balance out the whole grains. A great flavorful artisan bread – $5/loaf.

Heidebrot – a great country rye bread made with about half bread flour and half fresh milled rye with a rye levain. With no other additions the rye flavor really shines in this bread. Great bread with meats and cheese – $5/loaf.

And, for a bit of pastry this week…yes, oh yes, they’re back…

BEARCLAWS!! – made with a rich, danish dough loaded with butter and eggs and filled with an almond filling, rolled up and sliced. Then topped with sliced almonds, and – because bears love honey – topped with a delicious honey glaze. 2/$5.



Jean-Luc Colombo

DSCN1497 (Modified)Jean-Luc Colombo has built a reputation as one of France’s most talented and creative winemakers, mainly in the Northern Rhone region, and more recently expanding into the South. Both his mother and grandmother were chefs, nurturing a life-long curiosity about both food and wine. In the mid-1970s his wine interests led him to the small Northern Rhone appellation of Cornas and its central focus on Syrah, where he helped give new life to the image of Cornas wines as deep, dark, and robust. His wines can sometimes be quite fruit-forward in something of a New World style, while keeping the wines expressive of their place of origin.

In keeping with his philosophy of combining the best of Old and New World winemaking skills, Colombo employs modern organic vineyard management practices including limiting yields per vine.  He does not shy away from using new French oak for aging his better wines, which are typically modern and international in style without sacrificing the nuances of terroir that are the mainstay of Old World winemaking.

This week’s rosé is a good easy-drinking example of Jean-Luc Colombo’s  winemaking style, with 66% syrah and 33% mourvedre.  The grapes sit on the skins for only about ten hours, followed by a three-week, low temperature fermentation to ehance primary aromas and freshness.

No, this isn’t a Gray Bunny guess again!

DSCN1498 (Modified)Found this item sitting on the grass in front of the house today. A plastic bag with its little handles neatly tied to look just like cute little bunny ears. Is that Adorable or What?

On close examination, this neatly tied little package turns out to be someone’s Doggie Bag…no, no, not That kind of Doggie Bag, with food brought home from a restaurant. A Different kind of doggie bag– the kind you use to pick up little deposits your dog leaves in inappropriate places where people might step in them, or see them, or smell them, or otherwise find them a nuisance. Such bags are readily available at most places dogs and their Companion Humans wander. The Standard Protocol is to turn them inside out over your hand, scoop up any offensive deposits your dog might have left behind,  transport them to an appropriate disposal site. Easy to use, and everyone is happy, right?

As this picture shows, obviously there are people Out There who don’t seem to grok the part about using the bag to remove the offensive material to an appropriate disposal site! NO, NO, NO, our yard is NOT an appropriate disposal site! You see this kind of thing and you can only stare in Disbelief and wonder earnestly: “WTF are these people thinking…??”


DSCN1496 (Modified)Let’s face it, these flowers have an exotic look (you know, like fuchsia, or like anything by Dali), and they are in Full Bloom here on the Island right now. This one is just down the street, looming over our neighbor’s mailbox. It seems to love being there, as it has been Thriving there for many years. It exudes a heady perfume that fills the air around it and makes us slow down and sniff as we walk by. Yes, it is a little flamboyant, perhaps a tad overstated…but all in all, it is carefree and Stylish and a pleasure to see and sniff…a definite Sign that Summer is just upon us!




Papa Bear and Baby Bear

IMG_0317Seriozha has now been on the planet for a whole week, still, you know, getting to know the place. Obviously he already has the figured out that Mama Bear and Papa Bear are warm and cozy, a safe haven in this noisy, bright, and breezy World.

As for Nana Bear Pat, she just got home from Sonoma a few minutes ago and is looking forward to seeing you all this weekend! And maybe showing you a few baby pictures…be warned!







This week’s wine tasting

La Rocaliere Lirac Blanc ’13 France $15 
Grenache Blanc and Clairette. Subtle, elegant floral aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, and verbena. Rich and round on the palate, with wonderful notes of fresh citrus. Completely delightful!

Jean-Luc Colombo Rosé Cape Bleue ’15 France
Soft, delicate pink Bouquet Subtle hints of peach, rose petal and pepper on the nose Taste Surprisingly complex, with intriguing notes of raspberry, cherry and black olive Alcohol 12.5%

Venta Morales Tempranillo ’15    Spain   $9
Deep ruby/purple color in addition to lots of berry fruit and a touch of licorice presented in a lush, fruit-driven style.

St. Francis Red Splash ’11 California $12
Lush merlot-based blend with succulent ripe red fruit flavors and spicy aromas. Full-bodied and versatile, with luscious raspberry fruit and spicy clove notes, a round midpalate, and well-structured length.

Perazzeta “Emma” Sangiovese ’14 Italy $18
From a clone of Sangiovese thought extinct for 150 years– rich and spicy, with aromatic hints of eucalyptus.

Wine Tasting