Lummi Island Wine Tasting Groundhog Day Weekend ’12

It is Groundhog Day as I write this, so it’s time again to consider its place in the great sidereal movement by which we humans reckon time and the passing of the seasons. As we discuss periodically in these pages, we are all familiar with the greater solar holidays, the two equinoxes and the two solstices that mark the official transitions from one season to another.

There is also an ancient tradition of celebrating the “cross-quarter days” that fall halfway between these major events. February 2 has long been known as Candlemas, Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigit, Brigid’s Day, Bride’s Day, Brigantia, or Gŵyl y Canhwyllau, falling midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In many ancient traditions it is considered the beginning of spring. In the picture, it is labeled “1st.” Our culture (yes, I use the word loosely) usually refers to it as “Groundhog Day,” but it has–literally–cosmic significance.  Who knew??

As it turns out, we had a lovely, mostly sunny day today, and that probably means that the Groundhog saw his shadow, and by popular belief that means there will be six more weeks of Winter. Of course, as we can see from the diagram, it doesn’t really matter, because whether the Groundhog sees his (or her) shadow or not, there are STILL six more weeks until Spring Equinox, i.e., “winter.” I only mention this because I think here in the PNW we should just declare that Groundhog Day, aka the winter-spring cross-quarter day, is officially Our First Day of Spring. Judging from the pussy willows and other buds that are starting to appear around here, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  Yay!

The Evidence is before us: six weeks ago the sun set over the hump of Orcas Island on the far left in the first picture (center of right pic). Tonight it was over Mt. Constitution. See? Spring can be anytime we say it is!


We WILL be open Friday evening this week (Feb 3) from 4-7. Ryan will be pouring a couple of nice wines, and there will be munchies. We like Fridays because we get to sit on the other side of the bar and schmooze, and because they are a little “salon-like.” Come on by!

Ryan is kicking off the New Year with a new series of FOUR tasting workshops on Sunday afternoon, two weeks apart, beginning . This series will be modeled after the last workshop in the summer series, in which he explored the cultural influences of the region along with the wine. So you taste the wine with regional food, experience the literature, see the art, learn about the land the the climate, and at some level make connections that link them together. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s amazing, and we are really looking forward to it! It puts wine into the broader context of its cultural setting to show how this wine could only come from this place. See flyer for details, and call soon to reserve your place! And I can’t resist posting this photo I took of Ryan at our New Year’s party…

Saturday’s Tasting:

La Cana Albarino 09 Spain  90pts      $14
Light gold-colored with an unusually fragrant nose of mineral, lemon zest, and spring flowers that jumps from the glass, on the palate it exhibits a creamy texture, vibrant acidity, and a lengthy, refreshing finish.

Honoro Vera Monastrell   ’09       Spain      $9
Tank aged 100% Monastrell. Its pleasing nose reveals notes of underbrush, mineral, and blueberry leading to a savory, spicy, nicely balanced medium-bodied wine.

Yellowtail Reserve Shiraz  ’08   Australia    $8
Cherry, blackberry, and chocolate aromas, plush mouthfeel, spicy finish with seamless tannins…

Goose Ridge Vireo 06 Washington $20 WS93pts
Firm, rich and distinctive for the black olive and roasted meat overtones that swirl around the red berry and cherry flavors, persisting impressively on the long, expressive finish. Stylish and focused, this has miles to go. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot


Wine Tasting

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