Like many foodies, I adore oysters on the half shell.
One of my first jobs working in a professional kitchen as a kid, after I was promoted from the pot sink, was shucking oysters and serving them iced on the half shell. I got very adept at opening them very quickly – but of course, who doesn’t prefer to have someone open their oysters for them? Flash forward to a few years ago, on a beautiful late summer day filming a segment for my PBS series in Bouzigues, France: We hauled up what must have been a few hundred oysters straight out of the bay and headed back to the docks where we washed a good number of them down with ice-cold bottles of good local Picpuol, a white varietal known as “lip stinger” due to its high acidity. I lost count of how many oysters I’d eaten that afternoon, but it was my personal record for sure. Moments like these are a solid reminder of how important it is to pair your raw oysters with the right wine – and not necessarily Muscadet.
When it comes to what to drink with raw oysters, ‘unsauced’, on the half shell, sometimes with a splash of lemon juice (the way I eat them), there are loads of options out there. The first thing to remember: Your East Coast varieties tend to be salty and lean with lots of mineral flavors, while West Coast styles are fat, milky with traces of melon.
- White Bordeaux (Try Chateau Capelle 2011.)
- Chablis (Try Chablis Premier Cru Vaillon Simonnet Febvre 2010.)
- Savennières (Try Eric Morgan l’Enclos 2011.)
- White Burgundy (Try Olivier Leflaive Frères Bourgogne White 2011.)
- Chenin Blanc (Try Domain Huet Le Mont Sec Vouvray 2007.)
- Aligoté (Try Arnaud Ente 2012.)
- Sauvignon Blanc (Try Château de Jau Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays d’Oc le Jaja de Jau 2011.)
- Pinot Gris (Try Schlumberger Grand Cru Spiegel 2007.)
- Pinot Blanc (Try Zind Humbrecht 2011.)
- Sour beers (Belgian or US.)
- Red wine made from the Caino, Espadeiro, and Mencia red wine grapes from Rias Baixes, a region known for Albariño. Only 1% of the wines made in Rias Baixes are red. Adega Pedralonga, Tinto DoUmia 2011 is a great bottle.
- A non-alcoholic option would be Pu’Erh tea, a fermented tea from China. Get it here.
- A German Rausch beer such as Schlenkerla
- Japanese rice beer Hitachino
- A shot of eau-de-vie, which is a vaguely fruity brandy.
- A light red Burgundian blend passé-tout-grain mixing Pinot Noir with Gamay (Try Domaine Taupot Merme Borgogne Passe-tout-grains 2011.)
- Grüner Veltliner- Try Karl Lagler Federspiel. (The 2011 received 89 points from Snooth, and you can get a glass of the 2013 at Corkbuzz right now.)
- Grenache (Try A Tribute to Grace Grenache Shake Ridge Ranch 2012 from Grace Wine Company. You can still get a bottle of the sold out 2011 at Corkbuzz.)
Original: Snooth – Articles