Lummi Island Wine Tasting February 8 ’14

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A Somewhat Cross Cross-Quarter Day


Well, as usual there is good news and bad news. The good news is that, as as noted last Sunday, Groundhog Day happened on schedule, confirming that Our Dear Planet has moved halfway between Winter and Spring (thus, “cross-quarter day”). The bad news is that it has been feeling more like Winter here the past week than it usually EVER feels, as our old friend the Northeaster has dropped in unsually late in the season and seems to be overstaying its welcome. A nor’easter in February is an unusual event around here, so it is a little spooky. Nevertheless, the Earth keeps moving, and the Sun has reassuringly moved from its Solstice maximum to its present position, and odds are good it will start getting warmer and brighter very soon.



bodegabirdSo. California is in the midst of a very serious, life-threatening, culture-threatening, life-as-we-know-it threatening drought. Walking along the hillsides north of Bodega Bay recently, my attention was drawn to a large raptor that soared in a great circle and then settled onto a rock quite far away. This photo, at maximum zoom, is suggestive of its identity, which remains a mystery. But the larger backdrop is How Dry Everything Is. And my fantasy is of the raptor’s searching for food in the very dry (yet replete with mole-holes) hillside, at some level perhaps musing on its chances for survival. Everywhere we look there are signs that our Ways, corporate, personal, ecological, and cultural, are suicidally out of sync with the constraints of the biological world, and that we are individually helpless to change it. How many lemmings are mobbed into the water, helpless victims of some larger idiocy they can neither fathom nor amend…?

The Art of Wine Returns

dscn0008 (Modified (2))Several times a day I take a moment and ask, “Okay, who are we and what are we doing…?” It is, of course, a rhetorical question, and for a person of a certain age, a consciousness-focusing exercise. But at the moment I am inclined to digress, admit, and proclaim, that “we” with regard to our little wine shop includes, in a curiously undefined way, our very dear friend Ryan. He recently posted a very powerful memoir on the tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, my takeaway from which is, to quote the old Joan Baez song, “there but for Fortune go you or I…” All you need to know is that next month (March) we will offer again Ryan’s really delightful Art of Wine series, linking wine, food, culture, and art from several regions. It’s fun, it’s enlightening, and it’s educational. Watch for details next week!


Apes R Us…?

The thought of the moment is that these are deceptively difficult times; nearly fifty years ago Grace Slick intoned, “When the Truth is fooounnnd… beeee….Lies…” And here we are in early aught-fourteen, and, hey, Lying is the New Truth! It is difficult to shake the notion that we are collectively destroying the Life on our planet…possibly the only place it exists in the unimaginably Vast Universe. Like the Charlton Heston character in the original Planet of the Apes, here we are with nor’easters in February, global weather well out of familiar patterns, and the Few intent on destroying the Many for a few more soon to be worthless shekels. It just makes you thankful that you can forget it all with good wine and jolly companionship at your neighborhood Wine Gallery…!


This week’s tasting: Four cabs and an Italian chardonnay

Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2012 Italy $13
From hillside vineyards in Sardinia at about 190 metres above sea level, with mild winters, limited rainfall, and very hot and windy summers. Hand-selected grapes, using only very light first pressing. Typical notes of papaya, passion fruit, flowers, and honey, with clean, mineral notes.

2010 Brian Carter Abracadabra Red Wine ’10 Washington 89pts $16
This potpourri of nine Washington varietals from pedigreed vineyards gives a very broad sense of “Washington terroir.” Musky, reduced aromas of redcurrant and smoky oak, followed by intense redcurrant and spice flavors; finishes with firm tannins, hints of pepper, herbs, and very good length.

Ordonez Zerran ’11 Spain WA92pts $13
Old vines Garnacha, Mazuelo and Syrah from 1500′ hillsides, where soils are lime-bearing over a granite and slate subsoil. Quite arid with annual rainfall of about 25 in. Shows abundant kirsch, lavender, black raspberry and dusty, loamy, earthy scents intermixed with notions of spring flowers and blackberries.

Sanguineti Morellino de Scansano ’10 Italy $14
Soil of river stones, quartz, sea shells. Bursts with notes of sun-ripened, slightly smoky fruit, fresh cracked pepper, sage, and ocean brine. Its taut structure supports a long, slightly smoky finish.

Viu Manent San Carlos Malbec Chile WA91pts $18
Deep medium fertility topsoil with loam to clay-loam texture on 240m plateau. Explosively perfumed aromas of cherry-cola, roasted coffee and dark chocolate, and roasted dark berry flavors.



Wine Tasting

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