Seven Wines that Taste Like the Sea

Posted January 12, 2015

Jon Troutman


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"Pain Grille. Sous Bois. Stewed Yuzu."

The above are all actual wine tasting descriptors, used by highly-respected and followed wine critics.

I don’t doubt that, when providing critical assessment of the wines they were tasting, these writers picked up the above fruits, veggies, and essences in their glass. However, I do question how much of their audience actually has Sous Bois in their vocabulary. I’d venture to guess a very, very small fraction, meaning they might be failing at their ultimate mission -- to help the consumer navigate and identify wines they’ll enjoy.

That said, one seemingly esoteric descriptor that I’ve become a big fan of, and use quite a bit when describing a wine, is “the sea”.

I think we’ve all had the experience of taking a dip in the ocean, diving head first into a wave, and coming up (accidentally) with a big mouthful of water. Hopefully everyone has been on vacation, walked along the shore, and taken in the smell of a salt-tinged, ocean breeze.  At the very least, we’ve gargled a mouthful of salt-infused water to quell a sore throat.

Salinity and Sea-like qualities are staples of so many of the complex white wines of the world. Stick your nose in a classic and complex young Chablis, and you’re bound to be brought back to your weeklong summer getaway on The Shore. Or pop the cork on a great Blanc de Blancs Champagne, and instantaneously pick up aromas of a breezy, Cape Cod evening along the water.

Without further adieu, here are seven salty wines that might make you reminisce on your honeymoon in The Keys:


2013 Do Ferreiro Albariño: Rias Baixas is a region in the northwest of Spain, along the Atlantic coast line. Its proximity to the ocean, and its cool vineyard climates, provide a distinctive sea-like quality.

2014 Sigalas Santorini:  Severe wind blows sea-mist into Santorini’s vineyards, many of which are a stones-throw away from the Mediterranean waters. This comes through in so many of the island’s great (and vastly underappreciated) wines.

2013 La Reine Juliette Picpoul: Picpoul loosely translates to “lip stinger” in French, bringing to mind the American expression, “salt in the wound”. At this price, sprinkle this on your French Fries in lieu of kosher salt ;)

2012 Defaix Cote de Lechet Chablis: There’s a reason these are considered some of the very best companions to a plate of oysters on the half shell

2011 JJ Vincent Bourgogne Blanc: Impressively complex for the money, this wine has all the classic elements of cool climate chardonnay -- including a salty, seashell-type element.

Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs:  Nicknamed “baby Salon”, this is the sister brand to Champagne Salon, one of the most iconic and collectible wines of the world.

“La Bota” De Fino Que Va Para Amontillado No. 45:  If you’re a fan of super savory and salty foods -- think olives and nuts -- and want something that might take you out of your comfort zone, this is for you. It’s not cheap, but it’s a relative bargain in the world of iconic and collectible wines.


Formerly "in the biz", Jon spent years working alongside Gary V to lead digital wine ventures. Today, he pens social media strategies for Fortune 500 brands that help them sell shit, over at VaynerMedia. He's most often seen with Champagne or single origin coffee in hand, depending on the time of day. 

Product Label.

Jose Dhondt Blanc De Blancs...

91 Antonio Galloni - Vinous

Item: 52977

750 mL

Retail: $62.99

$46.97 per btl

Product Label.

Delamotte Brut Blanc De Blancs

93 Wine & Spirits

Item: 63924

750 mL

Retail: $62.99

$44.89 per btl

Product Label.

Jj Vincent Bourgogne Blanc

85-87 Allen Meadows - Burghound

Item: 79035

750 mL

Retail: $18.99

$14.98 per btl

Product Label.

Equipo Navazos La Bota De...

96 Luis Gutierrez - Robert Pa...

Item: 79791

750 mL

Retail: $69.99

$65.98 per btl

Item: 81210

750 mL

Retail: $14.99

$9.99 per btl

Product Label.

Defaix Chablis Cote De Lechet

89-91 Allen Meadows - Burghound

Item: 82502

750 mL

Retail: $28.99

$22.98 per btl

Item: 83083

750 mL

Retail: $25.99

$17.60 per btl

Item: 85378

750 mL

Retail: $24.99

$19.98 per btl