Lummi Island Wine Tasting Valentine’s Day Weekend ’14

Yes! Valentine Truffles!

Logo_valentineYes, we have Truffles!

Fresh from the tempering machine, Pat’s latest batch includes three nuanced flavors, all enrobed in Valrhona 72% Dark Chocolate:

Classic: Dark French chocolate inside and out;

Cappucino: Milk chocolate/espresso ganache under dark French chocolate;

Cranberry: Cranberry-infused white chocolate ganache under dark French chocolate.

Please note: NO pre-orders this time– it’s first-come, first-served beginning Friday night. Truffles are $1 each; treat yourself and your sweetie!  Each order tidily bagged and tied, suitable for on the spot gratification or taking home as a Valentine treat! Repeat after me:  “YUM!”

 

Wine without a Home

The Universe is a mysterious place, but there is order to it. Summer comes, grapes ripen by themselves. Grapes are grapes; wine is wine. So at some level if it looks like wine, smells like wine, and tastes like wine, it is probably “wine.” So this weekend we are offering for your tasting pleasure a very modestly priced California zinfandel (see notes, below) that offers a ” deep red hue, rich nose of dark cherries and ripe plums with hints of spice and coffee, and a pleasing palate of blackberry and dark cherry.” And it’s really cheap: $6 a bottle!

Wines like this serve a market need. They are affordable, drinkable, and even enjoyable. They are generally the product of mega-wineries that have tons of juice left over after skimming off their stable of higher-end niche wines to a high standard which typifies their particular place of origin. The deselected juice is then blended and sold under a number of “branded” lower-end labels aimed at lower-priced markets. These wines by their nature have a bigger, County-wide or even California-wide “footprint.” They typify a marketing strategy more than they typify any particular place.

There is a kind of Darwinian market process going on here. The very best fruit finds it way to a small number of the best wines, and all the rest sorts itself out according to its market station. Modern winemaking technology makes all this plonk more or less palatable, and modern marketing gives us countless labels for basically the same wine. The big loss in all of this is that tasting them will not tell you a story about any particular place. So this is probably a good time to say that one basic characteristic of an “Artisan Wine” is that it has a story to tell about where it came from and who made it.

 

It’s the Carbon, Stupid!

Snow isn’t a big deal when you’re used to it. As a child in Maine in the 50’s (yes,  a long time ago!), snow was a familiar and enjoyable part of winter life. Our little residential street had a steep hill on one end, which was generally blocked off at the top for much of the winter, with little wooden barriers and the canteloupe-sized, black, round, flaming pots of oil that were used to mark road hazards in those days. You could pull your sled (they had a short line on the front) to the top of the hill, jump on (head first most of the time, with your hands on the steering bar), zoom down the hill, and coast about a block and a half! So snow can be fun, and if your community is capitalized for it, with plows and sanders and removal plans, it’s pretty easy to live with.

The trouble with Climate Change is that No One is Ready. Not humans, not animals, not plants, not anything that is place-habituated. Those polar bears can swim, but not, you know, 24/7. Those salmon can swim out in the Ocean for a few years and have a great time, but they expect streams and rivers still to be there when they come back to spawn. And those phytoplankton expect the basic salinity and acidity of the ocean to be more or less in the ball park of where it has been for hundreds of millions of years. All I want to say about that is that a few years ago David Suzuki gave a talk at the Mt Baker Theater over there on the mainland. After the talk someone asked if we should be concerned about climate change. He said, “you should be sh*#*ing your pants!”

About thirty years ago as a research fellow on the economic impacts of possible climate change I wrote a paper summarizing the then-current thinking and the likely effects on global fisheries. All you need to know is that the only mistake climate scientists have made is to underestimate the speed and magnitude of the changes. The big takeaway here is that the biosphere is a razor-thin veneer well-adapted to gradual change but utterly incapable of dealing with rapid change. Imagine Winston-Salem with no snowplows, but it just keeps on snowing and snowing and snowing…

 

This week’s tasting notes

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes ’12 Argentina $14
Highly perfumed aromas of lemon drop, white flowers, peppermint and white pepper. Supple, pliant and easygoing, with citrus, herbal and floral flavors joined by a hint of licorice. Argentine winemaker Susana Balbo, “Queen of Torrontes” strives for balance in her wines, with layers of complexity coming from the individually fermented varietals. She spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers. Her wines are seamless and well structured often showing the faint earthiness which is a hallmark of the Mendoza region

Ravenswood ‘Zen of Zin’ Zinfandel ’12    California         $6
Deep red hue, rich nose of dark cherries and ripe plums with hints of spice and coffee, and a palate of blackberry and dark cherry. Ravenswood makes about 200,000 cases of wine a year from a broad collection of vineyards in Sonoma County, which generally experience hot days and cool nights, but with a wide array of soil types, temperature variation, elevation, and sun exposure.

Buglioni Valpolicella Classico ’10 Italy $12
Refined, feminine personality. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices linger on the high-toned, refreshing finish. read more about the winemaker

Townshend Red Table     Washington     $12
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah blend; aromas of black cherry, blackberry, strawberry, cedar and a hint of orange zest fill your senses with lingering pepper & tobacco notes. Spokane’s Townshend Winery gets the majority of its grapes come from the Prosser, Yakima and Tri-Cities, especially Willard Farms in Prosser.

Finca Allende Rioja ’06 Spain $21
Ripe, powerful scents of roasted cherry, plum, dark chocolate, and smoky herbs. Port-like on the palate, with deeply concentrated dark fruit compote, espresso, and bitter chocolate flavors, finishing with a rich wallop of ripe plum and impressive length. Read more about the winery

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

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