A great pairing is a beautiful thing, especially when the outcome is better then the sum of its parts. For instance, we’ve all had a burger and a lager. Not only do they just go together, but one enhances the other. It’s a quintessential American pairing, played out every summer weekend. So it should come to no surprise that other foods and drinks pair just as well, like oysters and Muscadet.
Oysters are hard to pair. They have a delicate light flavor that is easily overpowered, like a midget on a football field. Even light bodied wines can mask their flavor, making a pairing challenging. However, one wine truly stands out for our shellfish chums, Muscadet.
Muscadet is an obscure (in the USA) white wine that comes from the Loire Valley, a northern coastal region of France. It’s similar to a light bodied Pinot Grigio, only lighter in body; great for the summer heat. Our selection for this paring was a Muscadet by Le Fresnay.
Upon opening the bottle, the wine released a bright aroma of fruit, mainly apples with a touch of white pepper. First taste brought light fruits of apple and apricots, with some pepper and butter transitioning into lemon and salt. The wine is very dry and has little body, slightly acidic, with a finish of 30 to 40 seconds. This is perfect for oysters.
Since neither the wine nor the oysters are stronger then the other, the flavors of each equally stand out. Reflecting on what is typically served with oysters, it should come to no surprise the flavors of apples and apricot, then lemon and salt pairs perfectly. The butter is also a nice addition, and only adds to the buttery undertones of the oysters. Last, the slight acidic quality of the wine helps clean the palate for the next one.
It’s too bad oysters are expensive and Muscadet hard to find, otherwise I would certainly be indulging in this more.
(Aside, if you don’t like oysters, I get it. They’re seafood, they’re gooey, almost snot like, and you eat them raw. Well, I have just one thing to say, get over it!)