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lummi island wine tasting december 8 ’17

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No Bread this week

With apologies to Our Faithful, your Baker is Away this week. She will be in touch with the mailing list on Sunday about next week’s bread offerings. If you haven’t saved any in the freezer, you might (gasp!) have to buy a commercial loaf to tide you over.

 

 

 

 

 

New Art Show

Last weekend we installed our Winter show, with some new watercolors by Meredith Moench. It is always fun to see how our artists develop from year to year, both in style, skill, and subject matter. Here are two examples of a new (to our eyes) bright look in Meredith’s work…looks like something here about putting the “Wild” into Wild Flowers…quite captivating. Be sure to take time to look at these new works…you will probably want to take one home with you!

 

Gender Truth and Reconciliation

We seem to be in the midst of a Cultural Revolution here in America. Civilizations by and large don’t seem to have done much to protect women’s rights since Writing was invented about 5000 years ago. According to some accounts, that’s when God told Dominant Males they They had Been Chosen to Exercise God’s Will on Earth, including Dominion over anyone Less Powerful. Therefore human history is pretty much the story of Dominant Males coming up with all kinds of reasons why everyone else’s Stuff is really Theirs, and how God wants Them to kill or enslave the Godless Infidels who took their Stuff and take it back, and thus the History of our Species is an endless Unfolding Kaleidoscope of Rationalized Brutality and  Cruelty. Or, as we euphemistically refer to it nowadays, “Politics.”

While this Need to Control may very well have once had long-term Darwinian Genetic Advantages for our Emergent Species, in the last few Centuries (a blink of the Evolutionary Eye) it has become (arguably) an Evolutionary Constraint. Despite the creation of the Magna Carta, the UN,  the U. S. Constitution, and the World Court, all urging peace and equality, Inevitably, in the Name of God, or Country, or Whichever Ancient Book, or Whatever Cause Du Jour, the Dominant Males keep us on a Path to Destruction. Figuring out how to stop them has been the Deep Koan of an Entire Generation.

So with that Perspective we Acknowledge that the Toolbox of the Dominant Male includes Violence toward Everyone and Everything that threatens to limit their Power, and this has Regularly, Thoughtlessly, Selfishly, and Unacceptably fallen on the least powerful in every culture and society: women, children, the poor, the sick, the minority Others.

Today we find Our Nation entering what might be a Profound Cultural Revolution that will go a long way toward improving Gender Equality. Or, given 50 Centuries of Human History, it might involve the Symbolic Skewering of a few Minor Players, after which the DM’s will quietly Regroup, Consolidate, and Go On as if Nothing Had Happened. Bottom line: just because Gender Justice is a worthy cause doesn’t mean it isn’t being used as a Political Tool by the Party of Dominant Males. Disgracing and unseating Al may be fleetingly satisfying to some women; but it may Way More Satisfying to the DM’s who are always pulling the strings. We shall see. Or as Senator Franken noted today, it is Ironic (and Disturbing) that he has to Go while Trump and Roy Moore remain Invulnerable. I mean, Really, No Wonder the Other Species just Roll Their Eyes when they look at us…!

 

Mar a Lago Update: Tearing Down the New Deal

Well, folks, it’s late here at the Wine Gallery. So we will leave this topic till next week. Meanwhile, send in your thoughts on it, and don’t forget to come by the Wine Shop this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s wine tasting

Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc ’16   Canada   
Pale lemon in the glass, honeysuckle, grass, citrus, pear and melon mingle together on the nose. The palate is dry and complex with beautifully balanced acidity, lovely weight and mid-palate texture, along with its characteristic stony mineral note. Great with NW seafood!

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!

Chateau Les Croisille Cahors Malbec “Croizillon” ’15      France    $15
100% malbec organically farmed by hand; aromas and flavors of black cherry, saddle leather, blackberry, cocoa and spice.

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.

Pomum Shya Cabernet Sauvignon  ’12    Washington   $35
Slightly porty aromas of black cherry, tar, licorice, wild herbs, cocoa powder and spices. Densely packed and energetic, conveying flavors of dark berries and spicy oak. Serious and persistent boasting very good lift and structure.

Wine Tasting
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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
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lummi island wine tasting december 30 ’16

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Friday Breads

dscn1364 (Modified)Seeded Country Hearth- a portion of the flour is pre-fermented overnight in a poolish which allows for a jump start on the enzymatic activity. Made with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Then loaded up with pumpkin sunflower and poppy seeds A nice hearty bread that is a great all around bread -$5/loaf

Levain w/ Pecans and Dried Cherries – made with a levain, also known as sourdough, a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Then toasted pecans and dried cherries are added for a nice crunch and sweetness. The addition of dried fruit makes this a great pairing with cheese – $5/loaf

And a special Holiday pastry…

Gibassier – A traditional Christmas time french pastry that includes the sunny flavors of Provence. Made with a rich dough full of eggs, butter and sugar, and then olive oil, orange flower water, candied orange peel and anise seed are added. Ooh, la, la! Quantities are limited so get your order in fast so you don’t miss out – 2/$5

 

Holiday Chocolate!

If you are looking for last-minute stocking stuffers (or treats for yourself!) note that we have restocked our chocolate shelves with more offerings from Theo, Seattle’s Premier Chocolatier, and more of the super-refined bars from “Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate,” an innovative and refined chocolatier in Eureka, California, including their Truly Delicious, hedonistic, and Deeply Comforting Drinking Chocolate, both the Regular and the Peppermint.

With the New Year Looming, now is the time to make that Resolution you have been Waffling about for Decades: A Day Without Chocolate Is a Day Without Meaning!”

 

2016: Year of the Monkey

According to the Astrology Club , The Monkey is an inventive and independent problem solver who symbolizes irrepressible curiosity and creative energy. Intelligent, hyperactive, and sociopathic, the Monkey is free from inhibitions and guilt, not hesitating to test his theories on an unwitting audience. His innate problem-solving tendencies can turn the Monkey into a tricky, opportunistic, and deceptive tactician, whose unscrupulous and adolescent fantasies can both entertain and lead to Disaster.

As I said a year ago when I posted this paragraph, Hmm…I’m getting a bad feeling about this…!

So The Thing that is Now on All Our Minds is, um, now that the Monkey is In Charge, what about (cringe) 2017?

 

2017: Year of the Fire Rooster

The Rooster is one of three Chinese astrological signs that are energetically unbalanced, in this case the Fire side of Yin, which on the one hand can be sort of warm and fuzzy, hearth-like if you will, not at all a bad thing. It also suggests rewards under this sign will come more from hard work and patience than by chance. In general terms the 2017 combination of Fire with Metal (in each 12-year cycle the Rooster aligns with a different one of the Five Elements) will make for complications and tensions that make problem-solving even more challenging. So even though generally people will be more polite and less stubborn, they will be pragmatically oriented toward a sort of muddling through  until things get better, which might take Awhile.

One possible Takeaway from this is something like “keep your eye on the ball, be kind, and stay focused on creating the conditions for things to get better a little down the road.

As I write this, the phrase comes to mind “Muddling Through Mediocrity,” which rings a bell as a book I read many years ago, but to which I can find no reference. Puzzling. Yet this is where this little toy thought train comes into the Station on the “Year of the Fire Rooster”…not so much in the Realm of Ultimate Disaster, but more that of “Keep Your Head Down till it all Blows Over…”

 

Twelfth Annual “East Coast” New Year’s Eve

Logo_winterPlease join us for our annual “East Coast New Year’s Eve Party” from 7- 9pm on New Year’s Eve! We provide the wine, and You bring Something Delicious to Share. When the ball drops in Times Square three hours East, we all hoist our glasses, belt out Auld Lang Syne, and toast the New Year! We welcome this annual opportunity to thank all of you for your support during past year, and toast to even more fun in Aught-Seventeen! Arrrr, lads and lassies, mark yer calendars now ‘n’ start planning yer finger food!

NOTE: The shop WILL BE OPEN Friday, Dec 30 as usual from 4-7, but only open on New Year’s Eve for The Party from 7-9!

Prizes! We will again this year have a Secret Operative sampling the dishes and Assigning Points! Yummiest Dish wins a $25 credit, and Yummiest-Looking Dish wins a $15-dollar credit! So make ’em Good an’ make ’em Pretty!

 

Another good week for The Coopster!

20161222-152339.jpgCoopie’s blood test last week showed his red cell count had increased from a barely alive 17 after his transfusion to 24, meaning he is making red cells faster than he is losing them. He has had good energy and a great appetite this week, and is enjoying being Himself. Though I realize I am probably not being entirely objective about this, it is becoming increasingly clear that yes, he is, indeed the Best Dog Ever, totally tuned in to what is going on around him in every moment.

As you know there are dogs that people love and leave alone all day while they are at work; then when they come home the dog has a vague look of “Have you been Gone?”

Herding dogs in general and Cooper in particular are more of the cloth of looking you directly in the eye as if to say, “You have Abandoned me for four hours and thirty-five minutes; how are you going to make it up to me?” In short, he has a Strong Presence and a Charismatic Personality, an Admirable Being in every respect, who stands Squarely on His Own Four Feet.

On a practical level we are getting better at administering his herbal supplements–  turkey tail mushroom capsules to boost his immune system, and yunnan baiyao, a Chinese herb blend invented a century ago that is quite effective at reducing bleeding, either internally or from wounds. Hiding capsules in food is still hit or miss, but the easiest method of administration. However he is a smart guy and if he detects the capsule before he swallows its tasty wrapping he is adept at separating it from the good stuff and leaving it on the floor. At that point we resort to the more direct method of open the  and getting better with practice. Still, though, it is So much Easier for All Concerned when pill is embedded in a nice piece of sausage!

 

This week’s Wine Tasting

Waitsburg Cellars “Three” white  ’15   Washington  $16
Outstanding blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Picpoul; Medium-bodied, pure, clean and lively, with lots of apple blossom, buttered citrus and hints of tangerine on the nose. Rich and fresh with hint of bitters on the finish.

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.

Gilbert Pilgrim Red    Washington    $17
Malbec, grenache, pinot noir; nose of dried cranberry and pomegranate with white pepper and mint notes; flavors begin soft, round, smooth and balanced.

Tommasi Poggio Al Tufo Rompicollo ’12      Italy  93pts   $18
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pulent, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice, and herb aromas and flavors. Velvety, opulent, well balanced and smooth, with long, with lush, smooth tannins. Terrific buy!

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.

 

Wine Tasting
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lummi island wine tasting november 4 ’16

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Friday Breads

dscn1364 (Modified)Barley & Rye with Pumpkin SeedsMade with a levain (sourdoug) that is fermented overnight before being mixed with bread, barley, rye and whole wheat, some buttermilk and honey and then loaded with toasted pumpkin seeds. Makes for a very flavorful bread – $5/loaf.

Kamut Levain –  another overnight levain of bread flour with fresh milled whole kamut, also known as khorason wheat – an ancient grain of the middle east now grown in (we are not making this up) Montana. Some people find it easier to digest than the normal hard red wheat most used in bread.  – $5/loaf.

And for pastry this week…

Chocolate CroissantsOoh La La, also made with an overnight levain, and a hint of whole wheat and wheat germ before being rolled out and laminated with rich European butter. and filled with chocolate before baking. – 2/$5

 

Gilbert Cellars

At a recent trade tasting we spent a fair amount of time talking with Charlie Gilbert, who poured for us a number of current releases from Gilbert Cellars in Yakima. His great-grandfather moved his family to Washington from Illinois in 1897, and over the next fifty years built an extended family business with hundreds of acres of orchards in the Yakima Valley. Charlie’s grandfather Curtiss, returned from the front in WWI in 1918, also became an avid outdoorsman who often hiked with William O. Douglas. Curtiss died in 1947; in 1948 Justice Douglas was instrumental in naming the tallest peak in Washington’s Goat Rocks wilderness– where they had hiked– Gilbert Peak (photo, left), after his old friend. You can read more of the family history here.

Gilbert Cellars began in 2002 as something of an experiment in making wine for the extended family. It has grown into something of a showcase of what careful artisan winemaking can do with Yakima Valley fruit. Under winemaker Justin Neufeld their wines have won numerous high scoring reviews, and over the next few weeks we look forward to pouring several selections for you. We begin this weekend with their Pilgrim Red, a curious blend of malbec, grenache, and (I’m not making this up) pinot noir. Treat yourself by coming by and checking it out.

 

Last of the Moulinier

moulinier_logoDomaine Moulinier is something of an icon here at AWG, as a search through our blog archive will reveal. We visited Moulinier on our first trip to France, around 2011, about a year before many of you also visited there on one of several tours with our own Ryan Wildstar.

As we wrote at the time, “The winery is in its fifth and sixth generations with retiring winemaker Guy Moulinier (we had a great time trying to understand each other while he gave us a tour of the winery) and his son Stephane who now makes most of the wines. In the winery are astonishing displays of fossils and artifacts dug up in the past hundred years in their vineyards, including dinosaur eggs and bones and stone tools of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon hominids. Their collection rivals anything you would see in a museum, really amazing.”

At this point I am sad to say that the Northeast importer with whom Ryan arranged to bring a number of French wines into Washington is no longer importing them into the country, and therefore they will not be available for the foreseeable future. We will continue to explore avenues to acquire these wines (Moulinier and La Liquiere in particular). This weekend we are pouring our last available case of the Moulinier Cotes du Rhone…  🙁

 

Life As We Know It

A couple of months ago the NASA Space Station took this photo of two hurricanes about 400 and 1300 miles respectively from the Big Island of Hawaii. This is interesting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is seeing two hurricanes, not only happening at the same time, but close enough to each other to be visible in the same photo. Like, that’s so Alarming it’s definitely beyond OMD and is a long way toward WTF. Maybe we need a new Acronym that is like those two only, you know, Way More So.

For some years now cyclonic megastorms (Hurricanes, Typhoons, or Cyclones depending on their location)  have been getting Worse, causing more Damage, Loss, and Misery. This is not a Surprise. One of the Basic Features of Global Warming is that there is more Heat in the Atmosphere, and therefore there is more Kinetic Energy in the atmosphere, and therefore No One should be Surprised that Big Storms are getting Bigger and do More and More Damage.

Sure, you say to yourself, Everybody Knows That. But what does it have to do with the Election next week?

It has to do with the Fact that apparently millions of our Fellow Citizens will not believe in Climate Change until their houses blow away and Sea Level is up to their Ears. On the Contrary, they are continually on the Lookout for the Snake Oil that will Make Everything All Right Again. They are Angry, they are Poorly Informed, and they are Completely Unaware that “President of the United States” is pretty close to the most demanding job on our Planet, and that, yes, there ought to be some Minimal Qualifications for the job, and no, your vote should not be an Offhand Decision.

This is a Very Scary Time. folks. Be sure to vote. And be sure to drop by the wine shop this weekend. In these Difficult Times, it’s a Welcome Comfort. And May the Force Be With Us…!

 

This week’s wine tasting

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc ’15    New Zealand      $16
Complex nose melds citrus peel and tropical fruits with notes of dill, lemongrass, anise and menthol. Plump and slightly liqueur-like with menthol and anise notes joined by quinine and pepper nuances on the finish.

Gilbert Pilgrim Red    Washington    $17
Malbec, grenache, pinot noir; nose of dried cranberry and pomegranate with white pepper and mint notes; flavors begin soft, round, smooth and balanced.

Domaine Moulinier Rouge ’12        France       $13
70% Syrah, 25% Grenache, and 5% Mourvèdre; Nice spice and garrigue on the nose, with a broad palate of ripe red fruit, with a bit of orange note on the finish. Smooth and soothing.

Lovo Cabernet Veneto ’15       Italy       $11
A new Italian face on a familiar varietal, this surprisingly tasty cabernet is unoaked, bright, clean, and zesty.

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.

 

Wine Tasting