Best wine for Oysters

If you’re looking for a wine to pair with oysters, just remember one thing. They need to be light, crisp, and acidic. Chardonnays, Sauvignons Blancs, Muscadets, and Pinot Grigios are the quintessential wines that will pair with oysters. The oysters’ fatty acids work with wines that are light and have a higher acidity content. This is why Sauvignon Blanc is so popular as an oyster complement.

When it comes to wine pairing, the best way to pair an oyster with wine is by looking at the profile of its flavors. A perfect pairing with oysters is best when a wine compliments or enhances both the food and its sauce. 

Champagne

Champagne works well as a pairing. It shares a few characteristics with oysters, specifically the minerality. While the acidity of the wine stands up to the saltiness. The pairing is impressive, to say the least. It makes a glass of extra-dry Champagne arguably the best Champagne for pairing with oysters. When well-paired, wine and oysters play off of one another. This creates a wonderful balance that brings out all of the best notes in each.

The pairing is simple, but it is not to be overlooked. When done right, you’ll never want to eat oysters without Champagne again.

The key to pairing oysters with Champagne is to keep it simple. You don’t want the wine to overpower the delicate flavors of your oysters, so go light on the bubbles. A crisp, dry extra-dry Champagne works best in this situation. The acidity of the wine will cut through any buttery notes in your dish and bring out their natural flavor profile.

Chablis & Sauvignon Blanc

The crisp, bright flavors make Chablis a fantastic wine choice to pair with oysters. The wine has a less fruity taste and more acidity, compared with the warmer origin climate of many Chardonnays. This makes it a great wine for pairing with oysters. I think that really nice, dry white wines that are very high acidity and minerals are best with any oysters.

I particularly love a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with West Coast oyster. The wines’ tropical notes, such as pineapple and mango, are great accompaniments for this species. Made solely with Sauvignon blanc grapes, this classic white French grape is deliciously complementary to West Coast oysters. The wine displays aromas of honey, fresh citrus, and tropical fruits. The palate is rich and creamy, with flavors of orange blossom honey and ripe pear.

Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc & beyond

When pairing wines with oysters, you are best off sticking with lighter wines that have more acidity. The best white wines for pairing with oysters will have crisp acidity to cut through the richness of the seafood. Sancerre is an amazing wine to enjoy with oysters because its bright fruit flavors and spices complement a salty oyster. 

Sancerre produces crisp, delicate white wines, flavored by white fruits and citrus, with a few delicate exotic fruit notes. Its white wines are dry, crisp, bright expressions of their Chardonnay. It is flavored with citrus, pears, minerals, and saltiness. Ideal to compliment the briny flavors of oysters.

You will want to look for a wine with salty minerals. That will enhance the flavors of oysters even more. I would recommend that you favor a mineral-heavy wine that has beautiful acidity, also some saltiness. This will pair beautifully with your oysters. If you are serving oysters from the Pacific or the Kumamoto, you should opt for a white wine like a Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay. Both of which are easy-going and crispy. 

For Atlantic coastal oysters, which are a bit brinier, I would go with younger wines from the early years. For example, St. Croix du Mont (Bordeaux) or Cerons (South-West France).

If you are looking for a Champagne or sparkling wine to go with your fresh oysters, I would suggest Blanc de Blancs (which is 100% Chardonnay). The narrow bubbles of Blanc de Blancs Champagne are refreshing. The wine’s fresh, lifted flavors are pure, allowing it to play well with the oyster’s salty body. I think that the texture of bubbles and the tartness of Champagne or dry sparkling wine makes for the perfect pairings for oysters.

Other wines can also work, depending on the dressing and/or other ingredients that you include, such as this pairing of oysters with a dry German Riesling

Muscadet

Try Muscadet with your freshly shucked oysters. Just make sure you keep your lemon wedges on hand. This wine has just enough acidity to enhance the oysters’ flavors. Add the lemon wedges to adjust. Amongst the myriad tasting notes that you will find on both oysters and wines, you are most likely to come across references to biscuity or yeasty flavors. Aged Muscadet wines deliver those flavors en masse.

Minerality and some other wine qualities that lend an appearance of brininess, such as lees present in the wines when aged, also tend to round out the salty-sweet spectrum of West to East coast oyster flavors.

Addressing the Dressing!

We all know that oyster freshness is critical, but did you also know that oyster dressing is critical, too, when it comes to wine pairing? The oyster’s dressing is important because it can either complement or clash with your wine. The most common dressings are mignonette and cocktail sauce, which are both made with vinegar. If you’re drinking a dry white wine with your oysters, then this probably isn’t an issue; but if you’re drinking red wine, then beware!

Conclusion

If you are looking for a particular wine to pair with your seafood dishes, you might consider purchasing a bottle specifically designed for oysters. Just like you carefully select a Pinot Noir to go alongside your duck breast, or a Riesling to pair with a cheese course, you will want to take your oyster prep into account when choosing a wine.

For me, oysters tend to be a special occasion dish, so I tend not to stray beyond Champagne. However, there are some exceptional wines that pair just as well as Champagne, if not better. Sancerre and Sauvignon blanc would be my recommendations given their minerality and acidity. Just remember to take the dressing into account.

Check out these three simple oyster recipes from the Marine Stewardship Council. All three of these hit the spot but my choice is Cornish oysters.

If you enjoyed this, check out our post on the Best wine for Scallops and the Best Wine for Mussels.