A great treat: oysters with a variety of
white wines. Photo by Nathan Maxfield | IST.
We love oysters, so we hosted an extensive wine-and-oyster celebration last Friday, National Oyster Day (August 5th).
When we began eating oysters (way back in our college years), the de rigeur wine was a crisp Chablis from northern France—or Champagne, if you were a bon vivant.
But if you know what to look for, you can buy an oyster-friendly white wine for $10—and have more money to spend on oysters. We’ve asterisked * the more affordable wines we tried (of course, some wines in these categories are more than $10—ask your wine store clerk for help).
And here’s another budget-wise tip: Each participant was assigned one of these wines to bring to the party.
STILL WHITE WINES
Albariño.* A lighter style crisp white wine, a refreshing Albariño is a delightful oyster pairing in warm weather.
Chablis. The classic pairing, a French chablis is dry with notes of minerals.
Chenin Blanc (Dry).* This is not our favorite white wine grape, but if you enjoy Chenin Blanc, try it with oysters.
Dry Riesling.* A sophisticated approach for palates that demand something different.
Chardonnay. We love Chardonnay but prefer something a bit lighter with oysters. If Chardonnay is your go-to wine, pick an unoaked style.
Muscadet. This bistro regular can be hard to find in the U.S. If your wine store carries it, here’s an opportunity to get to know Muscadet.
Pinot Gris. An Alsatian Pinot Gris is one of our favorite oyster pairings: rich with spicy tropical fruit notes.
Pinot Grigio.* Made in Italy from the same grape as Pinot Gris, this style is lighter, crisp and clean.
Sauvignon Blanc.* Depending on where it’s grown, this wine can be grassy or citrussy (we like both styles). It’s always good, clean and balanced.
Sherry (Dry). This combination is popular in Spain, although we find that the nutty flavors of the wine interfere with the delicate flavor of raw oysters. It goes better with cooked oyster dishes.
Champagne. Champagne and oysters: sexy and luxurious. Pop the cork for a special occasion.
Cremant d’Alsace. This bubbly, from the Loire region, has a more affordable price and just as much festivity.
Prosecco. This lighter-style sparkler from Italy is always popular for warm-weather drinking.
BEER WITH OYSTERS
While we were comparing all of the wines, someone asked for a beer.
We pulled out several different styles: an amber ale, IPA, Pilsner and stout. All were delicious, but the stout, a roasty style of beer (the term comes from the dark-roasted malts used to brew it) was deemed a perfect beer pairing.
If you’re looking for a gourmet Labor Day activity, here’s your blueprint!
See our Oyster Glossary for everything you wanted to know about oysters.
Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.