Aw, Shucks! The Best Wines to Drink With Oysters

Oysters served on stone plate with ice driftThe Wellfleet Oysterfest will be held in Cape Cod, Mass., Oct. 15-16. Activities include an elegant evening of art and design with sumptuous food and wine, as well as a display of hand-painted oyster plates and platters that will be available for purchase.

The weekend also will include film screenings, an array of presentations, cooking demonstrations, live music and an oyster shuck-off.

One presentation will enable up to 50 attendees to learn more about oysters, terroir and merroir (the French word for “taste of place”). Oysters from various areas of Wellfleet will be paired with wines produced in Truro, part of the Outer Cape area.

Yes, oysters CAN be paired with wine.

The classic pairing is Muscadet because of the wine’s briny minerality, which almost seems to dance with the salinity of an oyster on the half shell. Muscadet is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, grown primarily in the western end of France’s Loire Valley. It’s an area that gets more rain and is cooler than the rest of the Loire because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

Another cool-climate wine, Chardonnay from the Chablis appellation of France, also is a classic pairing partner for oysters. The flinty aspect of the wine — typically not aged in oak barrels, but rather in neutral stainless steel tanks — underscores the minerality of the oysters.

Another pairing option from France is Champagne, specifically the region’s fully dry blanc de blanc bottlings.

Chablis and Champagne can be expensive, though, so if you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider Sauvignon Blanc. The racy renditions from New Zealand are wonderful with oysters, as are bottlings from the cooler growing areas of California.

And let’s not forget the Sauvignon Blanc from Cape Cod’s own Truro Vineyards that’s likely to be served at the Wellfleet Oysterfest. It’s described like this: “Aromas of white flowers, pear, peach and honeydew melon. Nice citrusy zip and zing typical of Sauvignon Blanc. Perfect served well chilled with oysters, clams, mussels and grilled fish.”

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