Beach. A word that frees the mind and relaxes the soul, instantly conjuring up thoughts of surf, sand, salt air, summer. And, if you're like me, bottles of wine.
Grapes and people have two things in common: They both worship the sun. In fact, much of the finest beachfront property on the planet is within striking distance of the most celebrated viticultural regions. The following places have not only some of the best beaches in the world but also some its most "beachworthy" wines.
Some winemaking regions, like California's Central Coast, may supply sun, fun and Chardonnay, but Galicia, in Spain's dour (though verdant) northwestern corner, can claim that Franco was born there. Beaches range from those on the bleak Costa de la Muerte to sunny La Lanzada and Playa América. Galicia is also home to the third-holiest site in Christendom--Santiago de Compostela--and exciting white wines made from the Albariño grape. The main viticultural region is Rías Baixas, which is spared much of the rain that plagues the north.