Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wine and Beer / Oyster Pairings

I've been thinking about which wines and beers pair well with raw oysters. Conventional wisdom is that it's the crisp, dry, clean-finishing wines which work well. I would assert, however, that it greatly depends on the oyster. What may work beautifully with a Royal Miyagi may not pair well with an Atlantic or Olympia. The saltiness, brininess (which I distinguish from saltiness), creaminess/butteriness, sweetness, metallic quality, and other flavor profiles such as cucumber, seaweed, kiwi, etc., all must influence the sort of interaction which occurs with a beer or wine on the palate. Texture and temperature (of oyster and libation) would obviously also be a major factor.  Picpoul, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris are grape varieties which tend to get used a lot, but are they best. What do you think? I'll post some of my favorites here.

I'll begin with a beer pairing. One of my favorite combinations for moderately briny Pacific oyster is Pilsner Urquell, which I find stands up without overpowering, possibly due to the high carbonation and mild hoppiness.

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