Best Wine for Mussels (reliable pairings)

When it comes to wine pairing, there are no hard and fast rules. However, certain pairings just make sense. Case in point: mussels and white wine. The delicate, briny flavors of mussels are perfectly complemented by a nice, dry white wine.

At their best, mussels are plump, juicy, and brimming with flavor. This seafood favorite is a staple on French menus, often appearing as Moules Mariniere. When it comes to wine pairing, there are a few things to keep in mind. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best wines for mussels, as well as some general tips for pairing wine with this dish. But with so many different types of white wines out there, which is the best one to pair with Moules Mariniere?

Pairing Wine with Mussels

The most common mussel dishes that you will come across are usually cooked with garlic, shallots, butter, and white wine (Moules Mariniere). This combination of flavors is important to consider when choosing a wine to pair with the dish. You’ll want a wine that can stand up to the bold flavors of garlic and shallots, without being overpowered by the butter or wine in the dish.

With that said, here are a few of my favorite wines for Moules Mariniere.

Best White Wine for Mussels

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a classic choice for pairing with Moules Mariniere. It is known for its creamy texture and rich flavor. Oaked Chardonnays pair especially well with garlicky dishes like Moules Mariniere.The creamy texture of Chardonnay stands up well to the richness of the dish, while the acidity helps to balance out the fat content. To really bring out the best in both the wine and the dish, look for a Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation. This process gives the wine a creamier texture and rounds out the harsher edges of the acidity.

Try one of these excellent Chardonnays with your mussels:

Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay

This vineyard is located in California, and it’s a great place to start your search for a good Chardonnay with crab legs. This wine is made from grapes grown in the Sonoma Valley, where the climate is ideal for growing them. Fermented and aged in French and American oak barrels for richness, toastiness, and complexity.

J. Lohr Chardonnay

This California winery has been making award-winning wines for over 30 years, and this Chardonnay is no exception. They use grapes from their own vineyards in Monterey County, which means that you can be sure the quality is always high. This wine has a rich golden color with notes of citrus and vanilla on the nose.

Ladera Vineyards Chardonnay

This Chardonnay is made from grapes grown in the Santa Lucia Highlands, which is a cool climate area. It’s aged in French oak barrels for about 15 months before being bottled and has notes of vanilla and toasted hazelnuts on the nose.

Hagafen Cellars “Reserve” Napa Valley Chardonnay

Made from grapes grown in Napa Valley. It has a rich golden color with notes of citrus, vanilla, and toasted hazelnuts on the nose. It’s aged for about 18 months in French oak barrels before being bottled.

Sauvignon Blanc

If you’re looking for a pairing that is a little lighter and brighter, Sauvignon blanc is an excellent choice. The citrusy notes in Sauvignon blanc help to cut through the richness of the dish and provide a refreshing contrast to the savory flavors. For an extra touch of elegance, look for a Sauvignon blanc from France’s Loire Valley. These wines tend to have more minerality than their New World counterparts and pair beautifully with shellfish dishes like Moules Mariniere.

I recommend one of the following Sauvignon blanc to pair with mussels:

Bread & Butter North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc has bright aromas of lemon zest and hints of tropical fruit, lively flavors with citrus notes followed by a rich texture and a clean finish.

2021 Decoy California Sauvignon Blanc

Aromas of pineapple, lemon, and green apple lead the way for this crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Underneath those fresh scents is a layer of lime zest that adds another exciting dimension to what you taste, which lingers in your mouth long after each sip.

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 2017

This Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of ripe kiwi, lemon, and lime accented by hints of green apples. The palate is full and creamy with a rich mouthfeel that is balanced by crisp acidity.

Chenin Blanc

If you want to really wow your diners, Chenin blanc is the way to go. This versatile white wine can range from bone-dry to sweet, making it perfect for dishes with complex flavors like Moules Mariniere. Chenin blanc also has good acidity, which helps to refresh the palate in between bites. For the best results, look for a dry Chenin blanc from France’s Loire Valley or South Africa’s Coastal Region.

Red Wine for Mussels

Pinot Noir

For something heartier, try Pinot Noir. This red wine has flavors of cherries and strawberries, with just enough acidity to balance out richer dishes. The natural pairing for Pinot Noir is seafood. Mussels are a great source of protein and vitamins B12, A, and C. They’re also really easy to cook with just a quick steam or boil! Pair them with a crispy baguette, fresh herbs, garlic, and white wine for an easy dish that can be thrown together in minutes.

I recommend one of these Pinot Noir:

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Rosé

Rosé is always a good idea. This versatile wine can be light or fruity, dry or sweet. Whether you’re serving Moules Mariniere or another seafood dish, Rosé is sure to please your guests. With mussels being so versatile, you can pair them with many different types of wine. The key is to find one that has enough acidity to balance out the rich flavor of seafood but still leaves room for other flavors in your dish. Pinot Noir is a great choice for mussels because it’s light and fruity with just enough acidity to balance out richer dishes.

If you decide to go for Rosé, I recommend one of the following:

RUMOR Rosé (Provence, France)

This is a very elegant, drinkable blush pink rosé. It has light red berry fruit and sharp citrus aromas, with a crisp, dry refreshing finish. It pairs with cured meats, fish, pasta, salads, and shellfish.

Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir (California)

This Pinot Noir blush from the Russian River Valley is a welcome change from the standard Grenache-based rosés you are probably used to. It has a bright acidity with hints of red berry fruits, pear, and stone fruit flavors. 

Whispering Angel Rosé (Provence, France)

This is an award-winning benchmark dry rose from Chateau d’EsclansinProvence.  It has notes of strawberry, raspberry, and peach with refreshing citrus and a smooth, dry finish.  Goes very well with fish dishes.

If you are looking for a great Moules marinière recipe, then check out this one from Rick Stein.

Moules Mariniere is by far the most common mussels dish you will come across, but there are others. The French have also given us some classics such as Moules Farcies, Mouclade, and Moules au Safran. Let’s take a look at the pairing for each of these.

Best Wine with Moules Farcies

The best wine for Moules Farcies is a crisp white wine that will help cleanse your palate between bites. The mussels themselves are rich and creamy, so you want to pair them with a lighter-bodied wine that won’t overpower their flavor. Pinot Grigio is a great choice for this dish because it has just the right amount of acidity to balance out the mussels without being too tart or acidic.

Best Wine with Mouclade

The best wine for Mouclade is a wine that is full-bodied but not too heavy. You want something with enough acidity to cleanse your palate between bites of the rich mussels. Pinot Noir is a great choice because it has just enough acidity to balance out the creamy sauce without being so tart or acidic that it overpowers the flavor of your meal.

Moules au Safran

Moules au Safran is a classic French seafood dish that pairs well with a full-bodied white wine. But what exactly is Moules au Safran? It’s an aromatic, flavorful dish that features mussels served in a creamy sauce made from cream, butter, and saffron. The mussels are steamed in the sauce until they open and then served with some crusty bread to soak up every last drop of goodness.

It’s a decadent dish that also pairs well with Pinot Noir. The wine is full-bodied, but not overly sweet, which allows it to stand up to the creamy sauce without being overpowered by it. It also has enough acidity to cut through the richness of the cream and butter in

Conclusion

Mussels are a delicious seafood dish that can be enjoyed year-round. When it comes to pairing mussels with wine, there are five main wines that work best: Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, and Chenin blanc are my recommended choices. All three of these wines have fresh acidity that helps to cut through the richness of the dish and pairs well with the savory flavors. For an extra touch of elegance, look for a wine from France’s Loire Valley or South Africa’s Coastal Region.

You can also pair it with Pinot Noir, and Rosé. Be sure to choose a wine that can stand up to the bold flavors of garlic and shallots without being overpowered by the butter or wine in the dish. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect wine pairing for your next seafood feast!

If you enjoyed this post, take a look at my other posts on the Best Wines for Seafood.