Lummi Island Wine Tasting March 24 Spring Equinox ’12

Equinox    Equinox    Equinox

As you all know the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox was just a couple of days ago. Astronomically speaking it just about coincides with St. Patrick’s Day. And as we have pointed out before, just about every major Christian holiday coincides with an ancient pagan holiday, most of which were tied to major events on the solar calendar– solstice, equinox, and “cross-quarter days,” and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception.

And although it was too cloudy to get a picture of sunset on the actual equinox (March 20, 1:14 A.M. EDT), I did get one the day after. You can see in the following photos that the movement of sunset since the Winter Solstice just about transits our view of Orcas Island.

(in sequence: Dec 21, Feb 2, March 21)



THE NEXT ART OF WINE Workshop is  SUNDAY, April 1!
The Art of Wine in Germany

One of my favorite experiences in the wine shop is pouring a riesling at one of our tastings. Inevitably a number of people will dismiss it, saying “Oh, no thanks, I don’t like sweet wines.” Then when they taste it, their eyes widen and appreciation dawns. Riesling is one of the most complex and versatile of wine grapes, with layers of subtle flavors and enough acidity to produce a family of wines from the very crisp and dry to drippingly sweet with perfectly balanced, palate-refreshing acidity.

In this unusual tasting workshop, you can explore the broad range of personalities riesling can take on, while pondering the philosophy of Nietzsche, the awe-inspiring power of Wagner, and the fantastic, surrealistic visons of Max Ernst and

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Aglianico        Aglianico        Aglianico  

We just restocked one of the Aglianico wines we often carry. Aglianico is an ancient grape, probably originating in Greece millennia ago, in pre-Roman times. It was reputedly introduced into Italy by Hellenes from ancient Greece who settled in southern Italy and planted the vine in volcanic soil on the sunny slopes of Monte Vulturino. In character, Aglianico is most similar to Nebbiolo, having high acidity, high tannins and ripening late in the growing season, which lends to the grapes’ heady aromas. Yet where Nebbiolo tends to offer more red fruits, Aglianico features more wild black fruits and and more assertive, rustic tannins, which soften with extended aging. Modern techniques also seem to have tamed the grape’s more challenging qualities. sometimes giving it a soft, fruity, almost pinot noir-like quality. This variety was called Vitis hellenica, later being called Ellenico and in the fifteenth century Aglianico, as it is known today. It’s an interesting and seductive grape, one of my favorites.


Syrah      Syrah      Syrah    

Last week one of our faithful followers mentioned that she was on a quest for just the right syrah. What she described in delicious terms was very much my idea of the perfect syrah, best exemplified (imho) by the wines of the Northern Rhone region in France, from Cornas, Hermitage, and Crozes Hermitage. I thought we had such a wine on board, but OMD! it was all gone. It is so weird, we can have a vintage of wine around our place for years before it sells out, and when it goes it seems to go all at once. To some degree that is an endorsement of cellaring wines for a few years, because many of these wines we have poured for you several times, but it isn’t until the strands of flavor and texture come together that the Group Palate responds, gasping, wanting more. But then, of course, it is Too Late! I suspect we are unique in this respect as a wine shop, since most places move the wine in and move the wine out. But our volume is so low, sometimes wines hang around here for years.

Anyway, a few weeks ago we did by chance bring in a few bottles of a very nice Washington syrah from Riveraerie Winery  that we poured on a Friday night to rave reviews (only one bottle left!). So we just got another case, and we are pouring it this weekend. A little richer and brighter than its Northern Rhone counterpart, but pretty seductive– I think you’re gonna like it!


This week’s wines:

Naia Las Brisas ’09 Spain WA89pts $11
An old favorite, this a blend of 50% Verdejo, 30% Viura, and 20% Sauvignon Blanc; medium straw-colored, it offers an amazingly complex perfume of fresh herbs, spring flowers, baking spices, and white peach that lead to a ripe, concentrated, nicely balanced wine that way over-delivers for its price point.

Vinosia Aglianico ’08 Italy WA89pts $12
Deep garnet-purple color. Raisin, blueberry and underbrush aromas. Some dried rose petals and spice. Crisp acidity and a medium+ body. Medium+ level of velvety tannins. Long finish.

Domaine Escaravailles  les Sabliers ’10   France    $14
The tasty, spicy 2010 Cotes du Rhone Les Sabliers (a blend of 70% Grenache and the rest Syrah and Mourvedre) exhibits a seductive style filled with black cherry and strawberry fruit intermixed with Provencal herb and earth notes. Medium-bodied, deliciously fruity, pure and well-made.

 Riveraerie Syrah Columbia Valley ’07        Washington       WS92pts     $19
Smooth and velvety, offering a plush mouthful of cherry, plum and rhubarb flavors that glide into the long, expressive finish, hinting at pepper and dark chocolate. Best from 2013 through 2018.



Wine Tasting

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