Best Wine with Caviar

Caviar is one of the most luxurious foods in the world. A savory blend of fish eggs, caviar is a delicacy that has been around for thousands of years. Caviar has always been a status symbol. It is typical to serve it with expensive wines made from grapes grown in specific regions around the world.

But what if you’re on a budget? Or what if you’re just looking for an inexpensive bottle to pair with your caviar? This article will give you some recommendations on wines that go well with caviar so you can enjoy your seafood without breaking the bank.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is an effervescent beverage, from unpressed grapes. The acidity is higher than that of still wine. Created in the same way as Champagne, it can also come from other fruits besides grapes, such as pomegranates.

If you’re looking for something outside of France, try Prosecco from Italy or Cava from Spain.

Champagne

Champagne is the most popular wine to pair with caviar. It’s crisp, effervescent, and slightly sweet. The high acidity cuts through the richness of caviar while still maintaining a delicate flavor.

The best way to pair Champagne with caviar is by using it as an aperitif. This means you’ll drink the wine before your meal, which allows the bubbles from the carbonation to cleanse your palate before you eat anything else. You can also try pairing Champagne with smoked salmon or other types of fish.

Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut

The absolute pinnacle of Champagne but you will need deep pockets.

Vineyard notes: “Krug’s Clos du Mesnil plot, with its south-eastern orientation was initially intended to ensure a regular supply of Chardonnay wines to enrich the blend of Krug Grande Cuvée but the savoir-faire of the House of Krug revealed more. Year after year, as the wines from the grapes of this tiny plot were followed and tasted, their character was consistently and uniquely beautiful. Perhaps due to the microclimate the walls created, to the protection of being right in the village, or to the men who built those walls back in 1698 knowing something we do not, the fact remained: The wines of Krug’s Clos du Mesnil stood out, time and again.”

2012 Bollinger La Grande Annee Brut

More attainable, this Bolly is also exceptional.

Award tasting note: “This goes from zero to 60 right out of the gate, with an intense spine of acidity driving tightly meshed flavors of crushed black currant, ground coffee, candied grapefruit peel and toasted almond. The profile expands on the palate, carried by the fine, raw silk–like mousse. Richly aromatic and expressive from start to lasting, spiced finish. Disgorged July 2019. Drink now through 2037. 850 cases imported. —AN” – Wine Spectator Top 100 #10Wine Spectator Top 100

Ruinart Brut Rose

This is my personal favorite. Delicate, fruity, and delightfully light on the palate.  An excellent yet affordable luxury.

Award tasting note: “Youthful, quite fruity style with easy appeal and drinkability.” – BronzeInternational Wine Challenge

Prosecco

A sparkling wine from Italy, from the Glera grape. This dry wine has a similar texture to caviar and pairs well with it because of this, so you can have your caviar and drink it too.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to pair your caviar with wine, try prosecco. The price point on bottles of this Italian bubbly is quite affordable when compared with other wines typically paired with caviar (like Champagne or Cava). This makes it easy to find one that fits your budget.

I recommend these Proseccos with your Caviar:

Bottega ‘Gold’ Prosecco Brut

Critic tasting note: “Packaged in what looks like a solid gold bottle, this easy sparkler offers fresh acidity and clean fruit aromas. The gold packaging gives this particular bottle a sassy, luxurious competitive edge.” – 85/100Wine Enthusiast

Bisol Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG

Award tasting note: (2021 vintage) “Melon and pear drop foaming creation with a sweet edge and citrus balance.” – SilverInternational Wine Challenge

Masottina Prosecco di Treviso Brut

Prosecco isn’t generally expensive anyway but this one provides even more value. An absolute bargain given the quality of the wine on offer.

Award tasting note: “Clean, fresh, floral notes with lovely lime and citrus flavors on the palate. – Panel Chair: Clive Barlow MW , Co-Chair: Oz Clarke” – BronzeInternational Wine Challenge

Cava

This is a sparkling wine from Spain. Like Prosecco, it is made in the same way as Champagne, from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. Cava has a similar taste to Champagne (some say it’s better), but costs much less. There are three main types:

Brut Nature: This is an unblended, non-vintage version of Cava that isn’t subject to any specific aging requirements. Labeled “Brut” or “Extra Brut,” depending on its alcohol content (no fewer than 11% ABV).

Extra Seco: Also known as “Xarel·lo,” this type of Cava ferments more slowly so that less sugar remains in the must (the liquid leftover after pressing grapes for wine). This results in a drier style with more acidic notes than other Cavas.

Reserva: This type of Cava must be aged at least 15 months before release. it may also include some reserve wines from previous years’ harvests added into each bottle for extra complexity and flavor variation year to year.

Recaredo Turo d’en Mota Cava

This Cava is produced in the Penedes region of Catalonia, Spain. The wine was awarded a gold medal at the 2011 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which has been called “the most important competition for sparkling wines in the world.”

Miani Zitelle Cava Sauvignon Blanc Colli Orientali del Friuli

This sparkling wine is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy. It’s aged for at least 15 months before release and has a fresh, crisp taste with flavors of tropical fruits and citrus.

Llopart Original 1887 Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava

This Cava was created in 1887 by the Llopart family, who have been making wine for seven generations. It’s made from 100% Macabeo grapes and is aged for at least 12 months before release. The result is a dry, crisp sparkling wine with fruity notes of apple, pear, and banana.

Dry Rosé

Rosé is a pink wine, made from red grapes. It pairs well with caviar because it is not too dry or too sweet. Rosé is a light, refreshing wine that pairs well with summertime caviar pairings.

It is a great way to start off a meal, especially when you want something light and fresh. Rosé is also good with appetizers such as shrimp cocktails or crab cakes. The bubbles in sparkling wine will help cleanse your palate between bites of caviar and other rich foods such as steak or cheese.

Sparkling wines have higher levels of acidity than still wines, which makes them an ideal accompaniment for caviar because they balance out the fatty notes in this dish.

Here are some excellent examples that you can pair with your caviar:

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.

Sweet Wines

When it comes to caviar, sweet wines are the best choice. This is because they have a higher sugar content, which means they’re sweeter than dry wines. The sweetness of sweet wines makes them perfect for pairing with caviar because they will complement the fish eggs’ salty flavor without overpowering it.

Let’s take a look at two sweet wines, Sauternes and Tokaj.

Sauternes

Sauternes is a sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region of France. It is from a blend of semillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle grapes. You can also make Sauternes with just one variety, though it’ll be less complex than a wine that uses multiple varieties.

Sauternes were once considered an inferior product to their dry counterparts. These wines, from the same grapes but fermented differently have been elevated to the status of luxury dessert wines, thanks to their high sugar content and aging potential. The sweetness in Sauternes comes from botrytis cinerea (also known as noble rot), which affects only grapes infected with mildew during their growing season.

Here are some Sauternes that I recommend you try. All are fantastic options:

2014 Chateau Suduiraut

Producer tasting notes: “Château Suduiraut 2014 has a deep golden yellow color and is still restrained in its expression. The first nose reveals oaked notes of toasted hazelnut, followed by white flowers, spices such as ginger and white pepper, and finally very ripe yellow fruit. The wine is full in the attack and continues in a rich and fresh form on the palate. Aromas of yellow peach, roasted pineapple, ginger, and preserved lemons mingle in a long, unctuous whole. The finish is absolutely delicious, lingering for a long time with honey and spiced notes.” – Chateau Suduiraut

2017 Chateau Rieussec

Producer tasting notes: “Beautiful pale gold color. The initial nose offers remarkable depth. Aeration reveals the complexity of truly great years. All the characteristics are present: freshness, precision, and purity. On the palate, the wine presents an impressive combination of power and finesse. The finish is tremendously long and harmonious. As is often the case in exceptional vintages, the sweetness is masked by the wine’s balance. A magnificent Rieussec that is already sublime and will still be so in ten and many more years’ time.” – Chateau Rieussec

2019 Chateau Coutet

A less expensive Sauternes than the others but no less a wine for it.  

Expert tasting note: “A rich, golden, sweet wine with ripe stone fruit and Smokey, sulfurous notes on the nose. On the palate concentrated, ripe apricot fruit is lovely & juicy. The wine is full-bodied & has a superbly rich texture. Alcohol is in balance & despite the fresh acidity the wine finishes sweet.” – 6/20 DCAMW

Tokaji Aszú

Tokaj Aszú is a sweet wine from Hungary that’s made from Furmint, Hárslevelu, and Zéta grapes. The word “Tokaji” means “of Tokaj,” the town where this dessert wine is produced. It can be enjoyed with caviar or other rich foods because its high sugar content helps balance out the saltiness of the food.

Here are my recommendations for Tokaj:

Royal Tokaji Essencia

Probably the best you can buy but it is expensive.  If you can find I, expect to pay the best part of $2,000 a bottle.

Critic tasting note: (2003 vintage) “Surprisingly subtle, yet maddeningly complex, this is a rare treat to unravel slowly, sip by sip. Sweet and honeyed on the nose with scents of freesia, orange peel, and stone fruit, but accented with just a hint of sun-dried hay. The palate is deeply concentrated with undulating waves of honey, beeswax, and fruit, but balanced with striking tangerine acidity. Remarkably long on the finish.” – 94/100Wine Enthusiast

Back in the real world, you can try these excellent examples for a fraction of the price of the Royal Essencia:

2017 Royal Tokaji ‘Szt. Tamas’ Aszu 6 Puttonyos

Critic tasting note: “This wine comes from one of Tokaji’s most famous vineyards. It is light amber in color with heady aromas of honeysuckle, freesia, beeswax, and honey. There is a pleasant heft on the palate and there are intense flavors of tinned peach, clover honey and apricot conserves. It is a well-made and well-balanced wine that ends on a sweet note and makes you want to go in for another and another, sip. Drink now–2050. Jeff Jenssen” – 99/100Wine Enthusiast

2013 Hetszolo Aszu 6 Puttonyos

Critic tasting note: “Aromas of caramelized pineapple, tinned peach, and honeycomb prepare the palate for flavors of dried apricot, orange zest, and English toffee. This is a well-balanced wine with good acidity and a touch of saline in the persistent finish. Drink now or through 2043. Jeff Jenssen” – 98/100Wine Enthusiast

Red Wines with Caviar

Red wines have a bolder and richer flavor than white wines, making them the perfect pairing for caviar. The higher acidity of red wines also helps to cut through the fattiness of caviar and bring out its smooth texture. When pairing red wine with caviar, you should select a wine from your preferred region where you enjoy it most. For example, if you prefer French reds then try serving Alsatian Pinot Noir with your caviar spread.

Conclusion

When it comes to pairing wine with caviar, it’s all about decadence. If you’ve already splashed out on caviar you really should do the same and buy a nice Champagne to go with it. That said, it really doesn’t need to be an expensive bottle of Krug. My recommendation is to treat yourself to a bottle of Ruinart. Rose or Blanc de blanc are both exceptional.

If you’d prefer to look outside of France you can get some excellent Cava or Prosecco that will pair very well. For those with a sweeter tooth, try a little glass of Sauternes for pure indulgence.

If you aren’t sure what caviar to buy, let me simplify things for you. The best caviar you can buy in the US today is from Tsar Nicoulai Caviar in Wilton, California.

Producing the cleanest caviar and ensuring that everything is done in a sustainable way, it is known as the best in the USA. They even sing to the fish!

If you enjoyed this article, check out my others on seafood wine pairings.