Monday, August 11, 2014

Wine Tip of the Week: Eat This Drink That Series - Raw Oysters

Raw oysters are not for everyone. To serve at home they take some skills and special tools. They look a little bizarre. You need to buy them alive and very fresh in order to enjoy raw. But if you buy a shucking knife and a protective glove, forget the looks, find a good fresh source to buy from... and WOW! Pure, fresh, wonderful flavors of the ocean.  For a wine pairing, think of the delicate flavor of a raw oyster  how a squeeze of lemon juice elevates the flavor of seafood, especially oysters. The right wine with the right level of acidity and a delicate enough flavor profile will provide you with one of the most epic wine pairings you will ever experience!

Eating this?:
  • Raw oysters - shuck em, being careful not to lose the liquid (liqueur) inside.
Drink this:
  • Chablis. This Chardonnay based French wine is grown in soil that contains fossilized oyster shells. It was literally grown to pair with oysters! Chablis typically sees only a little time in oak, so the wines will be nice and crisp and excellent for this pairing. Cheaper Chablis can be disappointing, so you may want to splurge for a Grand Cru to get the best result.
  • Sauvignon Blanc.  When you are looking for an acidic white wine, Sauvignon Blanc is a great option. California, French or New Zealand versions will go nicely with oysters.  Be careful to not to get a version that is oaked (sometimes bottles as Fume Blanc).
  • Sparkling Wine - but be careful! Champagne or other sparkling wine is often paired with oysters, but you want to be careful to get a crisp fruity version so the taste does not overpower your oysters. A Blanc de Blanc Champagne which is made from all (or almost all) Chardonnay grapes is a good bet.
Avoid this:
  • Avoid Red Wine. You will almost never hear such a generalization in food and wine pairing.  The truth is you could look to a super light red like a Beaujolais made from the Gamay grape for a possible pairing, but there are too many spot on options to mess around with anything in the red world.
  • Avoid Fuller Bodied Whites. Especially avoid big buttery, oaky Chardonnay wines. As fantastic as a Chablis will pair with oysters, the same grape made in a fuller bodied style will destroy the delicate taste of the oyster and will likely end up making the wine taste unbalanced.

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