One of the greatest gifts from the sea, the oyster is welcomed at almost any table. These briny little treasures can transform an ordinary meal into a life-changing experience. A general rule of thumb when pairing oysters is to stick with a white wine, preferably something with a good kick of acid. Choose one that has been aged in either a neutral barrel or a stainless steel vessel. I prefer wines that are youthful—they tend to be more refreshing with sharp flavors that cleanse the palate rather then coat it. Below are a few of my favorite wines that pair perfectly with oysters.
Champagne: A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. Grapes grown in Champagne attribute their undeniable mouth-watering acidity to the chalk-rich soil that lies just below the surface. When choosing Champagne, keep an eye out for the blanc de blancs style. These examples are only made with chardonnay and are a perfect with oysters.
Oregon Pinot Gris: Oregon’s great Willamette Valley produces incredibly clean and refreshing pinot gris. It’s subtle, with flavors of tart Granny Smith apple and lemon blossom. The mild character of these wines effortlessly complement a fresh Kumamoto plucked from Puget Sound.
German Riesling, Trocken: Rieslings come in many forms, from bone-dry to lusciously sweet. My advice, choose one that is bone-dry, either from Germany or Austria. Look for the word Trocken, on your next bottle, to guarantee you’re not getting a mouthful of sweetness as a surprise.
Looking for oysters tonight? Try these local restaurants:
Shuck Oyster Bar: This gem is located in Costa Mesa; numerous oysters are offered at $3 each, and there is no corkage fee.
The St. Regis, Stonehill Tavern: Offering a daily rotation of multiple oysters, and an award-winning wine list.
Mastro’s Ocean Club: Located right off the 101 in Newport Beach. Mastro’s Ocean Club brings seafood to a whole new level with its “seafood tower.” It also doesn’t hurt that it has many hard-to-find white wines sleeping in its cellar.