Category: Boats

Thunder Shows, or When You are Lost at Sea, Wine is Where You Find it

stuck in the ballard locks with a bunch of stinkpots
Stuck in the Ballard locks with a bunch of stinkpots

Vaynerchuk may have left the building, but in his wake were two days of the most intense thunder storms we’ve seen (or heard) in years. My ex (now friend) was going to sail down to Hood Canal for the 4th and had a window of opportunity to leave at about 5 or 6 a.m. on the 3rd because of the tides, but that ended up being the craziest hour of lightening, buckets of rain and ear-splitting thunder.

So he couldn’t make the trip, and later that day, when the storm had left billowing clouds and still water behind, I was roped into–I mean graciously volunteered–to help him bring the boat BACK through the Hiram H. Chittendon locks, where the water level is raised and lowered between the salt water of the Puget Sound and the fresh water of Lake Union. We got stuck waiting for a gravel barge and ended up stuck outside the locks for THREE HOURS, getting to know the mussel-covered pylons, the kingfishers, and a few purple seastars very well. So of course, after a while, I started rummaging below decks and came up with a bottle of white wine that was fairly cool from being stored below the waterline. In desperate times, wine is where you find it, and I thought this was the perfect occasion for my first wine post – the essential Seattle moment. Stuck on a boat with the cityscape and the water all around, searching for refreshment.

What is your favorite boat wine? I have to say, I usually like dry rosé, but that is a fall back all summer, whether i’m on a patio, a boat or whatever. This 2006 Casalone dry Italian white from the Piemonte region made from the Cortese grape, definitely hit the spot, and was eye opening in terms of what we usually think of as dry crisp, refreshing summer wines. This one smelled of lemon gumdrops to me! Not a lot of fruit, just white flowers for sure, and a funkiness like light mushrooms. Interesting! There’s SO much to learn about Italian wines, but the main thing is to stay open to their classic combination of fruit and funkiness. This Cortese was a great example. Fresh, and light, it still was full of minerality, acidity, yes, but also mushroom and dried leaves. Not what I would usually choose for a boat sipper, but it was actually great with the salty chips that were the only food on board.

Come to find out, this wine WAS the perfect thing to drink with the scent of boat exhaust, salt air and fish in our nostrils, as it is produced all along the Ligurian Coast and served in the fish restaurants of Genoa—an area that probably looks very similar to the salty, mast-packed shores of Lake Union. Citrus complements salt – that lesson was learned here, with a little exotic mushroomy funk thrown in that I will remember for my next fish fry.