lummi island wine tasting feb 26 ’21

 

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Bread This Week

Le Pave d’autrefois – which translates roughly as old paving stones. This is a ciabatta like bread with a lot of hydration so is simply divided into approximate squares – hence the paving stones name. Made with a mix of bread flour as well as fresh milled whole wheat, rye and buckwheat flours for a lot of hearty whole grain goodness. A great artisan bread -$5/loaf

Black Pepper Walnut- made with bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A fair amount of black pepper and toasted walnuts give this bread great flavor with just a bit of peppery bite to it. Would go well with all sorts of meats and cheese – $5/loaf

Pain aux Raisin – made with the same laminated dough as croissants. The dough is rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with a mix of golden raisins and dried cranberries soaked in sugar syrup. Rolled up and sliced before baking. – 2/$5

 

Wines of the Week: Six Wines from Portugal

One of our members has long been lobbying for us to carry more Portuguese wines. Over the last month or two we have tasted and brought in a half dozen very tasty red wines that provide a delicious introduction to a wine tradition that dates back to Roman times. As a group despite modernization of viniculture and enology, these wines still represent faithfully the traditional characteristics of their subregions, in this case the cooler, Atlantic influenced Douro and Dao regions, and the drier and hotter Alentejo region bordering Spain.

Vila Nova Douro Red ’18     Portugal     $12
Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo, Touriga Franca; dark ruby color with jammy notes of ripe blueberry and blackberry with crisp accents and a seamless, well-balanced finish with silky tannins.

Quinta Do Vallado Douro Red ’14            Portugal            $16
Blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional,Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Lovely, floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit;  supple yet structured with notes of epper, meat and a lovely herbal twist.

Vicente Faria Gloria Douro Reserva ’16    Portugal    $16
40% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Nacional & 30% Touriga Franca; Juicy and delicious blend with aromas of fleshy black plum and blackberries; aged in oak barrels, full-bodied and smooth.

Quinto do Vallado 10 yr Tawny Port        Portugal      $29
Rich, fresh, and velvety aromas of dry fruits, praline, and orange confit with a note of tobacco on the very persistent and complex finish.

Eloquente Dao Tinto ’18 Portugal $9
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, and Alfrocheiro Pret; rich and intense, a popular wine from the Dao region with clear ruby color, and clean aroma of red and ripe fruits; soft, balanced flavor with a long finish.

Carmim Reguengos Alentejo Tinto ’18    Portugal     $9
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Fresh, supple, and structured, with lovely black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with notes of pepper, meat, and a lovely herbal twist.

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience. EZ-PZ!

ALSO, we are in the process of restocking some favorites and adding some new wines to our list, including several new Portuguese wines. Hope to get the list updated soon!

 

 

Making Elections Fair Again

In view of the increasing political appeal of to the now-dominant Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, the article makes a persuasive case for the need to reform: 1) the Presidential nomination process; 2) the Party Primary process; 3) Replacing legislative gerrymandering with balanced redistricting, and 4)  Campaign finance reform.

 Reforming the Nominating Process Toward Moderate Candidates
Several decades ago the standard nominating arena was the Party Convention, in which the week-long process of horse-trading generally led to balanced compromises; the more radical a candidate, the less likely to survive the winnowing.  Over recent decades the process has shifted more toward primaries, which favor more polarizing candidates who make it to office on small pluralities, not majorities. Ranked-choice voting would bring more of the old convention format leveling by including each voter’s first and second choices when picking the overall winner, making the election behave more like the compromises of the old Convention Method.

Reforming Primaries
In many states, candidates who lose in primaries cannot then run as independents in the same election. Allowing such candidates to run under third-party flags would be another balancing force for competition in the primary process along with ranked-choice voting.

Reform Gerrymandering
In recent decades, State House gerrymandering decisions have succeeded in allowing the party in legislative control in a state to design Congressional districts that effectively maintain their party’s legislative control of a disproportionate share of Congressional seats in the state by manipulating the number of constituents a seat represents in each district.

Reforming Campaign Finance Rules
In general, recent legal decisions on campaign financing lean toward more political narrowing of viewpoints compared to public financing. On the one hand, small donors are more politically motivated than large donors. Various formulas for providing additional public funding proportional to cash raised by small donations raise questions about whether this would increase or decrease polarization.

These ideas are a lot to think about. In addition to all of that, at some point we have to ask the question, “Why are these reforms even necessary? And when we explore that question, we see that there is an implicit assumption that politicians will tell the truth about their positions on issues and voters will vote for the candidate who best represents their values. But since “free speech” in media has come to mean “lying with impunity,” facts themselves have ceased to have common acceptance across political divides.

In the ideal world politicians would adjust their platforms to appeal to enough of their target constituencies to gain a majority of voters. But that’s not what Republicans do. They don’t compete for votes with appeals to logic. They compete for votes by making it harder for their likely opponents to register to vote, to cast ballots, and to have their votes counted. So while we believe the above rules are good ideas, we are left with the Quandary of our Moment in Time: how to tell Truth from Lies.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting feb 19 ’21

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Bread This Week

Polenta Levain – The sourdough starter is fed and built up over several days, then mixed with bread flour and polenta in the final dough mix. This is not the sweet corn cranberry bread that I have done in the past that is enriched with milk and butter, this bread is a nice rustic loaf with great corn flavor. – $5/loaf

Multi Grain Levain – This bread uses a flavorful mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A nice mixture of flax, sesame sunflower and pumpkin seeds and oatmeal add great flavor. And just a little honey for some sweetness. A great all around bread that is full of flavor – $5/loaf

Chocolate Panettone – Panettone is an italian brioche like sweet bread, almost like cake, generally made during the Christmas holidays as a large loaf, I’ve seen some for sale for close to $70. These chocolate panettone are a smaller version, and less expensive, but are still made with lots of sugar, butter, eggs and honey including 3 different types of chocolate as well as candied ginger & lemon and a chocolate glaze on top – 2/$5

 

Wine of the Week: Carmim Reguengos Alentejo Tinto ’18

The town of Reguengos is near the eastern edge of Portugal’s Alentejo wine region, about 90 miles east of the Atlantic coast and a dozen miles west of the Spanish border. In this sparsely populated rural area of ​​465 km², the principal provincial road winds through vineyards, olive trees, cork oaks, and lots of stork nests. The Carmim winery is owned by Rui Veladas, who, like many local growers, uses a number of biodynamic practices, including having sheep grazing among the rows of vines.

This regional attention to sustainable practices includes also The Dark Sky Project against air and light pollution; the pottery which is still handmade and the area restaurants that grow their own produce. Even the artificial lake that was created in 2002 is, at least in the eyes of local residents, a plus for the environment.

Carmim Reguengos Alentejo Tinto ’18     Portugal     $9
Blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Lovely floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit has evolved from a tricky vintage with harvest interrupted by rain. At the beginning the wine was a bit tannic, but has softened to lovely, fresh, supple, and structured black fruits with notes of pepper, meat, and a lovely herbal twist. A terrific value!

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience. EZ-PZ!

ALSO, we are in the process of restocking some favorites and adding some new wines to our list, including several new Portuguese wines. Hope to get the list updated soon!

 

 

Bringing Back the Fairness Doctrine

Established in 1949 by the FCC, the Fairness Doctrine required holders of broadcast licensees in the U.S. to cover both sides of controversial public issues with honesty, equity, and balance. The Doctrine evolved from the Mayflower Doctrine of 1941, in which the FCC ruled that, because the public airwaves were a scarce resource, publicly licensed radio stations could not favor any particular political position or candidate.

The Fairness Doctrine clarified the Mayflower Doctrine with the requirement that licensees could not use their stations “for private interests, whims, or caprices , but (only) in a manner which will serve the community generally.” The Fairness Doctrine governed the content of public newscasts for nearly forty years until its demise in 1986, when Judges Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia of the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that though the Fairness Doctrine did apply to television, the FCC was not required to apply it. Huh? Say What…?

The next year, in 1987, the same appellate court decided further that since Congress had not mandated the doctrine, the FCC did not have to enforce it, saying in the Syracuse Peace Council decision that “the intrusion by government into the content of programming occasioned by the enforcement of [the Fairness Doctrine] restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters … [and] actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and the degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists.” 

A wee bit of contemplation shows clearly how these naive changes to media regulation led directly to the decades-long manipulation of political polarities that has dominated our political landscape for the past thirty years, culminating in the mob assault on the Capitol on January 6 by people who were deliberately misinformed and manipulated into those actions.

In a time when all of us are vulnerable to manipulation from all sides on any issue, it seems very appealing to go back to a “Fairness Doctrine,” where “fair and balanced” means exactly that.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting feb 5, ’21

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Bread This Week

Pain Meunier -also known as miller’s bread and was developed to honor the miller who mills the wheat. It contains all portions of the wheat berry: flour, fresh milled whole wheat, cracked wheat and wheat germ. Always a favorite and a great all around bread. It makes the best toast! – $5/loaf

Sonnenblumenbrot – otherwise known as Sunflower Seed Bread made with bread flour and freshly milled rye, then loaded up with toasted sunflower seeds and some barley malt syrup for sweetness. This is a typical german seed bread.  – $5/loaf

Rum Raisin Brioche: A delicious brioche dough full of eggs, butter and sugar. Filled with golden raisins and chunks of almond paste and as if that wasn’t enough, topped with a chocolate glaze before baking. Ooh la la, what’s not to like. I can only make a limited number so be sure to get your order in early. – 2/$5.

 

Wine of the Week: Quinta Do Vallado Red ’14

This winery has survived for three centuries in the Douro, a region renowned (like some in Spain) for its “nine months of winter and three months of hell,”  and widely known for putting to test those who venture on its steep hillsides.

Younger vineyards made up 80% of the final blend of this wine, with 20% coming from 70-year-old vines. Most of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks for a week, except for a small percentage of the old vines fruit, which was foot-trodden and fermented in open ‘lagares‘ for the same period.

All the wine was fermented at between 25º and 27ºC. The finest of the press wine, from a traditional basket press, was also used for aging the final blend, with 80% aged for 14 months in stainless steel tanks. The remaining 20% was aged in used 225-l  French Oak barriques for 14 months before final blending. All of this adds up to a complex wine with big lingering flavors and acidity.

Quinta Do Vallado Red ’14            Portugal             $16
Blend of Touriga Franca,Touriga Nacional,Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Lovely floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit has evolved from a tricky vintage with harvest interrupted by rain. At the beginning the wine was a bit tannic, but has softened to a really good vintage with lovely, fresh, supple, yet structured black fruits with pepper, meat and a lovely herbal twist.

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience. EZ-PZ!

ALSO, we are in the process of restocking some favorites and adding some new wines to our list, including several new Portuguese wines. Hope to get the list updated soon!

 

 

Mutiny and Betrayal

For the last couple of weeks at least some of us are feeling a modicum of increased Security. The incessant tinnitus tweetsteribus that has plagued our nation for the past five years has begun to fade. We can hear the wind again, and the rain on the roof. The crackle of the fire in the stove, and the snoring of the dog on his cushion. And the beginnings of…what is that feeling…ahh, yes, we begin to remember…intimations of what we used to call relaxation. Yes, we think, “more feelings like this one, please!”

At the same time, the relentless dissonance of the last four years lingers in our bodies as a fatigue, like the exhaustion one would feel after countless days in the desert, parched and directionless. Finally we have reached an oasis, but we will need time to regain our center. So it’s a good time to sit back and take stock.

On a decidedly positive note, the Mutiny has been quashed, at least for the moment; we have regained control of the Ship and placed reliable people in strategic positions who are reshaping priorities and policies by the hour. At the same time, due to the depth and breadth of betrayal in recent events, long-term investigations have been opened which may go on for some long time. For the moment we are left with questions about how we got here and what happens next. There follow a few insights from today’s readings.

The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism
Written some ten years ago about the rise of the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Funded by Republican business elites and reinforced by a network of conservative media sources including especially Fox News, the movement recruited people who were generally of middle age whose self-image was of having worked hard all their lives to achieve a modest sense of economic stability along with a resentment of people who, to them faced similar hardships but turned to government for handouts rather than work as they had done.

Curiously, as a group they are in favor of social security and medicare payments for people like them who worked hard all their lives, and were therefore deserving of such benefits. But they have deep resentment against perceived “handouts” to “undeserving” groups, the definition of which seems heavily influenced by racial and ethnic stereotypes.  According to a CBS/New York Times national poll, 63 percent of Tea Party supporters regularly watch Fox News.

Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF)
This fund is a 501(c)(4) arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), most of whose members signed on to the lawsuit filed by the Texas AG to overturn the 2020 election. The organization played a major role in organizing the Capitol protest preceding the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The RLDF is a political organization to help elect Republican attorneys general and can accept unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations. Recent supporters include Koch Industries ($375k), Comcast Corporation ($200k), Walmart ($140k), Home Depot ($125k), Amazon ($100k), TikTok ($75k), 1-800 Contacts ($51k), Chevron ($50k), The National Rifle Association ($50k), Monsanto ($50k), Facebook ($50k), Fox Corporation ($50k), Uber ($50k), Coca Cola ($50k), Exxon ($50k), and Google ($25k).

How Inexperienced Candidates and Primary Challenges are Making Republicans The Protest Party
The GOP has become the more disruptive, volatile party in the last ten years. Since the 1994 Gingrich revolution, candidates with no political experience have more often defeated experienced candidates in Republican primaries than in Democratic primaries. That trend continued in 2016 and 2020, paving the way for today’s stripping of committee assignments from undisciplined Republican Representative Greene. As we have seen over the past four years, the rising stars of the Republican Party are consistently angry, dismissive, and personally insulting to their Democratic colleagues while offering little substantive argument to support particular positions. And these attitudes have in turn shaped the volatile new Republican coalition of racist white supremacists and evangelical Christians who consistently show little respect for the offices they hold or the responsibilities they bear.

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting january 29 ’21 Groundhog Day Weekend

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Another Groundhog Day

Here at the wine shop we are big fans of Groundhog Day. From time out of mind, human beings have been attuned to the regular passage of the seasons, year after year, observing, counting, and eventually  being able to predict the “Quarter Days:” the Solstices when the sun was furthest north and furthest south, and the Equinoxes when the sun was halfway between. Many cultures also noted and celebrated the four “Cross-Quarter” days that fall between each solstice and equinox.

Different cultures have had different names for them, but eight times a year, every 45 days, many cultures have long paused to acknowledge these markers on the solar calendar with a festivity and ritual.

February 2, falling midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, has also been known variously as Candlemas, Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigid’s Day, Bride’s Day, Brigantia, or Gŵyl y Canhwyllau. In many ancient traditions it is considered the beginning of Spring. In the picture, it is labeled “1st.” Our culture (yes, we use the word loosely) usually refers to it as “Groundhog Day,” but it has–literally–cosmic significance.  Who knew??

Popular American folklore predicts that if The Groundhog sees its shadow there will be six more weeks of Winter. Of course, as we can see from the diagram, whether the Groundhog sees his (or her) shadow or not, there are STILL six more weeks until Spring Equinox marks the official end of “winter.” Until the last few years here in the PNW, judging from the pussy willows and other buds that used to start appearing around here, it often seemed appropriate for Groundhog Day  officially be Our First Day of Spring. Curiously, the last few winters, while milder in many ways due to global warming, have also seen a few nasty snowstorms here on the island around Valentine’s Day. 

 

Bread This Week

Barley, Whole Wheat, & Rye Levain – A levain bread where the sourdough culture is built over several days and allowed to ferment before the final dough is mixed. Made with bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat, barley and rye flours. A hearty whole grain bread that is a great all around bread. – $5/loaf

Honey, Wheat, Lemon & Poppy seeds – Made with a poolish that ferments some of the flour, yeast and water, but none of the salt, overnight. This results in a very active pre-ferment which is mixed the next day with the final ingredients which includes a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Some honey, poppy seeds and freshly grated lemon peel round out the flavors in this loaf. A great all around bread – $5/loaf.

Chocolate Croissants – A traditional laminated French pastry made with a bit of sourdough flavor and another pre-ferment to help strengthen the dough to create the traditional honeycomb interior. Rolled out and shaped with delicious dark chocolate in the center. – 2/$5

 

Wine of the Week: Vicente Faria Gloria Douro Reserva ’16 

Today’s incarnation of the Vicente Faria winery began in 2001, but his family has been making wine in the Douro Valley region of northern Portugal for some 200 years.  His approach to wine-making derives from his great-grandfather as well as long experience with top Bordeaux winemakers and adopting practices from some of the industry’s best wineries. Today, he combines the techniques he has learned from both winemaking regions to create extraordinary wines. Vineyards use only sustainable farming practices, without irrigation or fertilization.

The Douro Valley is the first and therefore oldest designated wine region in the world, producing wines for over 2000 years!  The soils are mostly schist, forcing vines to grow deep into the ground to find water and nutrients. In addition, the very hot summers and cold winters also stress the vines, conditions that are ideal for making wines of character.

Vicente Faria Gloria Douro Reserva ’16    Portugal    $16
A juicy and delicious Portuguese red wine blend with aromas of fleshy black plum and blackberries. Full-bodied and smooth. The grapes are grown in the Douro Valley in the northeast of Portugal. The wine was aged in oak barrels.

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience. EZ-PZ!

 

 

Just The Facts, Please, Ma’am…

Like all alien Monsters, the ex-Tweetster still looms large, so close he continues to fog the rear-view mirror with a gut-wrenching miasma of Coke-infused KFC breath. For now we must take it on faith that, like any other Nightmare Space Alien, his power will fade over time and distance. But that remains to be seen, because his fanatic MAGA base have been guzzling his conspiratorial Kool-Aid for so many years they are incapable of distinguishing facts from fantasy, truth from lies.

A case in point is a lawsuit filed against Tucker Carlson and Fox News by plaintiff Karen McDougal charging defamation after Carlson did a series of shows accusing her of extortion.  Four months ago, Tweetster-appointed judge Mary Kay Vyskocil dismissed the suit, ruling that ” the general tenor of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary”…given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.”

So the challenge this presents for broadcasting and informed public opinion going forward is that on the one hand, Carlson and Fox are not obligated to tell the truth because they are not presenting news, they are simply providing opinion.

Well, the judge’s ruling does not square with what we have all witnessed over the past four years in general and over the last four months in particular. We have all watched as most Congressional Republicans chose to support the false narrative of a “rigged” or “stolen” election and widespread fraud. Many of them applauded the storming of the Capital by what was in fact an armed and organized attempt to nullify the national election and keep their candidate in power. In short, it was an attempted coup that is, unfortunately still bubbling among dozens of Republican Senators and scores of Republican Representatives.

Clearly nearly half of Americans cannot tell“exaggeration and ‘non-literal commentary” from actual facts.  And clearly we cannot have a useful national conversation about anything if we cannot agree on the most basic facts about what is truth and what are lies. So one obvious starting point is to require that all written or broadcast commentary be required to label itself clearly as “documented, factual news” or ” undocumented editorial opinion.”

Wine Tasting