I’M NOT MUCH of a rum guy, so if I end up stranded on a tropical island, my choice of what to sip while awaiting rescue will be wine. Lots of wine — a pallet of it — because I don’t want to worry about running out.
Since this is my fantasy, I’ll choose an island in the South Pacific, and I will be stranded with a corkscrew, a chef, unlimited stemware and a whole lot of books. Oh, and the Professor from “Gilligan’s Island.”
But I digress. This is about the wine I’d most enjoy if I didn’t have access to everything my local wine merchant could offer. I’ll break this down by varieties and styles, then get into specific producers. I won’t bother with vintages because they don’t matter on a deserted island, and my favorites rise above Mother Nature’s eccentricities.
Riesling: This is the perfect island wine, and it will pair beautifully with just about everything I would expect when surrounded by water. Wild Goose and Gehringer Brothers, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, make some of the best anywhere in the New World. Chehalem and Trisaetum in Oregon are stunning, and Jones of Washington and Naches Heights in Washington never miss.
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Rosé: Another perfect beach wine is rosé, particularly when it’s chilled. (Did I mention I’ll have a wine fridge and electricity, thanks to the Professor?). Barnard Griffin’s rosé of sangiovese from Washington, Lumos Wine Co.’s Chiquita pinot noir rosé from Oregon and JoieFarm’s Re-Think Pink from British Columbia will fill my needs.
Pinot gris: Surrounded by water? Then it’s pinot gris and food from the sea for me. None is better than Elk Cove’s in Oregon.
Syrah: When the sun goes down and the grill heats up, it’s better red than dead. My choices for Washington syrah are Betz Family Winery’s La Serenne and anything from Bunnell Family Cellar.
Pinot noir: Perhaps the most cerebral red requires quiet concentration to appreciate, and I’ll have plenty of time for that. Bring me Stoller’s reserve pinot noir from Oregon’s Dundee Hills.
Petite sirah: Have I mentioned how much I love this grape? Thurston Wolfe and Dusted Valley Vintners in Washington and Lava Cap in California would deliver eternal bliss.
Merlot: Whether I’m standing straight up or sitting sideways on a beach, I love merlot. Northstar in Walla Walla has reached merlot nirvana with its “Premier” bottling.
Cabernet sauvignon: I’m king of this island, so I will drink king cab regularly. From Washington, Woodward Canyon Dedication Series, Maryhill’s Proprietor’s Reserve, DeLille’s Four Flags, Upchurch and Seven Falls hit the sweet spot for me. What I will most relish is bottle upon bottle of Kettle Valley Winery’s Crest Vineyard cab from British Columbia, the most fascinating wine to ever cross my lips.
If I actually had all of these to myself, you could take your time looking for me.
Andy Perdue is a wine author, journalist and international judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.