A few weeks ago I was a judge at the Grand Central Oyster Bar’s wine/oyster pairing competition. We tasted 26 wines against both East-Coast and West-Coast oysters. After the judging we were given a list of the wines in order, and a few days later we got the list of competition winners.
There was a Muscadet in the competition as well as other obvious pairing wines, but they did not place on my list nor on the list of winners. That doesn't mean Muscadet shouldn't be a go-to pairing with oysters. So what does it mean?
Basically, oysters like any other protein are paired according to how you prepare them. What matters is what you put on them. Assuming we’re discussing raw oysters, I prefer just a bit of lemon or a good citrus granitas. You may prefer cocktail sauce, but then we’d have a harder time choosing a wine.
The 2011 Weingut Spaetrot-Gebeshuber Klassik was the overall winner. This is a blend of Zierfandler and Rotgipfler from Thermenregion, Austria. My other favorite wines with oysters were as follows:
· Domaine Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Grüner 2012 (Grüner Veltliner from Wachau in Germany)
· Furmint Royal Tokaji 2011 (Tokaji from Mád and Tarcal in Hungary) – Tokaji is the grape used to make the wonderful sweet wines of Hungary, but this one is fermented dry.
· Baden Spatburgunder 2010 (Pinot Noir from Baden in Germany) – This is a very light red wine – definitely not what most people would expect.*
It’s interesting that all of these wines are a bit exotic and come from Germany, Austria or Hungary. My take-away here is that while Muscadet, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, etc., may pair well with your oysters, don’t be shy about trying different, exotic or even weird wines as well.
* Don’t try this at home with a New World Pinot Noir.