That's a Nice Wine, Shucker

Julia Walsh
Nothing goes with oysters like a good Sancerre. And a Muscadet. And a Quincy...

In my first two years as a home oyster shucker, I have noticed my oyster-eating guests prefer Loire Valley wines with high acidity levels. I wondered: Why the Loire Valley? What about high acidity wines from other places? And which of the Loire Valley wines is the best deal?

So I held a wine and oyster tasting recently, which, I admit, was mainly an excuse to party with wine and oysters in the back yard. But I actually did hand out ballot sheets and get five tasters to score five wines on how well they went with oysters on a scale of one to ten. -- Robb Walsh

Here's the results:

1. Domaine Crotereau, Quincy (Loire Valley), 2005, $18
Quincy wines are made with Sauvignon blanc. This one was recommended with oysters by a waiter at Le Dome, an awesome seafood restaurant in Paris. The flavor is tart, but more like raspberries than lemons.
Average score: 8.2

2. (tie) Domaine Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre (Loire Valley), 2005, $17
Sancerre is another Loire Valley Sauvignon blanc, and probably the most famous choice with any kind of seafood due to its lemony tartness.
Average score 6.8

2. (tie) Domaine de la Quilla, Sevre & Maine, Muscadet (Loire Valley) 2004, $8 to $9
Muscadet is the name of both the white wine and the grape varietal of the coastal region of the Loire Valley. The flavor is extremely tart, coarsely mineral, and spectacular with oysters. Muscadet is by far the best value in oyster wines.
Average score 6.8

3. Mommessin, Chablis (Burgundy), 2002, $18
Granted, this is an inexpensive Chablis (great ones run $50 to $70), but the flavor was sour instead of tart--more like dill pickles than lemons.
Average score: 5

4. Groth, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 2005, $16 at Spec's
I wanted to include a California Sauvignon blanc for contrast. The winemaker recommends this wine with oysters, but they age it in oak and vinify it in the fruity New Zealand style. It might taste good by itself, but it didn't have enough acid to stand up to the oysters.
Average score 4.2


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