Diving Deeper with Shellfish Pairings

by | Oct 4, 2020 | Choosing Wine, Musings & Tastings, Wine & Food Pairing

Excellent wine and shellfish pairing, Vilmart & Cie 2009 Blanches de Blancs

We’re blessed to live in a region with an abundance of seafood. From locally caught salmon, halibut, or tuna, to freshly caught Dungeoness crab, spot prawns, oysters, or clams, we seem to have it all. Okay, so maybe we don’t have fresh lobster, but we can buy them. And what’s better than fresh seafood? Fresh seafood with the right wine pairing! Elevate your next shellfish dinner with a wine best suited for the dish! Below are some tasty wine suggestions for you and your fortunate guests..

Let’s start with an absolute classic— Champagne and oysters. The bubbles and the brightness of the acid in Champagne both contrasts and compliments the meatiness and salinity of the oysters. It’s a remarkable pairing if you haven’t tried it.

Other great oyster wines are Muscadet, a dry white wine from the Loire Valley or Picpoul de Pinet, another French white wine that pierces the plumpness of an oyster with its refreshing acidity. Chardonnays from Chablis are also a remarkable pairing, and a dry Chenin Blanc from Vouvray is a terrific, often unexplored option. We recommend the Champagne José Michel Clos Saint Jean Blanc De Blancs 2011 or Château de Castelnau Picpoul de Pinet 2019.

Grilled or steamed shellfish are a beautiful match for the refreshing citrus notes of Albariño, one of our favorites. Try the Palacios Del Palacio De Fefiñanes Albariño 2019 for a memorable match, especially beautiful with a seafood paella.

Catch some fresh Dungeness Crab? Lucky you! Now pair that beautiful crab with a nice dry Riesling like A Christmann Riesling 2017. The richness of the fruit perfectly matches the richness of the crab, and the acid ensures it doesn’t get too carried away, allowing you to enjoy more of that special treat from the Sound. Pinot Gris is another great option, like the Léon Boesch Pinot Gris “Le Coq” Alsace Pinot Gris 2017.

If you’re having some shellfish with some spiciness to it, try a wine with a little bit of sweetness to counterbalance the heat, like the Léon Boesch “Vallée Noble” Alsace Gewurztraminer 2016. Another beautiful option would be a Vouvray or other Chenin Blanc with a touch of sweetness.

Prawns pair perfectly with many wines, such as Pinot Grigio, Muscadet, Sancerre and many others. Try the Henri Bourgeois La Côte Des Mont Damnés Sancerre 2018, or for something more unique, one of our favorites is Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2019, especially with pasta from Mix Tape Pasta.

Lucky enough to have lobster? Champagne works great, but this is perfect Chardonnay territory too. Whether you are enjoying a fine Burgundy, like Remoissenet Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2016, or something richer (and more local) like J Bookwalter Double Plot Chardonnay 2017, Chardonnay is a beautiful match with lobster. Had too much Chardonnay recently? Enjoy your lobster with a Viognier or La Spinetta Casanova Della Spinetta Toscano Vermentino 2019.

As you can see, we focused on white wines here, but there are red wine options that can work, too, depending on your menu. If you need some suggestions, please reach out and Tacoma Wine Merchants will help you find a wine that matches your shellfish dish! Cheers! – Rob Richards.

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