Raw Bar & Muscadet: If It Grows with It, It Goes with It
"If it grows with it, it goes with it."
Photo by Jeremy Parzen. Raw oysters and clams at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New York.
No matter what food I'm pairing with wine, I always look to traditional pairings for inspiration. Whether it's Parmigiano Reggiano and Lambrusco, foie gras and Sauternes, blood rare steak and Sangiovese, braised beef and Burgundian Pinot Noir, or white truffles and Nebbiolo, I always look to the people who raise the wine and to what they pair with it.
Invariably, grape growers and winemakers pair their wines with the foods that are grown in the fields adjacent to their vineyards. And their pairings are the best models, in my view, for the "application" of their wines.
Of all the great wine and food marriages in the world, none is perhaps more brilliant than raw bar and Muscadet.
If you've ever traveled to the west coast of France, you know that no meal begins without raw oysters and a glass of Melon de Bourgogne, the grape used in Muscadet. There's just something about the saltiness and unctuous texture of the oyster that sings in harmony with the musky character and minerality of the wine.
And beyond its traditional pairing, one of the things that I love about Muscadet is that its humble nature precludes tarting up. In my experience, even when you don't know the producer or the style, Muscadet always delivers a true-to-its-roots wine at a more-than-reasonable price.
I'm on the road this week in New York for business meetings, and I treated myself to some superb raw bar and a glass of Muscadet last night at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station (above) before I headed to dinner (I recommend sitting at the counter). On a cool, drizzly autumn evening in the City, my ticket to food-and-wine-pairing heaven set me back about $25.
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