As someone who doesn't often travel to islands, I'm always amazed at the envy and longing that such trips can engender in others (with the possible exception of trips to certain parts of Long Island). Islands have always been synonymous with pleasure and escape. Yet I've wondered (as it is my job to do) what sort of wine should be served in so idyllic a setting? What label could possibly live up to such a promise of perfection and contentment? For some answers, I decided to call a few experts, namely the wine professionals at 12 of America's most celebrated island resorts, asking them to describe their ideal bottle. The favorite? White wine from all kinds of grapes-- though, it's worth noting, not Chardonnay.
Amelia Island, Florida
1997 Fess Parker Viognier ($15). I think that most French wines are too sturdy for island drinking; instead, I tend toward young, fruity California wines that can fend off the humidity of a tropical day. I recommend the Fess Parker Viognier, an often overlooked varietal, to a lot of people. Once they've tasted its light, dry, fruity-spicy flavors, they're hooked. And it's a great buy too.