lummi island wine tasting march 28 ’15

(note: some photos may click open to larger versions)

Bread Friday (sign up for preorder list! )


Buckwheat & Rye. Dark and strong, pairs nicely with cheese or cold cuts – $5/loaf.

Ciabatta. 10%  whole wheat, 90% bread flour. Overnight cold ferment makes the whole wheat shine, wet dough baked in chunks, great all around rustic style bread. – $5/chunk.

Palmier. Sometimes known as  “elephant ears;” from an all butter, sugar-coated puff pastry baked into a delicious crunchy treat. Limited, order early. – 4 for $5.

uh-oh, this just in…Palmier sold out unless you pre-ordered…!


Arsenic and Cheap Wine

Extra! Extra! Two-buck Chuck ( and a bunch of his buddies) found to have highly toxic levels of Arsenic! OMD! So that’s what that funny taste was, and why my hair is falling out! Seriously, a class action lawsuit was recently filed in California claiming that some of the country’s largest-selling wines (including TBC, aka Charles Shaw) have arsenic (As) levels several times the Federal maximum standard for drinking water or 10 ppb.

This is interesting and alarming for a couple of reasons. Most obviously, no one wants to poison themselves. In addition, however, for the last few years I have been Prez of our local water association and have learned a lot about arsenic contamination and treatment. As most of you who live on Lummi Island know, many of the wells here contain very high concentrations of As, up to several hundred ppb, due to the natural occurrence of the metal in the local geology. So it is not particularly surprising that lots of crops around the world, including grapes, would take up a great deal of it into their tender little bodies and deliver it into our tender little bodies when we eat it, or in this case drink wine made from it.

The lawsuit is calling for some kind of standards and labeling, which seems reasonable. But establishing standards for wine is very different from establishing standards for drinking water. That’s because with drinking water you can ask, “if someone got all of their water from a well with X concentration of As, how many years would it take them to suffer measurable damage?” In the case of wine, however, we really don’t expect (but we could be wrong!) that anyone is really going to drink enough contaminated wine, even if several times the allowable concentration for drinking water, to get sick. If you are worried about it, we strongly recommend that you immediately stop buying mass-produced wine, and get all your wine from us!


Calling Professor Plum…

dscn1116 (Modified)Here’s the thing…fifteen or so years ago we planted a few fruit trees where we thought they would have some shelter from the prevailing southeasterly winds and as much sunshine as our shady lots would allow. Well, we have gotten the occasional apple over the years from our two trees, though not many, and not very big. Last year’s little bagful of Akanes was the best haul so far, and they were very tasty. But in all these years we have only seen one plum, and that didn’t survive to be harvested.

Initially we had two trees, thinking maybe they would get along, do their little stamen and pistil thing , and, you know, make fruit happen. The first problem (maybe) was that the two trees we planted blossomed weeks apart from each other, so that they never had blossoms at the same time. The second problem was that the early-blossoming plum tree passed on to tree heaven when it was only five or six years old. The late-blossoming tree is about fifteen, and is just now blossoming (see photo!).

We keep thinking it would be a nice experience for our surviving plum tree to actually bring some little plums into the world. You know, plum fulfillment, a sense of purpose, a sense of satisfaction. But here we are again, another Spring, another drawn-out blossom-time, and probably another barren year.

So YES, we are calling for HELP! We know Someone Out There has the Answer…so Please, our plum tree needs you! Bring your bees, your travelling blossoms, your divining rods, your magic, whatever it takes! Yes, will trade wine for plums!


All Betz are off! 

Again we are pouring from our library of Betz wines this week. This week we are pouring the 2010 La Sarenne Syrah. La Sarenne is Bob’s ongoing ode to Southern Rhone wine style, or as he puts it: “For over a decade we’ve worked with Dick Boushey to grow Syrah for La Serenne from the same rows of vines in his vineyard just north of Grandview. This relationship can’t be overstated in importance for achieving the results we want. As we’ve walked the vine rows during previous growing seasons, kicking dirt and tweaking leaves, we’ve developed an understanding of what each of us wants—growing the best grapes possible that create a wine of character, reflecting the vineyard and compelling the palate.”

So as with all of the Betz wines, this one is born from the footprint of the almost legendary Boushey vineyard and the fingerprints of both Dick Boushey and Bob Betz. By the way, when we were in Lyon last June, wandering around looking for a place to have dinner, I caught sight of Bob’s familiar face only a few feet away, and exclaimed, “Bob Betz!” He looked stunned for a moment before acknowledging, as we did, the rare experience of running into someone you know in a faraway place.

Our Betz wine display is almost finished (maybe up for this weekend!), and our special sale will continue until we have whittled down our inventory a bit.

Here’s the deal: Buy one Betz wine at the sticker price, and take off an additional 10% on any additional bottles. AND, if you are a wine club member, WE PAY SALES TAX!

See detailed tasting notes below.


This week’s tasting

Arindo Verdejo ’13 Spain 89pts $11
Perfumed, mineral-accented scents of pear, citrus, anise and smoky minerals. Dry and taut on entry, with lively pear and Meyer lemon flavors, leaving a refreshing lemon pith note behind.

Chateau Mayne-Vieil Buisson Redon ’11    France     $10
From 25 year old vines; 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc from clay-loam soil. Well made, easy to drink, and very affordable. 

Bodegas Triton Entre Suelos ’11 Spain 90pts $12
Ripe cherry, cassis and licorice on the pungent nose. Broad, chewy and concentrated, offering spicy black and blue fruit flavors with suggestions of candied violet and black pepper.

Domaine Moulinier Les Sigillaires  ’07   France     $17
Aged 12 months in neutral barrels. Nuanced notes of tapenade, dark fruits, and a fresh finish. Harvested quite early to retain acidity; nuanced palate with hints of orange and an elegant finish. We love this wine!

Betz La Sarenne Syrah ’10 Washington 93pts $49
Scented with cassis, blackberry, sage and fennel. Vibrant, expressive and deftly balanced, playing its juicy currant, plum and lavender flavors against refined tannins and lively acidity, firming up smoothly on the long finish.

Wine Tasting

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