lummi island wine tasting march 12 ’21

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Bread This Week

Breton – Incorporates the flavors of the French Brittany region. Bread flour, fresh milled buckwheat groats. and rye berries make for interesting flavor and the salt is sel gris – the grey salt from the region that brings more mineral flavors to this bread. Goes great with meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

Whole Wheat Levain – Made with a sourdough starter that is built up over several days and fermented overnight in the refrigerator. The bread is made with the levain,  bread flour, and about 25% fresh milled whole wheat. It has a ‘toothy’ crumb, great texture and flavor and a nice crisp crust.– $5/loaf

Brioche au Chocolate – A rich brioche dough made with plenty of butter, eggs and sugar, rolled out with pastry cream before sprinkling with dark chocolate.  -2/$

 

Wine of the Week: UDACA Eloquente Dão Tinto ’18

In the 1940’s Portugal’s Prime Minister Salazar established rules that required wine production to be done only by regional cooperatives which would  sell the wines to private merchants for distribution. Since 1966, UDACA has been a Portuguese wine cooperative in the Dão region of Portugal, located far enough inland in the northwest corner of the country to get some shelter from cold and rainy North Atlantic winters,  while also getting hot, dry summer sun exposure for full vineyard ripening.

The coop has successfully centralized the production of Dão  wines from nearly 60% of the region’s vineyards, located primarily in sandy, well-drained soils on a granite plateau 500-1500 ft. above sea level. and sheltered on three sides by granite mountain ranges. Unfortunately one downside of the coop organization was the lack of a competitive incentive to improve their wines until Portugal joined EU in 1979.   read more

UDACA Eloquente Dao Tinto ’18      Portugal     $9
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, and Alfrocheiro Pret; rich and intense; a popular wine from the Dao region,
with clear ruby color, clean aromas of red and ripe fruits; soft, balanced flavor, and  a lingering finish.

 

Normalcy on the Horizon…?

It is no secret that we and a large proportion of our “regulars” at the wine shop are retired. A big perk that comes with that much, um, experience is that many of us have already received our Covid vaccinations or soon will. And of course we have all been wondering, “When can we return to normal interaction with others who have had their shots?”

As if in response to millions of senior citizens rubbing magic lamps asking this same question, just in the last few days CDC announced that: People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may safely gather with small groups from other households without wearing masks or physically distancing, even if those people have not yet had their shots.

To which we can only say “Wow!” and “Really?”  But then, before we can get giddy about it we are surprised to encounter a part of ourselves that finds the whole concept of “social normalcy” too abstract even to imagine.

Nevertheless at the moment we are looking at limited reopening in April for those who have completed one of the Covid vaccine sequences. Stay tuned!

 

The NEW New Deal

The first 30 years of the 20th century were the decades of the Robber Barons (and the Spanish flu!), which led to the Great Depression beginning in 1929. There were no safety nets. Banks had no reserves, and many went out of business within days, taking ordinary people’s savings with them. Companies went out of business overnight. People lost their jobs, lost their savings, lost their homes. It was a terrible time. Most of us who are now old have stories from our parents, who were young adults then, of how people pulled together, and those who could gave meals at the back door to those less fortunate, and those who couldn’t stood in soup lines if they could find one.

In 1932, at the worst of it, FDR was elected President, launching a new era in American history, government, and economy. The New Deal addressed poverty with public employment programs like the CCC, and with the Social Security backstop for those who could not work even if there were jobs. It regulated the banking system and reorganized the Federal Reserve System to make it more responsible and resilient to financial perturbations.

The New Deal was based on the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, which can be metaphorically described with a little parlor game in which a number of people sit around a table with equal piles of money. When the game begins, everyone takes some money out of their stack and passes it to the person on the left. They can pass as much or as little as they choose.

That process continues until the game is ended without warning by a referee. At that point everyone gets to keep whatever money is left in front of them. The actual game is a psychology experiment which teaches the players something about their altruist-miser spectrum.

But Keynes was focused on how important it was for all the money to stay in circulation. In the first few pages of any economics text, there is some kind of chart of Circular Flows. Individuals work for themselves or for others in exchange for wages, which they spend to buy goods and services from other individuals and businesses. Businesses pay people to work for them to produce goods and services that other people buy. The game keeps going as long as everyone keeps taking in and passing out money. When anyone starts hoarding the stream slows down, and everyone but the hoarders has less, resulting in a slowing of the whole stream of exchange. Eveyone benefits when the game continues, and everyone loses when it slows down.

The basic difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans have convinced themselves that there is a way they can siphon money out of the system in such a way that the overall throughput will continue to increase. But in the forty years since Reaganism killed the New Deal once and for all, wealth has become densely concentrated in the hands of a smaller and smaller number of hoarding players. Worker incomes in real dollars have fallen continually. Spending cuts have gutted the public infrastructure which is necessary to keep the game going, and Republicans consider that a political victory.

We will continue this next week. The important takeaway for today is that the passage of the Covid Relief Bill is a major paradigm shift in US economic policy. After forty years of Reaganomics has gutted public infrastructure, thrown the poorest and most needy out of the lifeboat and under the bus, concentrated wealth in fewer and fewer hands, destroyed the environment, privatized more and more of the public sector (like prisons and military support facilities) into far more expensive and less effective operations, etc., etc., etc.

Whatever you want to call it, today marks the beginning of the New New Deal, the best thing that has happened in this country for a long, long time. It is something to be served with a bit of reverence and mindfully savored. MMMmmmmm!

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting march 5 ’21

NOTE:  We have been closed for wine tastings since March 2020. We currently anticipate opening for restricted tastings this Spring for those have completed an approved Covid vaccination sequence. Stay tuned!

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Sorry, No Bread This Week!  😥

As those of you on the Bread List already know, our Baker is taking this week off.

Expect next week’s menu email sometime this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy one of the loaves you have in your freezer!

 

 

 

 

Wine of the Week: Flying Trout Grenache     Washington   $17

The wine is named for and by Ashley Trout, its youthful and daring first winemaker. It is made from 100% Columbia Valley Grenache. She opened the winery began in the mid-2000’s, when she was spending February until May making wine in Mendoza, Argentina and the rest of the year in Walla Walla.

In 2010 she merged her winery with Tero Estates in Oregon, which built new facilities in Walla Walla.  In 2016 Ms Trout moved on to other pursuits, and her brand stayed with Tero. Having recently lost its winemaker, it is in a two year process of closing down, and has bottled and is closing out its remaining barrels of FT Grenache.

We just brought in one case to try it out, and are trying hard to order a bunch more (stay tuned!) We admit a soft spot for grenache in general, and this is a pretty good one. For the unfamiliar, think of grenache as the feminine side of syrah; a little less forward, a little softer, a little more graceful, a little more enchanting.

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our 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. EZ-PZ!

ALSO, we are in the process of restocking some favorites and adding some new wines to our list, including several new Portuguese wines. Hope to get the list updated soon!

 

 

Solid Foundations

We have had new Leadership in our country for a modest six weeks, and already everything feels very different. And in a Deeply Relieving way.

Metaphorically it’s like when the interrogators finally stop firing the retina-burning light into your eyes screaming “VERE VER YOU ON ZE NIGHT OF..?”). Or when the water-boarders finally take the hose and washcloth off your face; or when the Dentist finally stops drilling and starts filling. We can all feel it…a deeply healing (but not yet trusted) sense of Quiet and Relief after five Very Long years of This.

These are good things, welcome things. But we have grown skeptical and wary of optimism. It is one thing to have intellectual disagreements with our neighbors over values and ideology. It is quite another to be forced to take up arms to defend ourselves against fellow countrymen who no longer believe in our founding principles. The fundamental glue that holds any country together is a mutual will among its citizens to support a common set of values and rules. Right now in our country millions of people are now expressing a strong preference for racial, economic, and social autocracy over plural democracy. This is the essence of Trumpism, and the longer it endures, the more divided we will become.

We are on the verge of a new Civil War in our country. Every day it becomes clear that the Republican Party has become the New American Fascist Party, committed to White Domination over people of color and their white egalitarian sympathizers, and an increasing concentration of wealth into the hands of hateful and paranoid billionaires. Almost without exception, Republican Senators and Representatives are now touting Trumpism over the old Republicanism. Already the majority of Congressional Republicans have closed ranks around the idea that the only way to save the country is by not increasing the minimum wage, not providing extended relief packages for Covid-unemployed, not combating climate change, and not negotiating with Democrats on anything of substance.

So things are kinda quiet right now, but conditions remain rife for more violence.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting feb 26 ’21

 

click on photos for larger images

Bread This Week

Le Pave d’autrefois – which translates roughly as old paving stones. This is a ciabatta like bread with a lot of hydration so is simply divided into approximate squares – hence the paving stones name. Made with a mix of bread flour as well as fresh milled whole wheat, rye and buckwheat flours for a lot of hearty whole grain goodness. A great artisan bread -$5/loaf

Black Pepper Walnut- made with bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A fair amount of black pepper and toasted walnuts give this bread great flavor with just a bit of peppery bite to it. Would go well with all sorts of meats and cheese – $5/loaf

Pain aux Raisin – made with the same laminated dough as croissants. The dough is rolled out, spread with pastry cream and sprinkled with a mix of golden raisins and dried cranberries soaked in sugar syrup. Rolled up and sliced before baking. – 2/$5

 

Wines of the Week: Six Wines from Portugal

One of our members has long been lobbying for us to carry more Portuguese wines. Over the last month or two we have tasted and brought in a half dozen very tasty red wines that provide a delicious introduction to a wine tradition that dates back to Roman times. As a group despite modernization of viniculture and enology, these wines still represent faithfully the traditional characteristics of their subregions, in this case the cooler, Atlantic influenced Douro and Dao regions, and the drier and hotter Alentejo region bordering Spain.

Vila Nova Douro Red ’18     Portugal     $12
Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo, Touriga Franca; dark ruby color with jammy notes of ripe blueberry and blackberry with crisp accents and a seamless, well-balanced finish with silky tannins.

Quinta Do Vallado Douro Red ’14            Portugal            $16
Blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional,Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Lovely, floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit;  supple yet structured with notes of epper, meat and a lovely herbal twist.

Vicente Faria Gloria Douro Reserva ’16    Portugal    $16
40% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Nacional & 30% Touriga Franca; Juicy and delicious blend with aromas of fleshy black plum and blackberries; aged in oak barrels, full-bodied and smooth.

Quinto do Vallado 10 yr Tawny Port        Portugal      $29
Rich, fresh, and velvety aromas of dry fruits, praline, and orange confit with a note of tobacco on the very persistent and complex finish.

Eloquente Dao Tinto ’18 Portugal $9
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, and Alfrocheiro Pret; rich and intense, a popular wine from the Dao region with clear ruby color, and clean aroma of red and ripe fruits; soft, balanced flavor with a long finish.

Carmim Reguengos Alentejo Tinto ’18    Portugal     $9
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Fresh, supple, and structured, with lovely black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with notes of pepper, meat, and a lovely herbal twist.

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our 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. EZ-PZ!

ALSO, we are in the process of restocking some favorites and adding some new wines to our list, including several new Portuguese wines. Hope to get the list updated soon!

 

 

Making Elections Fair Again

In view of the increasing political appeal of to the now-dominant Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, the article makes a persuasive case for the need to reform: 1) the Presidential nomination process; 2) the Party Primary process; 3) Replacing legislative gerrymandering with balanced redistricting, and 4)  Campaign finance reform.

 Reforming the Nominating Process Toward Moderate Candidates
Several decades ago the standard nominating arena was the Party Convention, in which the week-long process of horse-trading generally led to balanced compromises; the more radical a candidate, the less likely to survive the winnowing.  Over recent decades the process has shifted more toward primaries, which favor more polarizing candidates who make it to office on small pluralities, not majorities. Ranked-choice voting would bring more of the old convention format leveling by including each voter’s first and second choices when picking the overall winner, making the election behave more like the compromises of the old Convention Method.

Reforming Primaries
In many states, candidates who lose in primaries cannot then run as independents in the same election. Allowing such candidates to run under third-party flags would be another balancing force for competition in the primary process along with ranked-choice voting.

Reform Gerrymandering
In recent decades, State House gerrymandering decisions have succeeded in allowing the party in legislative control in a state to design Congressional districts that effectively maintain their party’s legislative control of a disproportionate share of Congressional seats in the state by manipulating the number of constituents a seat represents in each district.

Reforming Campaign Finance Rules
In general, recent legal decisions on campaign financing lean toward more political narrowing of viewpoints compared to public financing. On the one hand, small donors are more politically motivated than large donors. Various formulas for providing additional public funding proportional to cash raised by small donations raise questions about whether this would increase or decrease polarization.

These ideas are a lot to think about. In addition to all of that, at some point we have to ask the question, “Why are these reforms even necessary? And when we explore that question, we see that there is an implicit assumption that politicians will tell the truth about their positions on issues and voters will vote for the candidate who best represents their values. But since “free speech” in media has come to mean “lying with impunity,” facts themselves have ceased to have common acceptance across political divides.

In the ideal world politicians would adjust their platforms to appeal to enough of their target constituencies to gain a majority of voters. But that’s not what Republicans do. They don’t compete for votes with appeals to logic. They compete for votes by making it harder for their likely opponents to register to vote, to cast ballots, and to have their votes counted. So while we believe the above rules are good ideas, we are left with the Quandary of our Moment in Time: how to tell Truth from Lies.

 

Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting feb 19 ’21

click on photos for larger images

Bread This Week

Polenta Levain – The sourdough starter is fed and built up over several days, then mixed with bread flour and polenta in the final dough mix. This is not the sweet corn cranberry bread that I have done in the past that is enriched with milk and butter, this bread is a nice rustic loaf with great corn flavor. – $5/loaf

Multi Grain Levain – This bread uses a flavorful mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A nice mixture of flax, sesame sunflower and pumpkin seeds and oatmeal add great flavor. And just a little honey for some sweetness. A great all around bread that is full of flavor – $5/loaf

Chocolate Panettone – Panettone is an italian brioche like sweet bread, almost like cake, generally made during the Christmas holidays as a large loaf, I’ve seen some for sale for close to $70. These chocolate panettone are a smaller version, and less expensive, but are still made with lots of sugar, butter, eggs and honey including 3 different types of chocolate as well as candied ginger & lemon and a chocolate glaze on top – 2/$5

 

Wine of the Week: Carmim Reguengos Alentejo Tinto ’18

The town of Reguengos is near the eastern edge of Portugal’s Alentejo wine region, about 90 miles east of the Atlantic coast and a dozen miles west of the Spanish border. In this sparsely populated rural area of ​​465 km², the principal provincial road winds through vineyards, olive trees, cork oaks, and lots of stork nests. The Carmim winery is owned by Rui Veladas, who, like many local growers, uses a number of biodynamic practices, including having sheep grazing among the rows of vines.

This regional attention to sustainable practices includes also The Dark Sky Project against air and light pollution; the pottery which is still handmade and the area restaurants that grow their own produce. Even the artificial lake that was created in 2002 is, at least in the eyes of local residents, a plus for the environment.

Carmim Reguengos Alentejo Tinto ’18     Portugal     $9
Blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sousão; Lovely floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit has evolved from a tricky vintage with harvest interrupted by rain. At the beginning the wine was a bit tannic, but has softened to lovely, fresh, supple, and structured black fruits with notes of pepper, meat, and a lovely herbal twist. A terrific value!

 

Wine Emergencies…Who Ya Gonna Call?

While Covid continues to limit our movements and associations, we will continue to help you keep your wine shelves topped up. We know how it is…one minute your wine shelves are reassuringly stocked, and the very next day you reach for something and OMD, where did it all go?? It happens to all of us during these undifferentiated days and weeks of semi-quarantine.

But fear not, mis amigos! When a wine emergency strikes YOUR wine pantry, just click on the Order Wine link in the header above to browse our 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. EZ-PZ!

ALSO, we are in the process of restocking some favorites and adding some new wines to our list, including several new Portuguese wines. Hope to get the list updated soon!

 

 

Bringing Back the Fairness Doctrine

Established in 1949 by the FCC, the Fairness Doctrine required holders of broadcast licensees in the U.S. to cover both sides of controversial public issues with honesty, equity, and balance. The Doctrine evolved from the Mayflower Doctrine of 1941, in which the FCC ruled that, because the public airwaves were a scarce resource, publicly licensed radio stations could not favor any particular political position or candidate.

The Fairness Doctrine clarified the Mayflower Doctrine with the requirement that licensees could not use their stations “for private interests, whims, or caprices , but (only) in a manner which will serve the community generally.” The Fairness Doctrine governed the content of public newscasts for nearly forty years until its demise in 1986, when Judges Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia of the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that though the Fairness Doctrine did apply to television, the FCC was not required to apply it. Huh? Say What…?

The next year, in 1987, the same appellate court decided further that since Congress had not mandated the doctrine, the FCC did not have to enforce it, saying in the Syracuse Peace Council decision that “the intrusion by government into the content of programming occasioned by the enforcement of [the Fairness Doctrine] restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters … [and] actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and the degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists.” 

A wee bit of contemplation shows clearly how these naive changes to media regulation led directly to the decades-long manipulation of political polarities that has dominated our political landscape for the past thirty years, culminating in the mob assault on the Capitol on January 6 by people who were deliberately misinformed and manipulated into those actions.

In a time when all of us are vulnerable to manipulation from all sides on any issue, it seems very appealing to go back to a “Fairness Doctrine,” where “fair and balanced” means exactly that.

 

 

 

Wine Tasting