lummi island wine tasting august 15 ’15

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Reminder: No Friday Bread this week!

Just a reminder your baker Janice is taking the week off for her annual baseball trip with her nieces.

What does that mean to you? Unfortunately it means no bread or treats this Friday! On the other hand, maybe Friday night won’t be so Crazy, and some of you will come on Saturday this week!



IMG_0883About five years ago we were in Tuscany for a few weeks, exploring hilltop towns, wineries, and vineyards. On a whim one day we made a fairly long drive to visit the Avignonesi winery, located in on beaufiful hillside a few miles east of the town of Montepulciano. The location and its iconic trees were stunning, and all the wines were delicious! We have carried several Avignonesi wines since then, although their Washington distributor has changed several times, making the wines difficult to find.

We are happy to report that the latest distributor has been found, and last week we were treated to a lovely tasting of a number of the latest releases. This weekend we will be pouring the Avignonesi Cantaloro, a “Super-Tuscan” blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 40%  merlot, and 10% sangiovese. The name “Super-Tuscan” was coined a few decades ago when a few high-end Italian producers challenged the strict, long-standing naming and blending protocols that govern which grapes can be used in which regions by blending sangiovese with cab and merlot. Some of those wines are now among the most expensive and sought after in the world. While Cantaloro is not so rarefied, it is a really nice example of why these blends have gained so much popularity.    read more


Thinking about Blends

One of the many interesting things about being a potter was mixing glazes. If you have two or three glazes you have used and like, sometimes the question arises, “what would happen if we blended them?” And it’s not as if you can make any useful inference from their individual appearance to what some blend of them would look like fired. After all, firing pottery is like putting a note in a bottle and throwing it in the Ocean…you have no idea how it will turn out until you try it!

One method for exploring glaze blends is called the “tri-axial blend.” You make some sample tiles like these in the photo for example. The tile on each corner is one of your existing glazes. Each side of the triangle shows a blend series between the two end points of the line: 100/0; 80/20; 60/40; 40/60; 20/80; 0/100. The middle three tiles are blends of all three glazes.

Blending wines is pretty much the same process, except it can be a lot more complicated, even when blending different barrels of the same varietal from the same year into the best possible final blend. All of this is to say that when we think about a Bordeaux blend (cab sauv, cab franc, merlot, malbec) or a Rhone blend (syrah, grenache, mourvedre, cinsault), or a Super-Tuscan (cab, merlot, sangiovese), we don’t think much about how the winemaker came up with that blend. And it turns out that, just as with color in glazes, flavors in blends can be incredibly sensitive to small changes in the final blend. Something to think about next time you taste a blend of more than one varietal!



The little wine region of Reuilly comprises only about 500 acres of vineyards west of Bourges in the Loire Valley of France, where the primary grapes are sancerre and pinot noir. Our interest goes back to a few weeks ago when we were discussing the somewhat arcane topic of “nervosité.” The concept is nicely capsulized in this quote from Kermit Lynch: “If you want to experience minerality, notice the first impression on the palate, which is of fresh, cushiony, Sancerre-like Sauvignon Blanc.  Then, immediately, there is a firmness, a stony firmness that appears from within the wine. Pierres Plates is from a specific vineyard with Chablis-like soil full of chalk, fossils and sea shells, making the fruit lively, with white flower perfumes, citrus and minerally finesse and precision.” 

We are feeling the tendrils of Fall in the air these days, which remain hot in the afternoon despite the cool of the evening and the night. This is the perfect time to enjoy a really nice sauvignon blanc, and our first wine this weekend fits the bill perfectly. Whether you call it nervosité or something else, this wine’s combination of flavor, acidity, and minerality fits this time of year perfectly. Yum, mmm, and ahhhhh!



This week’s wine tasting

Reuilly “Pierres Plates” Sauvignon Blanc  ’12    France    $18
Sage, black currant, gooseberry, and lime dominate both the nose and palate, where a suffusion of salt and chalk adds to a palpable sense of extract and invigoration…bring on the shellfish!

Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc ’14 California   $16
Pale pink with a copper hue; citrus-driven aromas carry through to bright acidity, a creamy orange note and layers of tart apricot. Great balance of texture, fruit, and minerality.

Montes Twins malbec/cab ’11    Chile      $7
Richness and fruit from the Cab, and smooth, velvety texture from the Malbec add up to vibrant acidity and integrated layers of plum skin, blueberry, and blackberry flavors and soft tannins.

Tarima Hill Monastrell ’11 Spain 91pts $13
Complex, perfumed scents of dark berry liqueur, cola, incense and smoky oak spices. Plush and expansive, with sweet cherry compote and blueberry flavors with notes of floral pastille and bitter chocolate. Rich and lively, finishing with excellent power, smooth tannins and a late jolt of allspice.

Avignonesi Cantaloro ’13     Italy   $16
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese; This Super-Tuscan blend offers  lovely aromas of red fruits, sweet spices and tobacco, then fresh and supple on the palate, with ripe red cherry and plum flavors lingering softly on the long, smooth, spicy finish. 

Wine Tasting

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