Top 5-10 coastal wines

I'm buying wine for a new shop called Rosewater Wines & Spirits on Martha's Vineyard focused on "Coastal Wine." My premise is that every great wine is a 100-point wine if enjoyed in the right environment. I'm trying to increase the incidence of memorable drinking experiences by creating resonance between where the wine is made and where it is consumed. My other motivation is that I want the shop to have an identity distinct from the unaffiliated restaurant, Atria, I buy wines for just down the street.

The main parameter I've set for myself is that the majority of the fruit must be grown within 100 km of the ocean. Any further than this and it gets tough to justify a marine influence. Of course, each region must be taken individually. Take Italy: 100 km excludes very few regions with the painful exception of Piedmont. Even western parts of Montalcino experience cooling maritime winds. In France, the obvious loses are Burgundy and much of the Loire Valley (I’m going to carry Champagne as my one exception to the rule). In the US, the Willamette Valley is in, particularly AVAs like McMinnville and Eola-Amity Hills affected by the Van Duzier Corridor. One could argue that nearly all of Napa Valley fruit is affected by its vicinity to the bay, but I’m going to highlight AVAs in southern Napa that see more of that cooling effect. Sadly none of those great mountain wines will make the cut.

So I am seeking your top 5-10 coastal wines. General ideas and suggestions are also welcome.

Ultimately the 100 km parameter is a lose marker. The goal isn’t to split hairs, but rather to celebrate wines that express a coastal character, however that may be defined. So bring on Sicily, Corsica, Santorini, the Sonoma Coast and any other region that produces wines that suggest sea spray and fresh ocean air. And don't forget about reds!

Thank you all,


  • Failla, Hirsch, and Peay all make terrific pinot noir and chardonnay from Sonoma Coast. Also, Piedrasassi and Holus Bolus kill it with Syrah in Sta. Rita Hills.
  • Nothing specific b/c I don't know what's available there, but consider Chile - PN and SB. Some great value wines there.
  • Chile does have some of the best "Extreme Maritime" influenced wines for the $, Casa Marin represents coastal influence as well as any wine that I've ever tasted from a new world region.

    They have vineyards that are as close as 4 km from the ocean in Lo Abarca (San Antonio Valley, just SW of Casablanca Valley). Pretty challenging environment to grow vines, this is coming from someone who works in the Willamette and Uco Valleys. One of my favorite winery visits in South America.

    - 'Cipreses Vineyard' Sauvignon Blanc - One of the best Sauvignon Blanc for the price 
    - 'Lo Abarca Hills Vineyard' Pinot Noir *comes from Limestone soils just off the coast
    - 'Miramar Vineyard' (Syrah and Riesling) Both are exceptional examples of coastal influence and world class Riesling and Syrah.

    Plus a few other examples like their 'Literol Vineyard' Pinot Noir and 'Casona Vineyard' Gewürztraminer.

    In the Maldonado region of Uruguay, Bodega Garzon has started to refine their production towards quality with some interesting 'Single Vineyard' wines, they have a nice 'Single Vineyard' Albariño that comes from less than 20 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean. It's a very young project, but their wines are 100x better now than their first few vintages and wholesale pricing is typically less than $13/bottle.

    If 100km is your inclusion variable, then the majority of the Willamette Valley falls into that category as well, I can think of about 5 wines just from here the in Dundee Hills that could be in that top 10. 

    Have fun with this project!



  • Sta. Rita Hills qualifies.

    Santa Maria too, Dierberg Vineyardis one of
    The closer ones to the Ocean.

    I am a big fan of Flying Goat's bottling from that vineyard, has a very distinctive iron/copper/"blood" note that is delicious.
  • Since no one has mentioned the Aussie/NZ region, how about Man o' War Vineyards from Waiheke Island, the Red Rhone Varietal offerings are pretty special. Dalrymple Chard and Pinot from Tasmania. Dandelion Vineyards Cabernet from the Fleurieu Peninsula. Just the oddball stuff that came in to my awareness.
  • Clos Sainte Magdeleine in Cassis is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The vineyard is right on the Mediterranean. The rose is the cult wine from them and to get it you usually need to buy at the least the same amount of blanc. Those are the parameters that Kermit Lynch has to buy the wine and they pass it along to the customer. The blanc is killer too! And actually more significant historically. Check it out.
  • You guys rock! Thanks so much. Lots of great ideas here. Keep it coming.
  • In reply to Anthony Minne:

    Anthony, Cassis is a fantastic thought. Clos Sainte Magdeleine is available in my market and I've put in a sample request.
  • This is what you want. The white is outstanding
  • Littoral! Ceritas! Peay! Small VINES!!! Soliste!
  • In reply to Anthony Minne:

    Took the suggestion right out of my mouth with CSM. One of the most beautiful places I've been and you don't get much more coastal than vineyards on a cliff looking right over the ocean. Plus, the wine rocks.

    If you're looking for a red, Perelada Finca Garbet is also, right on the water north of Barcelona and is a delicious blend of Syrah and Cab Sauv
  • In reply to Jeff Lewis:

    Yes agreed on man o war reds, big Bordeaux blends, obviously great Pinot and sb, I don't think anyone has mentioned Australia yet. Plenty of great options there, with a widespread base of varietals. One could argue that Ontario would have some of the wines your looking for, as they are influenced by water maybe just not the salt variety...also being so close to where your shop is, might be pretty cool regional influences, also ny state rieslings and sparkling if you put a regional section into play. Not sure on actual distance but might come into play is Columbia gorge and maybe lake chelan in Washington state, again actual mileage?? But cool influences to note.

    Also no one as mentioned Mexico, northern Baja, the wines are grown on basically seafloor, and have a unique distinct salinity not found anywhere else, look at Guadalupe valley, la cetto winery, they have base level white and reds and up to high end reserve bottlings. Might be cool!