Oysters and wine: a pairing for the ages. We’re willing to go out on a limb and say that oysters and wine were the first intentional food pairing ever made (realistically it was actually probably bread, but whatever.) We pair wine with food because these viticultural delights have a magic-potion-like ability to enhance or transform the subtler flavors of a variety of dishes, and are themselves made more interesting by the foods alongside which they are sipped. And with no food is this transformative power more apparent than the small-but-mighty oyster. In this piece, we’re going to give you a few tips on selecting the right wines to go with your oyster bar, and offer up a few bottles from the Argaux collection that are perfect for pairing with a pile of bi-valves on the half shell. How to Pair Wine With Oysters First, the tricky bit: slightly different pairing rules exist for oysters from distinct locales. Different coasts experience different tidal conditions, temperatures, microbiomes, and other plant and animal influences, and all of these can have an effect on the precise texture and flavor of your oysters. Even oysters in the same ocean but from separate bays or islands may have completely contrasted flavors, and therefore different wine pairing recommendations. For example, oysters from warmer waters tend to be meaty and salty, and may call for a more robust or buttery wine like a Chardonnay. Cold-water oysters, on the other hand, are typically a little more delicate, and prefer something crisp and fruity to lift them up. While this is something to keep in mind, especially as you graduate from budding oenophile to sommelier-in-training, it doesn’t need to be this complicated. In general, the best wines to pair with your oysters tend to be on the more acidic side. Think of it like the splash of mignonette or squeeze of lemon juice you sprinkle onto your oysters before consuming — an acidic wine will do the same thing, allowing both the beverage and the mollusk to shine on your palate. Best Red Wine for Oysters 2019 Piazza Carbonic Graciano – $30 A sparkling California rouge to get us off to a running start. A botanical bouquet complete with lavender, sage, and peppercorn invites you in by the nose, and an acid-forward blend of blackberry, boysenberry, and cherry cola provides a playful finish. This wine was made with food in mind, so be fearless in your pairing. May we suggest a classic Oysters Rockefeller? 2019 Cherrier Frères Sancerre Rouge Pinot Noir – $18 (half-bottle) Floral, spicy, with incredibly smooth tannins that won’t overwhelm a subtle seafood dish, this wine is a salute to everything we love about Pinot Noir. It also has delightfully balanced acidity that allows it to support a fattier fish preparation. Try it with this oyster mushroom pizza. 2020 Bodega Chacra ‘Cincuenta y Cinco’ Pinot Noir – $58 A beautiful Patagonian treat, this bright Pinot reflects its mountain terroir with smooth, smooth notes of cherries, berries, game and just a hint of smokiness. Pure and delicious, this wine is best sipped in support of smoked oysters. Best White Wine for Oysters 2020 Dominique Roger ‘Domaine du Carrou’ Sancerre – $31 This wine is the squeeze of lemon we were talking about. A citrusy bouquet backed up on the palate by fresh fruits creating a truly ideal acidity, the French Sauvignon Blanc has the power to cut through grease or elevate a more minimalist oyster preparation. We’re having them fresh, with a splash of malt vinegar. NV Sorro Prosecco Treviso DOC – $25 A Prosecco for all occasions — delicious, floral, crisp, and delicate (not to mention wonderfully affordable.) It’s also so, so refreshing and makes for an amazing spritzer if you’re feeling so called. Recommended for salty cheeses and charcuterie boards, we love it with Oysters Au Gratin. 2019 Moreau-Naudet Petit Chablis – $35 A Chablis is one of the more classic pairings for dockside oysters. And this spectacular Petit from Burgundy is no different. Made from younger vines, notes of lemon zest, apple, honeysuckle, steel, and cream shine through in every biodynamic bottle. Enjoy with oysters, prepared however you like them most. 2019 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro Vinho Verde – $21 Sharp, sharp, sharp and savory. If you don’t like lemon or vinegar you could probably get away with splashing a little of this on your fresh oysters. Young fruits, chives, yellow and green citrus, and grass fill out the flavor of this acid-forward (“needlepoint”) Portuguese wine. Enjoy with this recipe for grilled oysters with a spicy tarragon butter. Best Rose Wine for Oysters 2020 Chateau Barbebelle Aix-en-Provence ‘Héritage’ Rosé – $28 An elegant Rosé just begging to be served at your next high-society gathering, this needs to be the bottle displayed next to your elegantly-arranged tray of Oysters of the Month. A blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah, this wine is dry and sharp yet fragrant and floral, with notes of strawberry, stone fruit, and fresh flowers rounding out its balanced body. For a thematic experience, sip alongside these oysters on the half shell with rosé mignonette. 2020 Domaine de L’Abbaye Clos Beylesse Rosé – $31 We wouldn’t blame you for getting this wine just for its beautiful blue bottle. It also happens to be fantastic with oysters. Fresh, aromatic flowers and berries carry through both the aroma and the flavor of this delicate wine, making it a gentle but uplifting aperitif, or pair for lighter seafood dishes. Best Wine for Oysters from Argaux If you still want to learn more about pairing wines with food — everything from oysters to hot cheetos — Argaux has just the thing. We paired with Vanessa Price to bring you a Food and Wine Pairing 101 kit hat allows you to learn all you can about which wines go with what. Each kit comes with a copy of Vanessa’s book as well as 2 – 4 bottles of hand-selected wines from our collection. Order yours today to begin your journey to becoming a home sommelier.