As Portugal’s white wines have risen to prominence, so have her Atlantic-facing regions. The best wines deliver remarkable intensity and character, with the (acid) backbone for ageing; sometimes a salty sea tang. Unobtrusive oak use – if any – with lees ageing for mouthfeel, lets the ocean hold sway.

Atlantic exposure was key to my selection, in locations not more than 20km from the ocean, making the wind and wave-whipped Azores and Madeira islands an obvious starting point. A flurry of activity in the last decade has produced salty, piquant, mineral wines from volcanic soils, whose influence John Szabo MS, author of Volcanic Wines, evocatively describes as imparting ‘a weightless gravity’. Verdelho, with its tropical citrus and succulent nuances, is king in Madeira and, in the Azores, in Biscoitos and Graciosa but not in Pico, where it shares the turf with Arinto dos Açores (citric/stone-fruited) and Terrantez do Pico (savoury).

On the continent, Portugal’s west coast takes the brunt of the Atlantic ocean’s swells and storms (unlike the Algarve’s sheltered, Mediterranean-influenced

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