Is there a better treat than a platter of just-shucked oysters with a glass or two of fine wine? Crisp, clean whites complement fresh oysters best, but if you prefer red wine, some of the lighter varieties work well. When it comes to selecting your wine, you’ve got to be careful not to choose a variety that overshadows the oysters. The following wines are a safe bet:
Muscadet is lean with delicate citrusy notes. Grown in the Loire valley, France, this wine is made from the melon de Bourgogne grape. Recent vintages have a mineral-rich aftertaste that complements the light saline notes present when oysters are freshly shucked. This variety of wine is known for its comparatively moderate alcohol level, which is a plus when enjoying fresh oysters, as a high alcohol content can overwhelm the palate.
With classic notes of elderflowers and crisp green apples, this wine goes down easily and allows the flavour of the oysters to shine through. French varieties are perfectly suitable, but Chilean sauvignon blancs have a slightly creamy finish that’s simply delectable with oysters.
This French wine hails from the Burgundy region. It’s produced with chardonnay grapes, which are grown in soil that’s rich in minerals. Young chablis have notes of limestone and flint, and the growing conditions produce a dry wine that accentuates the minor mineral taste notes of oysters.
This is a light red wine that’s low in tannins and a good choice for those who aren’t keen on white wines. It’s produced using the gamay grape and has notes of red berries. It’s served slightly chilled, and the comparatively high level of acidity makes it a suitable pairing with oysters, as this balances the saline juice in the shell.
These are just a few examples of suitable wines. When selecting a wine to complement your oysters in the half shell, ensure the palate of the wine is delicate. Bold, full-bodied wines overshadow oysters. Also, try to ensure the dominant taste notes of the wine matches that of the oysters, such as the mineral-rich notes found in recent vintages of muscadet.
If you’re not sure about your choice, your server will be happy to confirm if it’s a suitable pairing. Alternatively, you can ask them to recommend a wine from their list. A good seafood restaurant will have an extensive wine menu, so put their experience to the test.