Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's A Miracle!

Okay, maybe it's a miracle. But after a cold and wet spring and a coolish summer, the rains of early October didn't bode well for the wine grape crop here in the ol' Willamette. Dammit.

But look what is apparently on the way! It's actually been updated since this graphic was put up and the predictions are for a couple of degrees warmer next week. Perhaps all my good friends in the wine making and wine growing businesses will be saved. I hope so.

Fingers crossed, kids!

EDIT: Apparently I've posted a dynamic link, so the forecast you're looking at is the current forecast, not the original forecast for October. Sorry. I should have taken a screen capture.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Sad Day

It's with great sadness that I acknowledge the death of Steve Jobs in this space. I really have nothing further to say except to quote Steve when he was trying to recruit John Sculley from PepsiCo. "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?"

Rest in peace, Steve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs - An Early Look

Over the last week, I've had the pleasure to taste 13 different 2010 pinot noirs from the Willamette Valley, either bottled wines or final blends. I'll spare everyone the play-by-play, which I find boring, in favor of an overall impression.

The wines tasted were as follows:

GC Commuter Cuvee
Ayres Willamette Valley
Seven of Hearts Willamette Valley
Seven of Hearts Lia's Vineyard
Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard
Seven of Hearts Special Reserve
Luminous Hills Lux
Vincent Willamette Valley
Vincent Ribbon Ridge
Vincent Zenith Vineyard
Vincent Armstrong Vineyard
Helioterra Willamette Valley
Helioterra Vintner's Select

Across the board, the wines are a hair short of stunning. The vintage is a sort of 2008 restrained. Everything, from aromas to balance to flavors to balance, is perfect. They're only lacking the 2008s' ethereal and soaring aromas and sappy fruit. The Vincent and Helioterra wines are quite nice. The Seven of Hearts and Luminous Hills wines [i]are[/i] stunning. The Grochau and Ayres exhibit a cola component and a touch of sour cherry that I personally find a bit troubling, but it's not overwhelming. Tannins are fine but substantial.

In the long run, there's a chance they will actually be better than the 2008s, but that requires a Ouija board more accurate than mine.

Back up the truck.

PS - If you like restrained, French-ish chardonnay, buy the 2010 Seven of Hearts. It's not bottled yet, but when I tasted it I shouted to the empty room, "WINNER!".

Disclosure: I work part time for Seven of Hearts/Luminous Hills, but Byron knows I'll call crap wines crap if it comes to that and that I don't hand out accolades willy-nilly. The wines are that good.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grrrrrr . . . The Oregon Liquor Control Commission "Sting"

So . . . two women walk into a wine tasting room. I know, it sounds like I'm starting a bad joke, but stay with me. This is not a fabricated story, it's the sad and awful truth. It happened just Friday.

One of the women is older, the other is younger and talking on her cell phone the entire time. The older one approaches the bar, greets the server and responds, "Yes," to the server's question about whether they're both tasting. The younger one is across the room with her face obscured by the phone. She looks a little young but the server doesn't want to interrupt her conversation to ask for ID because it would be rude - leaving aside how rude it is to walk into a wine tasting room while yapping on your telephone to begin with, of course.

I think you may have an inkling of where this is going given the title of this post, so let's go there together.

The server pours the requisite ounce of wine into each of two glasses which remain sitting on the bar, untouched. Just then, the younger woman removes the phone from her face and turns toward the bar. The now-horrified server comes to the sudden realization that, not only is the customer probably underage and absolutely needs to be carded, but that she may have just been "stung" by the OLCC.

Sure enough. The older woman identifies herself as being from the OLCC, demands to see the server's permit to pour alcohol (which she's fully entitled to do) and announces that the server has violated the law by serving a minor. Then the police officer they'd dragged along enters the room from the street to issue a citation. An extended (and probably heated I'd think) discussion then ensues involving the quite smug and haughty people from the OLCC, the server and the winery owner. After what was apparently some extended wrangling, the end result is that the untouched glass doesn't matter and the server is appearing in court next week.

What an incredible crock of shit. I'm sorry, but there's simply no other way to describe this that conveys my sense of outrage at a scheme that is completely driven by entrapment. I learned years ago that if a police officer drives 80 miles an hour on the freeway and you're following, matching his speed, it's entrapment if he then tickets you for speeding. It's the same thing with police officers posing as hookers. The "customer" has to make the first mention of money for sex. Well, how is this any different?

The OLCC deliberately brought a minor into a room where the only thing served is alcohol. It's really classy alcohol, but alcohol nonetheless. Her role, as obviously scripted by a public enforcement and oversight agency we're supposed to trust, is to obscure her face as much as possible until the magic moment when the wine is poured. The "money shot" if you will. She NEVER speaks to the server and the only person who does is a legal drinker and SHE is the one who says they're both tasting. This is deceptive and it's underhanded. It's devious and sneaky beyond belief and it's absolutely shameful that this server was set up so blatantly.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has been entrusted to watch out for the public's welfare in matters related to alcohol, not concoct fairly elaborate schemes in which upstanding people will be tricked into technical violations of the law. Go do something important, people.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Attack Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja . . .

. . . celery.

I'll try to update you more thoroughly on my Apple training soon, but I had to share this picture I took yesterday at the Beaverton Farmers Market. There are these guys from Tillamook who sell there and their vegetables are huge. I've seen cabbages the size of soccer balls and fennel bulbs that were so big you'd think I faked the picture if I had one.

I don't know who the guy is, I just asked him to hold the celery while I took the photo.  The next pic is of Michelle Cooper of Zoe's Favorites Pickles and Preserves holding some mutant carrots. Not only is she cooperative and pretty, she's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet and her pickled beets are to die for . . . and I don't even like pickled beets normally. You should buy some. She's at the Beaverton and Portland markets on Saturday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A fast update.

I've just spent the last four days in training with another four weeks (yes, weeks) scheduled. The first three days were mostly orientation and getting housekeeping items taken care of, like email accounts and so forth, but the pace has been pretty fast. Yesterday afternoon we finally got a big dose of Apple culture and Monday we'll continue that and start hitting the product line pretty hard later in the week.

I'm exhausted. My brain has been given the full Paula Deen treatment - battered and deep-fried. Nonetheless, I'm off to the shower so I can shop at the farmer's market and drag my sorry butt out to Carton to pour wine with Byron at the ol' tasting room.

I'll check back in early next week. In the meantime, pop a cork and raise a glass with me as I honor the people who died ten years ago tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Big Doings For The Head Duck - Me

Well, I really DID intend to start posting more often but, as sometimes happens, circumstances conspired against me. In the spring rumors started to fly that the YMCA facility where I was holding down what passed as my "day job" was being sold. Naturally, this caused no end of consternation as many of us began scrambling to find new employment, mostly to no avail as you might imagine.

Then it happened. On July 15 I arrived at work to find a copy of a letter that was scheduled to get mailed to the members the following day. That letter informed them (and by extension the staff) that the facility had been sold and would close on July 29. Note that no one came to inform us personally, no one made a phone call and the letter wasn't addressed directly to the staff. Nice, huh?

I'll spare you all the gory details of the platitudes the YMCA handed out about finding spots for everyone elsewhere because it didn't happen. I was offered a tentative position for 8 hours a week beginning in September. Another guy was offered the same thing, but the bottom line is a whole lot of people lost their jobs. Crummy jobs with crummy pay and no benefits, but jobs that put food on the table.

Thanks for your indentured servitude, but don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

But, as the old saying goes, when life hands you lemons you make lemonade, right? Well . . . sometimes lemonade gets made for you too. I wasn't having much luck with the lemonade (must have not put enough sugar in it), but on July 25 I happened upon an ad on Craigslist that sounded appealing, and that's quite a feat because so much of what's on that site in the jobs section is pretty specious.

So I quickly polished up the ol' resume and fired it off in response the very next day, frankly not expecting much. I've learned over the past few years not to expect much from job hunting because I haven't seemed, for the most part, to be able to generate an interview. Tough to get hired without one.

So what happened? On July 29, only three days after submitting my resume, I awoke to an email from an in-house recruiter announcing that I'd been selected for a phone interview on Monday. That's right, six days after I sent in my resume. Yeehaw!

On Monday I had the interview with a very nice lady named Courtney. It seemed to be going well, I was pleased with myself and, at the end, she told me that I'd passed her screen and that she'd selected me for a second phone interview on Tuesday. I was thinking this was all moving REALLY fast, something I wasn't accustomed to, but wasn't about to look any gift horses in the mouth . . . if I may coin a phrase.

Tuesday, two nice folks named Tusiata (great name, huh?) and Shane tag-teamed me. I've since learned that Tusiata is a tough interview but I must have charmed her into silence because she deferred to Shane for much of the interview. At least that's how I remember it and I guarantee you I'm stickin' to that story. We shared some chuckles, had a nice conversation and once again, I thought things were going well. And they were, because they picked me for a face-to-face interview, scheduled for that Friday, August 5 in Portland.

Things are really moving now, right? Well . . . for a while.

So Friday, I presented my charming self at the Hotel Vintage Plaza for a 30-minute interview. I'm pretty sure the interviewer's name was Mike but I can't be sure so I'll apologize to him now. Once again, we had a nice conversation and the interview seemed to go well, so I left with a great sense of anticipation that maybe I'd finally managed to find a real job.

I'd been told that they would be in touch with me shortly, probably the following Tuesday. Whoa! That's exactly two weeks after I'd submitted my resume. Tuesday arrived and lo! They came through as promised - a novel concept in this day and age I assure you. I got an email asking me to fill out some forms on the employer's website and consent to a background check which was to take 48-72 hours - at least according to the background check vendor's website.

Well, that was when the process ground to a complete halt. After asking me to verify my own employment at the YMCA by sending them copies of my pay stubs and W-2 (they're supposed to be good at this, why are they asking me?) on Thursday I didn't hear a peep. Not Friday and not Monday, nor Tuesday or Wednesday. I went from thinking I was in the middle of executing a slam dunk with last-minute formalities to wondering if they'd somehow found out about the time I lifted a pencil from the corner store when I was 10 and the time I offered candy to a little girl. Suddenly I went from feeling like Philip Rivers throwing a pass to Vincent Jackson against a team of midgets to Jay Cutler looking up from his back at Ndomukong Suh.

Then, the call. I was out at Pumpkin Ridge doing my annual caddie thing in the pro-am for the Safeway Classic LPGA tournament when my cell phone rang a few minutes before my round was to start. It was the lovely and charming Courtney (who I'd also met in person on the face-to-face interview day) who sounded so cheerful and happy I just knew she couldn't possibly ruin my day. Could she? No, she couldn't because she made my day and my whole year. She offered me the job!

Now that I've made a short story long, let me make the rest of it short. As of last Friday, when I went back to the same room at the Vintage Plaza where I'd interviewed to fill out paperwork, I'm an official employee of Apple, Inc. That's right, Apple. The people who brought you the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

I'll be what they call an "In Home Mac Expert". They're shipping me an iMac today and on Tuesday, bright and early, I (along with about 50 others in three cities) begin four weeks of training before they turn us loose on an unsuspecting populace. I'll be one of the folks you talk to when you go to the Apple online store and can't quite figure out what to buy and call 1-800 MY APPLE.

So there you have it. Full time, more than twice the money plus overtime almost on demand during certain parts of the year, a bonus schedule and full, big-time company benefits. I'm ecstatic and maybe now I can get back to writing about food and wine and entertaining you with my clever wit. In fact, I have some amazing wines made from zinfandel, petite sirah and primitivo that are made by Angel Vine's Ed Fus to talk about, so I'd best get to it.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Maybe Winter Really Is Over

We're headed for 70 degrees today, a perfect day to go harass Vincent Fritzsche, Anne Hubatch and John Grochau at the Portland ghetto winery where they all make their wine. In the meantime, check out these pics from the last few days. I guess the plants don't know it's been too cold by about 10 degrees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Could It Really Be Spring . . . Finally? Or Not.

After a couple mornings of temperatures right at or slightly below freezing, we woke up today to almost balmy temps around 40 after a beautiful, sun-drenched day yesterday. Maybe Spring is finally here.

Oh, wait. The 10-day forecast calls for one day (Friday) in the sixties with the balance of the days in the fifties with showers. The vines haven't budded out, the tulips and magnolia trees are blooming in a real half-assed way and it looks like the rhododendrons won't make it for their traditional Mother's Day blooming apogee. Roses might bloom by July.

I'm hating life about now and I don't know whether to drink or go bowling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Early Look At The 2010 Willamette Valley Pinots

I've now tasted 10 barrel samples from 2010, all of them from Byron Dooley at Seven of Hearts/Luminous Hills. Previously I'd had three from Doug Ackerman's Armstrong Vineyard. Yesterday I had the privilege of tasting six new ones from various spots - though one was a syrah from the Columbia Valley.

These were all from new barrels and had been taken from the barrels the previous week, so there was a bit of extrapolating to do given the new oak (not my preference) and oxygen exposure, so you may want to take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Along with the Armstrong samples, these are about the most exciting young pinots I've ever tasted. One sample, taken from Lia's Vineyard (Pommard, Wadensvil and Mariafeld) was, to put it mildly, simply outrageously good. As I understand it, the Pommard and Wadensvil are approximately 20 years old and own-rooted, but I digress.

I gave a taste from my glass of Lia's to another customer in the tasting room. Her husband wasn't so crazy about it 'cause he's an acid freak and loves the 2007s, but I thought her eyes were going to roll back in her head and she was going to pass out on the spot. She's a pretty experienced taster with a well-developed palate from what I was able to gather during our conversation, so I guess you can use her as another source of enthusiasm for the 2010 pinots from the Willamette Valley. Too bad there isn't going to be a lot of wine because of the bird damage, but what there is will be outstanding.

Disclaimer - I like to think I can be objective, and every time I say something even remotely critical of Byron's wines he plays it back for me when I visit. The guy's got an eidetic memory, I suppose. In any event, I like to think we're pretty good friends so I might be biased. Add to it that I'm going to be working in his tasting room on special occasions like Memorial Day weekend and I feel the need for disclosure. The wines were still outstanding, though.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Day In The Willamette Valley - Part 5, Colene Clemens

It's a good thing these folks have one of those blue signs, because no one would ever drive the last 2.5 miles on a gravel road just to see what's up there unless they knew they'd find something. 

I don't know the story behind this place and their website is under construction, but I decided to stop by as I was on my way home because Doug Ackerman had said it was beautiful, and it is. It's a BIG facility, obviously designed for way more production than they're getting from the newly-planted vineyard. Outside, it's kinda rustically Northwest-ish. Inside it's a little over the top for my taste, but certainly not in the fashion of a couple other places I can think of.

They offer two wines, a regular and a reserve pinot noir. Apparently there will be more in the future as their vineyard plantings come on line. It's indeed situated in a beautiful spot above Ribbon Ridge

The wines are black-fruited, well made and use more oak than my ideal but the fruit seems to have soaked it up pretty well. Fairly large in scale, they'll appeal to folks who aren't as infatuated with finesse, elegance and acidity as I am - folks who really like Lynn Penner-Ash's wines, for example. Kinda spendy, too. Still, a nice addition to the valley.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Day In The Willamette Valley - Part 4, J. Wrigley and Noble Pig

Cathy Pollack from Noble Pig and Jody Wrigley from J. Wrigley were pouring at Republic of Jam, so I had to stop in and partake in addition to saying "hi" to Lynnette and Amy. Warning: These two are whacked; Cathy just slightly and Jody off the charts. Or maybe it's the other way around, I can't be sure. If you talk to Jody, though, be sure to ask her about her stump.

Both women have interesting stories to tell about how they got into the wine business and I won't repeat them, but Cathy's is especially interesting and poignant and can be found on the Noble Pig website. 

By now my palate was getting a little tired (this is actually part FIVE because I'd been to Scott Paul but I'm saving that one) so I only have brief descriptions of the wines. Noble Pig was pouring a 2008 pinot gris and a 2009 pinot noir. The gris may be a little more in the Italian style than I might like, but it's certainly zesty and would show well with food. The pinot noir is a nice wine showing black fruit and a round character I think of as prototypical of the McMinnville AVA, where the vineyard is located. Of course, I might have completely screwed that part up because it was made with purchased fruit! Nice wine, though, especially for a first effort. 

Jody was pouring a 2009 pinot noir, the "MAC Cuvee", also from purchased fruit. Once again showing the black fruit and round character of the McMinnville AVA. Another nice wine, though perhaps a little lower in acid than I would consider ideal. A hazard of the 2009 vintage. 

These folks are doing a nice job, with first-class presentations (though I had a little tete-a-tete with Jody about smaller, lighter bottles) and top notch point of sale materials. The wines are good wines that will only get better as Cathy (a UC Davis grad) and John Wrigley get used to working with their own fruit which will come online over the next 2-3 years. If I had to pick a nit, it would be that hitting the market right out of the chute at mid-to-high 30's price point is a tad ambitious.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Day In The Willamette Valley - Part 3, Wild Aire

By contrast with Byron's crowd, Wild Aire across the street had three occupants; Jean and Matt Driscoll and Matt's guitar. That was it and you know, it's too bad. These folks know how to make wine, but they're sure flying under the radar - at least in the "usual suspects" of Portland local retail. OTOH, they're pretty widely available in McMinnville, Eugene, Salem and at Wine Club and K&L in California along with some nice restaurants in Oregon and some PLCB stores. Go figure.

They're getting fruit from some pretty nice spots, I'll tell you. Shea, Momtazi, Clay Court, Zenith, Illahe and one I'm not familiar with in the Chehalem Mountain AVA, Lia's. The wines - at least the three pinot noirs I tasted - are right in my wheelhouse with gentle power, heady aromas, high acids and low oak levels. All were good and fairly-priced, but I was especially taken with the 2009 Clay Court, which comes from a Parrett Mountain vineyard formerly known as Eastburn and now owned by Elk Cove. The vineyard is Laurelwood over Jory, so the wine shows a lot of red fruit character and it's really pretty. Naturally it's the most expensive of the bunch at $42. The "Timothy", their basic bottling, is $20 and worth every cent. 

If they're available near you take a chance on a bottle or two - or get some shipped to you. You won't regret it.

My Day In The Willamette Valley - Part 2, Seven of Hearts (An Early Look At 2010)

I was just at Byron's last week and tasted through his lineup, so I only stopped in to drop off the bottle of Brick House chardonnay I'd bought for him and to say hi, especially since he was buried in tasters at the bar. He insisted I stick around so I lurked in the corner for a while thinking I was going to get out of his way anyway . . . until he thrust a glass at me saying, "2010 Armstrong Vineyard". How could I pass this up? Doug and Michele Ackerman, good friends, own the vineyard and Byron was one of three people who bought their first crop (third leaf) in 2010. The other two are Vincent Fritzsche of Vincent and Brad MacLeroy of Ayres.

Turns out he'd pulled some samples of the three lots he'd fermented and taken them to dinner the previous evening. The event was a gathering of the three winemakers along with Doug and Michele, presumably to taste all the product. Brad couldn't attend so his father-in-law, Don - who is actively involved in the winery and vineyard - stepped up to the plate. 

The first lot I call "Dark and Brooding". It's 100% Pommard and 30% whole cluster. It has that dark, round, almost meaty flavor profile I love from the Pommard clone. I think I'd be happy if Byron bottled this by itself tomorrow, but he's going to tinker with blends.

The second I call "High-Toned. It's 100% clone 777 and 100% whole cluster, and shows all the lifted aromatics and racy flavors you could want. It's also a bit lighter on its feet. The stems definitely show on the nose and the palate. This one will make a nice component wine but on its own the slight greenies from the stems would bother me. 

The third I call "Spicy and Full-Bodied". This one's all clone 115 with no whole cluster. It's a brute and pretty tannic at this point, showing the typical 115 spiciness. Very dark, too. 

If these are representative of the 2010 vintage we're looking at something quite good. Fortunately, the youth of the vineyard allowed an early pick before the birds got to the fruit, so that disaster was avoided. 

Byron was able to tell me, between dashes to serve real customers (disclosure - I'm pouring with him Memorial Day weekend) that he's planning on some of the wine from Armstrong to go into his Willamette Valley and Reserve blends, some of it to maybe be bottled as a Chehalem Mountain designate and some to be bottled under the Armstrong Vineyard label. I'm so happy that Doug and Michele are getting good quality fruit from their vineyard and that three of my favorite people are getting to work with it. 

Well done, everyone!

My Day In The Willamette Valley - Part 1, Brick House

This and the next few posts will be some quick and dirty summaries of what I tasted yesterday as I ventured forth into the wilds of Yamhill County.

Brick House was having an Equinox event to celebrate the release of the 2009 Boulder Block pinot noir, so what the hell. Out I went with no plans beyond that. The day got very, very long so I'll report in stages.

When I pulled up to BH I thought I had the wrong day. A couple of cars and that was it, and it was already 12:30. Hmmm.

Right day. First pour out of the gate was the 2009 chardonnay. As Rich Trimpi says, if you don't like white Burgundy, you won't like this. Just wonderful, full of white peach, Granny Smith apple and minerals, and a steal at $25. 

Next up, the Boulder Block pinot. This is from a part of the vineyard that is a vein of volcanic, as opposed to sedimentary soil. Whereas Ribbon Ridge usually shows black fruits, this wine shows red fruits like the Dundee Hills, which are also volcanic soil. This is a real beauty and doesn't show any of the heat of the vintage. I don't think it will make the long term, but over the next five or six years you couldn't do better.

Alan also poured two not-yet-released wines, the '09 Cascadia chardonnay and the '09 Evelyn's pinot. They were both so tightly wound any attempt to review them would be futile. 

For those of you who are worried about Doug's business because of my reported lack of people . . . well, don't be concerned. By the time I left about 20 people had shown up including a first for me - a couple being driven in a Lincoln Town Car by a liveried driver. Had I seen these in Napa? Hell yeah . . . all the time, but here? At Brick House or any of the other low-key places I frequent? Not until now. We're headed down a bad, bad path that's probably unavoidable.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wild and Wacky Weather

Oops. It's now Thursday and this was written yesterday. Just roll your clocks back 24 hours.

It's still with us. Last night there was a severe thunderstorm warning for most of the city and the suburbs east of the Willamette, and on my way home around 9:00 there was one, solitary lighting flash near Beaverton. It was so bright I thought that a thousand traffic enforcemet cameras had flashed at once, and it was followed by probably the loudest peal of thunder I've ever heard. And that was it. No more lightning and no more thunder, though we did get a little shower of pea-sized hail around 9:30 along with some nice gusts.

Today is a rinse and repeat with mostly steady rain. Possible thundershowers this afternoon and evening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We're Jammin', Jammin' Jammin'; I Want To Jam It Wid You

It's probably way too early in your day to put up with my bad jokes but this one, lame as it is, was just too good to pass up. Sorry.

Sunday I decided to venture out in the midst of an interesting weather day. It began with an appetizer of rain showers and wind gusts, followed by an amuse bouche of sun breaks and a main course of heavy squalls with small craft warnings. Holy Weather Channel, Batman!

As I made my way down Highway 47 from Forest Grove toward Carlton I discovered that Mother Nature had given us a new water feature; the upper Tualatin River had become Lake Gaston. The entire valley was flooded and the only thing missing was a waterskier or two. Perhaps some fishermen.

After a quick stop at Patton Valley Vineyards to check on their lineup (more on this later) I made it the rest of the way to Carlton to see how my good friend Byron Dooley's latest wines were doing. Byron, as you've read here before, has been doing great things with his Seven of Hearts and Luminous Hills labels. Other than to say that he's still chugging along I'll pass on a further review or he'll have to put me on the payroll.

So now we come to the subject of today's post - The Republic of Jam. This little venture was started by Lynnette Shaw, who has created some really interesting stuff. Using all local fruit where possible, she concocts some of the wildest and most delicious combinations of flavors I've ever run across. Strawberry and basil anyone? Spiced cherry conserve with cinnamon, clove and cardamom? Mostarda di Carlton with apples, shallots, serrano chiles and various dried fruits? Simply delicious.

What Sue at Rose City Pepperheads has done with simple combinations of chiles and fruit, good as her products are, has been made pedestrian by what Lynnette is doing. I wish I could remember the manner in which she served her things, but I think I remember the strawberry/basil being served on blue cheese and a cracker of some sort. It was delicious and would have been wonderful with one of Byron's pinot noirs - of which I'd consumed enough to explain my memory lapses.

Give Lynnette a visit, preferably in person at her world headquarters on Main Street in Carlton, but definitely on her Facebook page or her website:

I'm Back

After a year that can only be described as "interesting" in the interest of not boring you with my troubles, I'm back and blogging. I'll try to be much more regular with my posting, which you can consider either a blessing or punishment.

Thanks to all of you who have stood by me and who continue to read me despite the giant gap in communication.