lummi island wine tasting dec 18 ’20

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Holiday Bread Crumbs

As all of you on the Friday Bread List already know, because Christmas and New Year’s both occur on Fridays this year, this weekend will be the last Friday bread delivery until January 8.  No need for panic, however — even though we will be closed we will continue to accept wine orders by phone/email through the holidays for pickup by arrangement.

Just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse a list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience.

 

 

Wine of the Week: Gamache Boulder Red 2016     Washington Columbia Valley    $20

Malbec 42%, Syrah 23%, Merlot 23%, Cabernet Franc 8%, Cabernet Sauvignon 4%. “Smooth and luscious with heady aromas of dark fruit, loamy earth, vanilla and cedar, and compelling flavors of black cherry, plum and dark berries mingled with graham, vanilla and spice. Refined tannins add depth to the full-bodied finish.”

In 1982 Roger and Bob Gamache brought a family farming heritage to Washington and planted the Gamache vineyard near the White Bluffs in Columbia Valley under the guidance of Washington wine pioneer Walter Clore.  Twenty years later they began making wine under their own label. From their years as vintners they had established symbiotic working relationships with other top vintners in the area that gave them access to the highly sought-after fruit from the iconic Ciel du Cheval vineyard on Red Mountain and Champoux vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills.

All vineyards are not created equal, and great fruit is the necessary ingredient for great wine. Therefore it is not surprising that Gamache wines are highly regarded, including our “wine of the week” Boulder Red.

 

        

 

Mar a Lago Update: The Art of Exhalation

This particular editorial spot in the wine blog actually began on our nation’s last “Inauguration Day” in 2017. Spurred on by the Women’s March, it evolved into a commitment to maintain a sort of Vigil, a weekly reflection of sorts, on the inevitable unfolding Disaster of Trumpism. But it wasn’t until our April 28. 2017 post that we first began the “Mar a Lago Update” name that we have maintained ever since, on the order of some two hundred posts. It’s been something of a Solitary Solidarity thing. Like how crying releases toxins.

The toy duck photo had been taken some years earlier at the little park near the ferry landing in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The image captures perfectly (for us, anyway) the grotesque whimsy of a narcissistic psychopath bumbling into becoming the World’s Most Powerful person. Or, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, “it just does not Equaaate…blame it on a simple Twist of Fate.”

It’s been a Long Slog and we are all Exhausted. Spent. Just beginning to dare to Hope. It’s a fragile place. Trauma is like that. When nourishment is consistently pulled out of reach for no apparent reason but entertainment, and the beatings continue randomly, it is reasonable to feel hopeless and powerless.

That said, this week is the first time in four years that there might be an actual glimmer of Light at the end of what has been a very Long and very Dark Tunnel. It’s hard to let that nourishing feeling in, because it might be yanked away at the last minute. But it will bring a long-longed-for nourishment to have a Good Joe in the White House  And we now know that IS going to happen!

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting dec 10 ’20

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Friday Bread Crumbs

Bread pickup continues for the next two Fridays from 4-5:30 in our open garage (see photo at left). And as long as the national surge in Covid cases continues, we are not allowing visitors inside to shop. It’s chilly, but still festive. Wear your mask and hang out for a few minutes of socially distant schmoozing!

Similarly, for wine sales we are going back to email/phone ordering only until Covid is under better control, whether it be sooner from a return to more responsible social behavior, or later from the hoped-for but slow to realize effects of budding vaccination programs.

Click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse a list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience.

 

Wine of the Week: The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier ’18      South Africa    $11

 

Boekenhoutskloof farm was established in 1776. Located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek Wine Valley of South Africa, about 50 km east of the Cape of Good Hope, the farm’s name means “ravine of the Boekenhout” (pronounced Book-n-Howed), which is an indigenous Cape Beech tree greatly prized for furniture making. In 1993 the farm and homestead were bought and restored and a new vineyard planting programme was established that now includes Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon and Viognier.

When the farm was founded, the Franschhoek valley was far wilder than it is today. Though the mountains are still alive with indigenous animals, including the majestic leopard, the only evidence that wolves once roamed here is an ancient wolf trap found long ago. This wine was named in homage to the mysteries and legends of days gone by.

Most of the Syrah in The Wolftrap comes from the Swartland region (photo, left), where it develops its robust character and elegant aromas of violets and ripe plums, accentuating its spicy, peppery profile while retaining the juicy, fruity character which is its hallmark. The Mourvèdre, also from the Swartland, lends a red fruit character and smoky body while the dash of Viognier brings perfume and vibrancy to the blend and makes for a rustic Rhône-style blend that seriously over-delivers for its $11 price point.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier ’18      South Africa    $11
Ripe plums, red currants, violets, Italian herbs and exotic spice dominate the nose. The perfume of the nose follows through with a certain smokiness and flavours of darker berries, liquorice, cardamom, star anise and cinnamon. The wine is fresh, plummy and vibrant with hints of fennel seed, orange peel, cloves and black pepper lingering on a juicy finish.

 

Mar a Lago Update: Uphill In Every Direction

Back in the 80’s when I was a potter, I had a little gallery in Laconner, WA, a charming little town on the Swinomish Channel. I became friends with poet, artist, and calligrapher Robert Sund, who had lived there for a long time among the likes of painter Guy Anderson (who also came by the shop occasionally). Robert came by the shop from time to time, and we had many enjoyable conversations over several years. We also displayed some of his work, including what he called “Wind Letters.” These were pieces of heavy paper on which he would pen haiku-like quotations in lovely calligraphy. One that I have always treasured is a quote from DT Suzuki: “To judge the direction of the wind it is enough to look at a single blade of grass.” (photo below; click to expand). So let’s look at a few blades and guess which way the wind might blow.

If we have learned anything in the month since the 2020 election, it is that Trump Nation is not a political party in the usual sense. Rather, it is a Cult, reminiscent of the “Unification Church” followers of  South Korean guru Sun Myung Moon (hence the term “Moonies”) who were for many years the young, spaced-out, shiny-eyed fixtures accosting travelers for donations at airports around the world.

Like the Moonies, Trump supporters are immune to facts. They are completely committed to Trumpism, whatever that means to them. As reported during the 2016 election campaign, supporters often became attached to a single sound byte Trump might have uttered in passing. For some it was about immigrants, for some about racism, for some about taxes, for others about feeling oppressed by “liberal elites.” Like Reverend Moon, Trump has built his entire career on his Gift for Grift, and for the last four years Congressional Republicans have been willing accomplices in supporting his lies. As with Woody Allen’s fictional brother, they know he’s a phony, but they “need the eggs too much.” Which is why most Republicans are afraid to cross him.

The crisis of this particular moment is typical of what we can expect for the next four years if Darth McConnell maintains control of the Senate. For the past several days we have seen glimmers of hope that members of Congress might pull together to help American families keep roofs overhead and food on the table until the risk of contagion is brought under control by newly developed vaccines. But today the process has again gotten stuck over the details.

It is wonderful that in six weeks a new Biden administration will control the Executive branch of government and Democrats the House. It would be even more wonderful if Democrats could win control of the Senate in the Special Election in Georgia on January 5, so our country could finally begin to move forward against the ticking clock of climate change. Sadly, it is likely the Evil Mr. McConnell will remain in control and extract a heavy tab for even the slightest cooperation toward that goal. So we must make him offers he can’t refuse. All we have to do is find ways to make carbon reduction more profitable than carbon production.

And we can do that. Yes, we can…!

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting dec 4 ’20

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Friday Bread Crumbs

After taking Thanksgiving weekend off, Janice’s bread pickup returns Friday from 4-5:30 at the wine shop. And while the national surge in Covid cases continues, we are backing off from allowing visitors inside. Therefore bread pickup remains outside the shop (see photo at left). It’s chilly, but festive; please wear a mask and hang out for a few minutes of schmoozing!

Similarly, for wine sales we are going back to email/phone ordering only until Covid is under better control again, whether it be sooner from a return to more responsible social behavior, or later from the hoped-for but slow to realize effects of budding vaccination programs.

Click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse a list of currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. When you have made your selections you can phone us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above. We will confirm your order and make arrangements for pickup/delivery at your convenience.

 

Wine of the Week: Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon ’18

 

We have regularly kept at least a few bottles of this wine on our shelves for several years. Liberty School is one of several labels of Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles (California). They have five different labels (Austin Hope, Treana, Quest, Liberty School, and Troublemaker). We have regularly carried a couple of their lower-end wines, the Liberty School cab and the Treana white blend. They both pretty consistently pack a lot of wine pleasure for the price, so we tend to keep a few of each available most of the time.

Over recent decades, Paso has become increasingly recognized for its high quality vineyards and good wine, now with more than 200 wineries and some 40,000 acres of vineyards. The Paso Robles AVA’s reach within six miles of the Pacific Ocean to the inland side of the Santa Lucia coastal mountains in San Luis Obispo County, forming a rectangle 35 miles from east to west, and 25 miles from north to south. The area includes diverse soils from weathered granite, marine sedimentary rocks, volcanic rocks, and younger marine sedimentary rocks. As with much of the California coast, the combination of hot days and ocean-induced cool nights makes for consistently favorable growing conditions.

Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon ’18      $15
Aromas of fresh dark cherries and baking spices evolve into flavors of bing cherries, savory herbs, and a touch of cinnamon; on the palate it is fresh yet very smooth and balanced with a touch of bright acidity.

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Intimations of Relief

The Relief is almost beginning to seem Real. But even at this late date, seven weeks till Inauguration, our hopes are still tender and tentative. The last four years have been a kind of Purgatory, an ongoing assault on facts and reason.

Those of you of a certain age will remember the old Ed Sullivan variety show back in the fifties and early sixties. Besides being an introductory showcase for young headliner stars like Elvis and the Beatles, there was also a regular roster of familiar acts that appeared many times over the years. One of those memorable acts was Señor Wences, (see video) a ventriloquist with a very entertaining set of skills. He had two main characters, one a child-puppet painted on his hand, and a bearded man’s head in a wooden box. Wences would frequently open the door of the box and say “All right?” and the head would say in a deep voice, “All Right!” And they would go back and forth like that, door opening and closing, “All Right?All Right!..All Right?…All Right!

What does this have to do with the last four years? Okay, imagine we are all Señor Wences, and every time we do our act and open the door to the box expecting the head to say All Right!, instead a bunch of Wild-Eyed Clown Jacks-in-the-Box would spring out with insane laughter. And it goes on like that, over and over and over and over, a hundred times a day for four very long years.: Torture by Insane Clown-in-the-Box.

It’s been grueling. It’s been a global Nightmare. We never imagined it could possibly go on This Long, or go So Far off the Tracks. But eventually the true Horror of it sank in and we have crawled under the covers at night for these four years, emotionally exhausted and moaning in disbelief: “OMD, this isn’t a Dream, This is Really Happening! Why? Why?…

Well, knock on all available wood, but glimmers of Hope are appearing like little spring flowers reaching up from the mud. Even though the most likely scenarios show little hope of national unity any time soon, it IS starting to look like we have gained a little foothold on at least a small chance at a survivable future for Life on Planet Earth.

Let it be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting thanksgiving ’20

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Friday Bread Crumbs

As those of you on the Bread email list have known all week, our baker Janice is taking Thanksgiving weekend off from bread baking. That, combined with the national resurgence of The Virus, means that the wine shop is also closed to visitors this weekend.

Until the national surge in Covid cases abates, we are backing off from allowing visitors inside for wine shopping. Instead we are going back to email/phone ordering only. Click on the Order Wine link in the header above for currently available wines with tasting notes and prices. We are making progress on setting up enough of an online store to allow our members to order and pay online for pickup on Fridays or by arrangement. For the time being, when you have made your selections you can call us with your order or email us using the Contact Us link above to send us your order. We will contact you to confirm your order and to make arrangements for pickup/delivery.

 

Wine of the Week: Sea Sun Pinot Noir 

Sea Sun is one many wine labels created by the Charles Wagner family which began with the inauguration of the Caymus winery in Napa Valley in 1972. They were among the pioneers who made Napa cabernets sought after and collectible. In the fifty years since then, the family has expanded its portfolio of  wineries to include Mer Soleil, Emmolo, Conundrum, Bonanza, and Sea Sun. Their wines tend to be big, fruity, flavorful wines with rich flavors and pleasing mouthfeel that evokes a pleasant sense of self-indulgence without breaking the bank.

 

Sea Sun Pinot Noir ’17    California    $18
A bountiful deep red, this wine features scents of baked cherries, toasted wood and fresh out of the oven baguette, with hints of cranberry and flinty graphite. On the palate, there is an intensity and creaminess to the fruit, evoking the ripe richness of pie filling. Toasted oak and vanilla add intriguing layers, while grippy tannins create depth and dimension. The finish tapers off with this wine’s lush fruit.

 

 

 

Mar a Lago Update: Our Imperfect Union

Georgia. Not Wisconsin, not Michigan, not Pennsylvania. Georgia. To a substantial degree, perhaps measurable in various ways over the next decade and beyond, the outcome of the two U.S. Senate seats remaining  to be determined in the 2020 election may very well have a huge impact on the future of the entire world.

In an editorial last June, columnist Jennifer Senior wrote an opinion piece in the NY Times tracing “Trumpism” back some thirty years to the Gingrich Revolution in the Republican Party: Gingrich wrote the playbook for it all. The nastiness, the contempt for norms, the transformation of political opponents into enemies…You really could argue that today’s napalm politics began with Newt: The normalization of personal destruction. The contempt for custom. The media-baiting, the annihilation of bipartisan comity, the delegitimizing of institutions.

Her story was strongly influenced by the release of Burning Down the House, a book by historian Julian Zelizer, which traces how Gingrich’s scorched-earth politics transformed the Republican Party: So much that’s associated with the Republican Party under Trump, Zelizer argues — the rowdiness, the bare-knuckle name-calling, the white-knuckle clinging to power at all cost — dates back to Gingrich’s ascent in the late ’80s.

Gingrich spawned a generation of Republican politicians who had no respect for tradition or inter-party comity in the House or Senate. Rather, Gingrich made it fashionable for aspiring Republicans to use mockery, hyperbole, anger, personal insult, and other forms of ad hominem attacks against electoral opponents. Since Gingrich, the point has never been to argue a platform; it has consistently been to manage public perception.

All of this division has been fueled not only by these Republican politicians, but also their joined-at-the-hip Media Echo Chambers at Fox News, Brietbart, and a national network of anger-mongering radio pundits. Curiously, having managed to make the Tweetster the Star of their Show, the Party now needs his support to win these crucial Georgia Senate seats. And no, he isn’t going to do it out of party loyalty.

This could all be the last Scene of some sci-fi Shakespeare play. In the romance version the world is saved. In the tragedy version, Darth McConnell launches the Death Star and it’s the end of Ever..y….t…..h……i……..n…………g…………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Tasting