As a part of our year-long 20th Anniversary celebrations, chefs and food enthusiasts who are interested in expanding their knowledge are invited to monthly cooking-themed lectures led by local experts in their fields. Our first lecture is All About Oysters on January 16 from 5:30-6:30pm featuring Jordi St. John of Merritt Island Oysters and John Herrigel of The Maine Oyster Company. This event is free but tickets are required because space is limited. Sign up for the wait-list and other lectures here.
Now to get to my main point—what wines pair well with oysters?______________________________________________________________________________________________
Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino En Rama 10th Edition (375ml) $17.99
Each year in the spring, the illustrious sherry firm Gonzales Byass selects just 67 barrels (out of about 20,000!) of their Tio Pepe Fino to be bottled for their “en Rama” release. The barrels are selected in the Spring, when the flor that covers the wine is thickest and most active, and the wine is drawn off and bottled without any fining or filtration, in order to capture the intense and unique aromas and flavors of the sherry straight from the cask itself. The 2019 bottling is the 10th edition of Tio Pepe en Rama, and it is amazingly complex, with an inscrutable layering of savory umami flavors like rising bread, sea foam, and roasted nuts playing off notes of dried fruits, apple, and lemon peel. From the powerfully fragrant nose to the brilliant and mouth-watering acidity of the finish, it will be a one-of-a-kind companion to oysters and other simply prepared shellfish.
Jo Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2018 $16.99
One of the most classic and well-known pairings for oysters is Muscadet, a dry and minerally white wine made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes grown at the mouth of the Loire River in France. Jo Landron farms less than 50 hectares of vines farmed organically and biodynamically since 1999, and his Muscadet is gently whole-cluster pressed after rigorous sorting of the bunches. The must ferments slowly for two to three weeks with just the native yeasts on the skins of the grapes. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered after 6-12 months, resulting in a highly expressive Muscadet with green apples and citrus notes, white flowers, and scintillating stone-and-saline mineral texture.
Robert Princic Gradis’ Ciutta Collio Friulano 2017 $22.99
The savory and mineral driven white wines of Collio, near the Slovenian border in Northeastern Italy, are often overlooked and as a result offer tremendous value. The Gradis’ Ciutta Friulano is a pure expression of the region and varietal, combining hay, dried flowers, and the gently bitter suggestion of fresh almonds with hints of yellow apple on a rounded frame. Outstanding with antipasti and savory soups, its savory complexity, bright acid, and exceptional length make it a delightful match for a range of fish and shellfish dishes as well.
The tiny volcanic island of Santorini in the Greek Cyclades is the home of Assyrtiko, a white grape variety that produces dry, high-acid wines of great concentration and finesse- in fact some of the most sought-after wines of Greece. The island is so dry that the vines are typically trained in coils low to the ground (“basket-training”) so as to capture the scant but precious morning dew. As a result of this stress, the fruit is concentrated and powerful. Karamolegos sources from very old vines in three vineyard sites, and after a cool fermentation on a mix of native and neutral cultivated yeasts the wine rests on the lees with frequent storring (batonnage). This estate wine is particularly striking for its dense, rich, silky texture that is infused with notions of lemon oil, pear, white tea, chamomile, and flinty, salty minerals, all of which is lifted by the signature firm acidity of the varietal. Its suitability for shellfish hardly needs to be stated.
Roland Lavantureux Chablis Vauprin 2015 $42.99
Vauprin is one of the highest altitude vineyards in Chablis, and is located in the northernmost part of the Chablis appellation, two factors that contribute to the fantastic tension and power the wine exhibits. The soil of the whole region, called kimmeridgian, is actually composed of clay filled with millions of tiny fossilized oysters, so in a sense you are actually drinking oysters when you drink Chablis! The Lavantereux Vauprin is aged 50% in stainless steel and 50% in 2-5 year old oak barrels (i.e. neutral), which lend complexity and richness to the wine by slow and subtle transfer of oxygen. Even though Vauprin is not a Premier Cru vineyard, it would easily be mistaken for one in the glass, the wine has so much backbone and cut to it. This is cold climate Chardonnay that was grown in oysters and is perhaps the ultimate pairing for our bivalve friends!
Also pictured, one of our favorite oyster books, The Essential Oyster by Rowan Jacobsen. On sale at Now You’re Cooking for $35.
Our first wine tasting of 2020 will be on Thursday, January 9 from 5-7pm. Our wine tastings are free and open to the public. Must be 21 or older to participate. Hope to see you there!