lummi island wine tasting may 7-8 ’21

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Bread This Week

Pickup of bread pre-orders continues on Fridays from 4-5:30 outside the shop.

Poolish Ale – the preferment here is a poolish, made with bread flour, a bit of yeast and a nice ale beer for the liquid and fermented overnight; a great all around bread with a nice crisp crust – $5/loaf

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – Also made with a poolish, buckwheat and bread flour. Buckwheat is  actually a seed (not a grain and therefore has no gluten) that adds an earthy flavor that in this bread is balanced with a little honey. Some toasted walnuts add a nice crunch and just a touch of honey for a little sweetness; goes well with meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

and this week’s pastry…  🙂

Raisin Brioche- A delicious brioche dough full of eggs, butter and sugar, and filled with golden raisins soaked overnight in rum, chunks of almond paste and topped with a chocolate glaze before baking. Ooh la la, what’s not to like? – $5/loaf

 

It’s Official! Now Open Fridays and Saturdays 4-6 pm!

Our dear little wine shop is now officially Open  from 4-6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, albeit with a few restrictions based on vaccination status.

ONLY those who have completed their Covid shot sequence are welcome Upstairs, while All are welcome downstairs on the deck. Through June we will encourage prudent social distancing and quiet conversation, mindfully refraining  from yelling, coughing, cackling, hooting, spitting, cheering, or singing in proximity to people outside one’s own “pod.” You know, the kinds of things people might do after a bit of wine and having been cooped up alone for the past year.

While it IS a huge and welcome relief to be able to visit face to face again (and maybe to cop a few hugs!), for the time being we prefer that our guests avoid crowding around the bar as in pre-Covid, and to spread out into the shop in smaller groups of three or four. Welcome Back!!

 

Wine of the Week: Edi Simcic Duet ’16

It has now been over a year since we have been able to order our usual semiannual wine order from Small Vineyards, the Seattle wine importer from whom we have bought a substantial portion of our Italian wines. They are consistently both good and modestly priced for the quality they deliver, which are exactly the criteria we use to select all the wines we offer. We are now down to our last wine from SV, and are including it in our tasting this weekend.

It differs from most of the SV wines in that it is definitely more expensive than most of their other offerings. The winemaker is Edi Simcic, whose vineyards and winery are in Slovenia near the Italian border between the Alps and the Aegean. Both the father and son winemakers and their wines are highly regarded for the quality of the fruit and the craftsmanship of the wines.

Here is a very seductive YouTube video of the wine estate. You should also know that a lot of people who know a lot more about wine than we do are big fans of these wines. Check it out this weekend, and see what you think! See tasting notes below…

 

The Economics of the Heart– Everybody Loses in Proxy Wars 

Tonight’s exploration was inspired by a recent PBS News video essay by persistent special correspondent Jane Ferguson, who has been interviewing ordinary people in ravaged and war-torn hell-holes in the Middle East for several years on PBS. This report was a couple of days ago, and centered around the truly desperate situation in Yemen.

Ferguson shows us the ongoing Devastation of an entire society, where some 90% of the population are reliant on food supplied by NGO’s just to stay barely alive. There are relentless bombings of buildings and infrastructure, ongoing malnutrition, and limited access to potable water, food, shelter, and medicine. Not even the most basic survival needs are being met, and it is heartbreaking to see children reduced to skin and bones, barely able to breathe for lack of food and water, the most basic of needs. Millions are so malnourished that many die, and even the survivors will never reach the potential they were born with. What infrastructure there was is constantly being bombed out of existence by Saudi Bombs and Hoofi rockets.

What the World is experiencing, and millions of people are suffering, is the fallout of the latest in the long series of Proxy Wars around the Globe in which large, industrialized countries have found it expedient to confront their political and economic adversaries indirectly. They do not risk their own civilian populations or industrial bases, and they do not openly declare their involvement. Rather, each nation supports the local players which best align with its own broad interests.

To see what is happening in Yemen is to see the unraveling of hope for a global humanity. Maybe this is what WWIII looks like; no one sure if they are on offense or defense, the good guys or the bad guys. But we should all be able to agree that starving millions of children is Way over the Line, and we should make it clear to our Leaders that stopping it is a First Priority. If we can’t get that right, it’s all downhill from here.

 

This week’s $5 wine tasting

Maryhill Viognier ’16       Washington       $14
Vibrant aromas of orange zest, honeysuckle, and pink grapefruit; flavors of lemon, pear, and white peach. The mouthfeel is delicate, yet full-bodied, withnotes of fresh flowers.

Amalaya Malbec ’18      Argentina        $15
Richly colored, juicy and aromatic, with supple, caressing tannins, herbal black fruit aromas with notes of earthy spice and cured meat and flavors of blackberry, dark plum, herbs and spices.

Edi Simcic Duet ’16     Slovenia       $27
Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc; bold and compelling, with notes of chocolate, cherries, cheesecake, and coffee on silky tannins and a lush, ripe, fruit-full body that goes on and on.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting april 30 ’21

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Bread This Week

Pickup of bread pre-orders continues on Fridays from 4-5:30 outside the shop.

Pain au Levain – Made with a nice mix of bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat and rye flours. After building the sourdough and mixing the final dough it gets a long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator. This really allows the flavor to develop in this bread. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Cinnamon Raisin – Made with a poolish of bread and rye flours fermented overnight before the final dough is mixed with whole wheat and rolled oats. Some honey for sweetness, a little milk for a tender crumb and loaded with raisins and a healthy dose of cinnamon mixed into the dough for a hearty rustic loaf. – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Bear Claws!- Made with a danish pastry dough rich in cream, eggs, sugar and butter. The dough is rolled out and spread with a filing made 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. – 2/$5

 

It’s Official! Now Open Fridays and Saturdays 4-6 pm!

We continue to set up some seating outside on the deck for the unvaccinated, while those who have been vaccinated are welcome in limited numbers upstairs for tasting in the wine shop.

Please note: ONLY those who have completed their Covid shot sequence are welcome Upstairs, while All are welcome downstairs on the deck. For probably a few more months we are all still obligated to maintain prudent social distance and to refrain mindfully from expelling droplets by yelling, coughing, cackling, hooting, spitting, cheering, or singing in proximity to people outside one’s own “pod.” …You know, the kinds of things people might do after a bit of wine…!

While it IS a huge and welcome relief to be able to visit face to face again (and maybe to cop a few hugs!), for the time being we prefer that our guests avoid crowding around the bar as in pre-Covid, and to spread out into the shop in smaller groups of three or four.

 

Wine of the Week: Crios Torrontés

The Spanish brought wine grapes to the Americas early in their explorations of the New World. These included two white Spanish varietals, Moscatel de Alejandría,  and Criolla Chica, which were very often planted together, harvested, and fermented as a field blend. Though sometime in the 1800’s it was determined that the two varietals had spontaneously crossed into a new grape, but before that it had already been mistakenly identified as a white grape from Rioja called torrontés.

Eventually three different clones of the grape were identified as native to Argentina: torrontés riojano, torrontés sanjuanino, and torrontés mendocino. All three are unrelated to the Spanish grape of the same name. The riojano is considered the best structured, the sanjuanino a close second, and the mendocino a distant third with regard to aromas and flavors.

Not surprisingly, all of the clones bear resemblance to the two parent grapes, some with floral aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle from the muscatel, and some with more citrus, orchard, or even tropical fruit notes from the criolla. This inherited combination of aromas and flavors makes torrontés a versatile pairing for warm afternoons with a range of light and fresh summer dishes from spicy entrees to fresh salads.   (see notes below…)

 

 

The Economics of the Heart– The Overseers and the New New Deal

There is always a gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless. Everyone falls into a class, and it seems to be human nature to strive to improve one’s class standing. That being the case, there are many strategies we primates employ to advance our power and security in the group hierarchy, by effort, by alliance, or by deceit.

Over the millennia of human existence, we have learned that physical survival requires social intelligence, practicality, and adaptability. We all are born into sets of constraints and opportunities, needs and values, and the ability to learn from our experience. But we are also all born into different endowments of intelligence, courage, strength, and empathy.

In the institution of slavery we see these forces in sharp hierarchical relief, with wealth and power highly concentrated in the hands of a small group of plantation owners, enforced by a class of hired Overseers who have been elevated from slavery by their willingness to inflict punishment on slaves who resist Authority. They maintain order. And inevitably they must come to terms with the moral contradictions of their lives.

When Gollum found The Ring buried in a pool of water he acquired both a Power and a Curse. Or, as the Eagles sang, “Every form of Refuge has its Price.” We humans easily revert to hierarchy; Feudalism is our default form of social organization. It’s in our genes.

Therefore it is important to note that when Joe Biden stands before us and offers us the New New Deal, he is Frodo ready to throw the Ring of Power into the volcano. It is a different thing to want something for yourself than to want it for everyone. When we have not merely “just enough” but far more than we need while others do not we are Overseers. We are compromised. It’s pretty simple: is the world a better place if everyone has a little share of economic surplus (or deficit), or if only a very small few have all of it?

 

This week’s $5 wine tasting

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes ’19   Argentina    $11
Highly perfumed aromas of lemon drop, grapefruit, white flowers, peppermint and white pepper. Supple, pliant and easygoing, with citrus, herbal and floral flavors joined by a hint of licorice.

Portteus Bistro Red ’15   Washington    $12
Fun, smooth and easy-drinking blend of Malbec and Merlot. A food friendly wine with delicate, elegant texture. Notes of blackberry, pomegranate, cocoa, honey and licorice, with a creamy finish. Over-delivers for the $.

Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec ’17      Argentina       $22
Red ripe berries and plum notes. Smooth and delicious; focused, clean notes of violets, plum, and red cherry notes with very good freshness and a plush, elegant mouthfeel with  smooth oak and easy tannins.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting april 23 ’21

(Some photos may enlarge when clicked)
Bread This Week

Bread pickup will continue on Fridays from 4-5:30 outside the shop. Our new shelter (see photo, left, is a definite upgrade in strength and functionality from the previous one we have been using since last October (you know, when it got too dark in the ferry parking lot!)

Rosemary Olive Oil – Made with bread flour and freshly milled white whole wheat for additional flavor and texture. Fresh rosemary from the garden and olive oil to make for a nice tender crumb and a nice crisp crust. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Multi Grain – Made with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye, then rolled oats, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds are added for a nice bit of crunch and some extra flavor. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Chocolate Babka Rolls – A sweet pastry dough full of eggs, butter and sugar, rolled and spread with a chocolate filling, then rolled up, baked, and brushed with sugar syrup after baking. – 2/$5

 

It’s Official! Now Open Fridays and Saturdays 4-6 pm!

Last week’s trial opening went smoothly and comfortably. We were set up so a few people could be seated outside on the deck, and others upstairs in the wine shop. The weather was beautiful, and though we all felt a bit rusty, it was a comfort to visit together again!

Please note: ONLY those who have completed their Covid shot sequence are welcome Upstairs, while All are welcome downstairs on the deck. For probably a few more months we are all still obligated to maintain prudent social distance and to refrain mindfully from expelling droplets by yelling, coughing, cackling, hooting, spitting, cheering, or singing in proximity to people outside one’s own “pod.”

While it IS a huge and welcome relief to be able to visit face to face again (and maybe to cop a few hugs!), for the time being we prefer that our guests avoid crowding around the bar as in pre-Covid, and to spread out into the shop in smaller groups of three or four.

 

Steven Spurrier and the “Judgment of Paris”

We pause for a moment to offer a toast to the well-lived life of Steven Spurrier, who spent much of his exploring, collecting, and enjoying the world’s best wines. The most famous of his many exploits was organizing the now infamous “blind tasting” (in which judges rate the wines without knowing which one they are tasting) of May 24, 1976 in Paris pitting French chardonnay (“white Burgundy”) and Bordeaux reds (blends of cab and merlot) against Napa’s top producers of the same wines. The astonishing result of the tasting was that the upstart California wines, to the surprise of Mr. Spurrier and everyone else involved, out-rated both the venerable French Bordeaux reds and the Burgundian whites.

The event played a significant role in the subsequent elevation of Napa wines to world-class status in the years since. The story was also immortalized in the film  “Bottle Shock,” in which Mr. Spurrier was portrayed (entertainingly but not necessarily realistically) by actor Alan Rickman.

Spurrier had the good fortune to have inherited…well…a fortune when he was 23, which twist of fate enabled his long journey of learning and writing about wine. He passed away on March 6 at age 79, by all accounts an affable and gentle man with an intense curiosity and appreciation of the magic of good wine. Read more.

 

Economics of the Heart– Attics and basements

This week has been an evolving metaphor of the American heart– a confluence of the dark and light of it, the tangled roots of it, the long-unfolding karma of it. We can look at it piece by piece and realize how deeply intertwined the pieces are, like a great tangle of multi-hooked fishing lines, where even the smallest tug in one place triggers response and reaction in others.

We have mused for some years now about how the ubiquitousness of cell phone cameras has changed the balance of power between police and their prey. We have all seen the videos, more than we can count, where black men, women, and even children are murdered before our eyes by one, two, or many anxious, aggressive, and over-armed police officers in some American city or town.

This week the sheer weight of all these years of all those images finally cracked open long enough and wide enough that the whole world could see through to the truth and the depth of racial injustice in our country. In this particular case, the one cell phone video that documented the entire 9+ minute execution was overwhelmingly damning, and the individual officer was convicted of second-degree murder. That is one piece of progress to measure against centuries of entrenched deprivation and disenfranchisement that has brought us to the almost daily community killings by police.

The photo at left (click to open larger version) is a piece Pat did some years ago, with the names of many of the reported victims of police killings for that particular year. There is a lot of baggage stored in our collective Unconscious that is going to take a long time to process. This is a dark place and we are just peering through the crack in the door. Sobering stuff.

 

This week’s $5  wine tasting

Terre d’Oro Chenin Blanc/Viognier ’18        California      $13
Lively, refreshing and well balanced. Inviting aromas of honeydew melon, grapefruit, orange blossom and tangerine lead into flavors of peach and mango, and a midpalate of lemon curd, quince and nectarine.

Kanankopf Kadette Cape Red Blend  ’17      South Africa    $15
Pinotage, cab, cab franc blend; offers ripe raspberry, black currant and mocha on the nose with dark chocolate and blackberry fruit on the palate. The dominant pinotage adds rustic charm.

Townshend Cellars T3 Red      Washington       $17
Bordeaux style blend of  cab, merlot and cab franc; fruit forward with hints of black currant and vanilla, with layers of complexity and depth through extensive oak aging in French and American barrels.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting april 16-17 ’21 — easing into reopening

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Bread This Week

Toasted Pecan & Flax Seed – This bread is a little different than most of the levain breads that I make as it is made with a starter that is fed with rye flour instead of wheat flour which creates a different flavor profile. The final dough adds bread and whole wheat flour, toasted pecans, flax seeds and honey for a very flavorful 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.

Kouign Aman: As with croissants, has both a little levain for the sourdough flavor as well as some pre-fermented dough to help build strength. When rolling out however, instead of using flour to prevent sticking, sugar is used. The dough is cut into squares and baked in cupcake tins where all that sugar and butter caramelizes and makes for delicious, crunchy, delightful pastry.  – 2/$5

 

It’s Here…Partial Reopening!!

We are happy to report that we will be reopening for limited hours for both wine tasting and sales Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17. from 4-6pm. For this initial opening we will limit attendance inside the wine shop to those who completed their Covid vaccine sequence before April 1. Tastings will be available outside  for the unvaccinated and the cautious.

For our reopening weekend we will offer a complimentary wine tasting selection of three wines (see notes below). Whether you taste them inside or outside, we thank you celebrating the beginning of a return to normalcy. Without all of you, this entire venture would be pointless. We have missed you,  your collective energy, your wisdom, and your humanity. It may be a while till we get back to a comfortable and relaxed normality, but for sure this is a Milestone Marker on the way to a new Normal.

Since there has NOT been a general All Clear on Covid, we are all still obligated to avoid crowding, yelling, coughing, cackling, hooting, spitting, or singing in proximity to people outside your “pod.” We are all looking forward to seeing each other (and maybe copping a few hugs!) again, but for the time being we prefer that our guests avoid crowding around the bar as in pre-Covid, but spread out into the shop in smaller groups.

Bread pickup will continue on Fridays from 4-5:30 outside the shop. Our new shelter (see photo, left, is a definite upgrade in strength and functionality from the previous one we have been using since last October (you know, when it got too dark in the ferry parking lot!)

 

The Economics of the Heart – Pundit Fatigue

We didn’t notice it was or ever would be a lasting “thing” when it first started. Well, yes and no. It has taken many years to become what it is today, when we all can see clearly that yes, it IS a Thing, but now it is so commonplace that it is accepted as a fundamental aspect of Reality, like the color of the sky or the state of liquid water.

The “Thing” is everyday garden variety, Fact v. Punditry, which used to be called, in an innocent and parochial way, “News.” We elders can remember when the “news” was Cronkite or Brinkley describing events as they had occurred on a particular day, around a certain time, at a particular place. The news was what you clipped out of the newspaper, memorized, and took to class in case you got called on to talk about Current Events. It was the descriptive narrative that grounded us  in a common, everyday Reality. Remember that?

Of course there have always been editorial opinions trying to tease meaning and intention, whether noble or nefarious, from the day’s events. For some years now, however, the business of News has become the business of polarization as entertainment, reaching a crescendo in the now Bygone Tweetster Era that coined the phrase (we are not making this up) “alternative facts.”

All of this is to say that to be informed and useful, citizens need to know– and agree– on the essential parameters of the Reality we all share. Even though we acknowledge and appreciate different opinions on the Meaning of events, if we cannot agree on the factual parameters of the events we can’t communicate about them.

While we are all enjoying the comparative serenity of our new government, there is still a nagging feeling that our society may have become unmoored from a common view of Reality itself. Like the myth of the Tower of Babel, today’s internet Reality has become a cacophony of dissonance from 8 billion souls all talking at once, and we are all feeling the need for a quiet, soul-restoring anchorage.

 

This week’s wine tasting…!!

Ryan Patrick Rock Island Chardonnay ’18        Washington       $15
Golden straw color; aromas and flavors of wildflowers, crisp apples, honey, and freshly baked cinnamon roll with a round, crisp, medium body and a graceful finish of sumac-spiced croutons; an appetizing, full-bodied Chardonnay.

La Vielle Ferme Rosé ’20    France    $10
Classic and tasty blend of grenache, syrah, and cinsault from northern Provence;  fruity, dry, crisp, delicious, and smooth, and at a bargain price!

Flying Trout Grenache  NV       Washington      $15
100% grenache; dark burgundy in color, with aromas and flavors of ripe dark plum and blackberry with lingering notes of clove and cinnamon. Soothing and seductive, this wine offers a lot of value for its modest price.

 

Wine Tasting