North Shore week

Duluth to Grand Marais
April 9 - 13
What a nice way to unwind after our Gulf visit - a stay at a friend's home near Lutsen village.  (by the way - Kate has been writing all the Gulf blogs so don't expect the same exquisite detail in my notes - Mike).  However, there is nothing better than sitting in the coolness of the sunrise and each morning seeing a different group of waterfowl - common and red mergansers, canvasback, red-necked grebe, bufflehead, and mallard; plus cormorant,  herring gull, a Merlin, crows, raven, chickadees, red breasted nuthatch, and pine siskin.

Put that movement and sound with the sun rays, the tinted clouds, and the water movement and you have my paradise.  We read, observed - Kate worked on her scrapbooking projects, and we walked.  Unfortunately my sciatica will only allow me to walk a couple miles max now, but it was still good to be out.

We walked to the Lockport Inn - a gas station, grocery store and the best breakfasts on the shore one morning.  Grand Marais is always a good visit with time spent with my good friend from high school in Minneapolis - Mark Sandbo and his wife Jeanne over pizza from Sven and Ole's.  Kate's traditional visit to the classic little department store - dime store - Joynes.  Time for me to take photographs and finally a light dinner at the Gunflint Tavern so that Kate could justify getting her favorite creme-brule'.

The week ended for us on Friday so that we could come back home and have our grandchildren visit over the weekend, but it did not end before we could have an excellent lunch at Nokomis - a restaurant just north of Duluth that we really love.  The food was delicious and presented well - as we expect and the wine was great.

They have a fun little liquor store - close to the bar - and they really work to stock it with great selections that are hard to find in our area.  In fact, I enjoy it so much that the following Friday I returned for their wine tasting class with my son-in-law Troy.  I have led tastings so I wanted to see what they did and I was not disappointed.  Rondi (teacher and owner) had prepared excellent notes for everyone and selected a six bottles of pinot grape based wines from white to red that explored the variations and potential of this varietel.

Some wines were served alone so we could go deeply in to them and others were served as pairs to allow us to make contrasts and in between the great wines was gourmet food - appetizers filled with flavor - seafood sausage with Parmesan cheese and alba mushrooms; duck with blood orange gastric, and tuna with squash sauce and micro greens with beets.

I took home a bottle of Pinot Meunier and my table note read like this:
Initial nose is very tight, swirling the wine releases a plum flower and early white flowered shrub scent. The nose continued to develop a tart cherry and vanilla.  The alum like sensation  draws the sweet taste buds to a halt and the sweetness rolls in to a tanin that suggests that this can be aged 5 years to really release its potential.  As it was allowed to breathe there was a blend of red berries - cassis and ligonberry mellowed with raspberry.  Nice dry finish with a nice cranberry retroscent (the scent that comes from the throat cavity).  It had the sensation of a thicker liquid.


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