lummi island wine tasting sept 6 ’19

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Friday Breads

Note: There will be bread for the next 2 Fridays, the 6th and 13th, followed by a (gulp!) 3-week gap before bread Friday returns on October 11th! Our baker will be off to Finland & Latvia exploring bakeries and farms in search of new breads and pastries.

This week’s breads:

Pear Buckwheat – The preferment in this bread is a poolish, made with bread flour, water and a bit of yeast and fermented overnight. Mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled buckwheat. Since buckwheat has no gluten using the preferment allows the dough to begin to develop before the final mix. The addition of toasted walnuts and dried pears soaked in white wine makes for a really flavorful bread – $5/loaf

French Country Bread – A levain bread made with mostly bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and and a bit of toasted wheat germ. After building the levain with a sourdough culture 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. Not a refined city baguette, but a rustic loaf that you would find int he countryside. – $5/loaf

Traditional Croissants – Made with two preferments, a levain as well as prefermented dough – which is also known as old dough where a portion of the flour, water, salt and yeast is fermented overnight. The final dough is then made with more flour, butter, milk and sugar, laminated with more butter before being cut and shaped into traditional french croissants. – 2/$5

( breads must be pre-ordered by Wednesday for pickup here at the wine shop at our Friday wine tasting, 4-6pm. Planning a visit to the Island? Email us to get on the mailing list!)

Wine and Stars at Elqui Valley, Chile

We have all heard of the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, one of the driest, cloudless, and least inhabited places on Earth. Because of these conditions, it is home to about (I am Not Making This Up!) 70% of the World’s celestial observation infrastucture. One of our wines this weekend comes from this extraordinary place.  Read more

The wine in question is the Mayu Pedro Ximenez, a simple name that deserves a fair amount of unpacking.

First, you may recognize the name “Pedro Ximenez” from Spanish dessert wines. Sometimes just called PX, it is an intensely sweet, dark, dessert sherry made by drying PX grapes to raisins before pressing them into a thick, black liquid. Typically, PX has too low an acidity to make palatable still wine, but this is obviously not the case with today’s offering. Btw, we have never before seen PX offered as a still white, so this one is quite an adventure!

There is considerable lore as to the origins of this grape. It may have originated in either the Canary Islands or Madeira and found its way to Germany where eventually a Spanish soldier named Pedro Ximen or perhaps a Catholic Cardinal named Ximenès brought the grape to Spain. Other scientific research suggests it may have originated in Andalusia and is related to the Arabic table grape Gibi, and dates back to Moorish rule. In any case, the grape is very susceptible to botrytis, the “Noble Rot” responsible for France’s premier dessert wine, sauternes, which partially explains its success in making dessert wines from sherry.

However, some believe it is yet another grape called Pedro Gimenez, which originated in Argentina, while others think it originated in Portugal (it is reminiscent of vinho verde...) You can take your own pick of origin stories, since there seems to be no authoritative standard.


Annual Drydock

Well, she’s an Old Boat by any standard (60 years!), and needs lots of attention, so every September she goes to Seattle for Annual Maintenance. For most of the past 20 years that has meant leaving for Drydock on the Wednesday after Labor Day. And that meant a Disharmonic Convergence of ferry traffic among: a) people escaping the Island to avoid dealing with the Passenger Boat altogether; b) visitors leaving after a brief stay; c) islanders parking a car to the mainland for occasional trips to town, to mention a few.

And That Meant several intense days of long ferry lines to get off the island. Under this new schedule we have had several days to prepare. The Last Run of the car ferry from the Island departs at 9:20am on Saturday morning, 9/7; the First Run of the passenger ferry is scheduled for 4pm.

We had a call today from a group coming to the Island for the weekend and wondering whether reservations would be necessary for Friday night. As Our People know, there are no reservations necessary during our regular hours, we just Shoehorn ’em in as best we can. However, we did have a lengthy conversation about the Meaning of Drydock to Visitors. This included the shuttle bus schedule, the Impossibility of getting a car off the Island when the car ferry is not in service, and the possibility of driving all their gear to the Island on Friday and taking the car back to park on the mainland on Saturday.

We hope to have our cars placed, groceries bought, and supplies laid in before opening the shop on Friday!


Mar a Lago Update: Economic Uninhabitability

Over the past year our own Governor and recent Presidential candidate Jay Inslee played a significant role in raising national consciousness of the grave perils of Climate Change by making it the central theme of his brief candidacy. And while he was not able to get enough traction with the Public and within the Democratic Party to bring about a Candidates’ Debate solely on the subject of Climate Change, he was a main reason that yesterday CNN held a national Town Hall, giving the ten remaining  candidates a half-hour each  to address the subject in a live forum.

Unlike the highly formatted Official Debates which rarely provide time for thoughtful discussion of he issues, these interviews and Q & A with the audience gave us a much clearer impression of each candidate’s climate policy orientation. So we thank Governor Inslee and CNN for making it happen. The discussions occurred against the catastrophic damages just inflicted by Category 5 Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. All in all the CNN event was a Good Thing, emphasizing the stark differences between Democratic and Republican positions on the issue, with all of the candidates fielding tough questions from voters, and generally agreeing that Climate Change poses an Urgent Existential Threat to human survival. In the forty years since my own involvement in climate impact analysis, this is the Biggest Breakthrough in public awareness we have seen…forty years too late, but a Milestone nevertheless!

To review, the main effect of increasing concentrations of “Greenhouse Gases” in the atmosphere (CO2, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, chloroflourocarbons, and water vapor) is to trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. A hotter atmosphere causes higher temperatures, more evaporation, more rainfall, more runoff, and more flooding than historic norms. It also means that the atmosphere has more kinetic energy, leading to more powerful storms with higher winds. Diverse ecosystems everywhere are increasingly stressed as the changing hydrological cycle makes established habitats less viable for many species.

In addition, since groundwater supplies on shorelines and islands to various degrees “float” like lenses on top of denser saltwater boundaries at shorelines, many wells near shores (as in the Bahamas) are already irreversibly saline. The list of impacts goes on and on; the point of this little discussion is that the Costs of Climate Change are not something that will happen sometime in the Future; they are Here Now. In the last dozen Years of Measurable Global Warming we have witnessed increasingly powerful wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and tornados directly caused by climate change destroy entire crops, forests, and communities. Certain regions will become Economically Uninhabitable long before they are Physically Uninhabitable.

Washington Post Tweetster Lie Count to date: 12,000 as of 6/10/19


This weekend’s wine tasting

Mayu Pedro Ximenez ’18    Chile     $10
In the mouth, this dry Pedro Ximénez from Elqui on the edge of the Atacama desert feels plump and medium in intensity, with notes of kiwi and flowering herb lead to a crisp dry palate with a mouthwatering finish.

La Croix Belle Caringole Rosé ’17 France     $12
Syrah-Grenache blend; intense nose of rose petals and garrigue; palate of cherries and raspberries with notes of dried rosemary and thyme and a citrus accent on the crisp finish.

Fenocchio Langhe Nebbiolo ’17   Italy  $21
10 days on the skins, 6 months in stainless steel, and 6 months in oak before bottling. Nose of black cherries, dark fruits and gentle dark florals. Palate of ripe black fruit; Attractive and plush, with silky mouthfeel and fine tannins.

Alain Jaume Clos Sixte Lirac ’15   France    $25
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre.  Aromas of  kirsch and wild blackberry; full on the palate, with notes of black currant and spice. Fleshy, elegant tannins with hints of licorice and vanilla on the finish.

Gutierrez-Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso   Spain     $14
Nutty, rich aromas; light mahogany in color; almost sweet with creamy oak, roasted almonds, and spicy fruit liqueur notes; powerful, flavorful, and spirituous.

Wine Tasting

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