Victor Protasio

Tuscany or Chile, Portugal or Provence—take your pick.

Ray Isle
Updated April 15, 2019

A lot of people feel there’s nothing more crisp and enlivening than a cool ocean breeze; as it happens, grapes feel exactly the same way. White wines from vineyards close to the ocean seem to have a hint of seaside freshness: bright acidity, an oyster shell–like minerality, the saline hint of sea spray. 


How to find them? Just head to the coast. Tuscany or Chile, Portugal or Provence—take your pick. And these bottles are also perfect with the vibrant green vegetables of spring, from fresh lettuces to sautéed sugar snaps to, well, you name it.

2017 La Valentina Pecorino ($16)


From their winery in Abruzzo on Italy’s Adriatic coast, La Valentina’s Di Properzio brothers produce some of the country’s best values, among them this green apple–scented white from local Pecorino grapes (nothing to do with the cheese of the same name).


2017 Forjas Del Salnés Leirana Albariño ($33)


Vines between 30 and 90 years 
old produce this complex Albariño, whose grapefruit flavors end on chalky, oyster shell minerality. Founded in the mid-2000s, 
Forjas del Salnés has quickly become a superstar in Galician winemaking.


2017 Viña Leyda Sauvignon Blanc ($15)


The Pacific Ocean lies only eight miles away from Chile’s Leyda Valley, and the breeze off the 
water keeps temperatures cool. Sauvignon Blanc grown here 
tends to produce crisp wines 
with flavors reminiscent of fresh passion fruit, like this one.

2018 Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko ($38)


On the island of Santorini, native Greek Assyrtiko vines are trained into knee-high basket shapes to resist the constant wind off the Aegean. The lemony, stony 2018 vintage from Sigalas is a clear example of why that effort is worthwhile.


2017 Compañía De Vinos Del Atlántico Nortico Alvarinho ($16)


Alvarinho is the Portuguese name for the zesty grape known in Spain as Albariño. This 
excellent value comes from vineyards along the south side of the Minho river, which runs along the northern border between Portugal and Spain.

2017 Poggio Al Tesoro Solosole ($25)


Vermentino’s fresh flavors and almondy finish make it a perfect wine for linguine with clams or any other shellfish pasta. Poggio al Tesoro’s flinty bottling, with its apricot-and-white-flowers character, hails from the Tuscan coast.


2017 Granbazán Etiqueta Verde ($19)


Granbazán, located a little less than two miles from the Atlantic 
in Spain’s Rías Baixas region, produces some of the region’s 
best Albariños. This entry-level bottling fully captures the lightly herbal, grapefruit character 
of the grape.

2017 Clos Ste Magdeleine Cassis ($35)


Forget the liqueur made from black currant of the same name. Cassis in this case is a tiny, gorgeous wine region perched above the Provençal coast. This bottling is a bench-
mark: Honeysuckle and lemon notes ride on fine acidity, ending saline and crisp.

2016 Antoine-Marie Arena Hauts De Carco Patrimonio ($45)

The tiny, mountainous island of Corsica makes some of the world’s most striking white wines. Antoine-Marie Arena, a top name here, makes his Vermentino savory and full-bodied, with aromas of vanilla, oranges, and earth.


2018 Masciarelli Villa Gemma Colline Teatine Bianco ($20)


Pecorino and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grapes form the backbone of this floral, melon-y white, plus a small amount of the obscure local Cococciola (and a touch of not-obscure-at-all Chardonnay).


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