September 4, 2021
Long live the native oyster season! Here, Times expert James Viner raises a glass to crisp wines that are good catches for seasonal native oysters, shellfish and seafood. And if you need more motivation to indulge yourself, oysters are also very nutritious because they contain calcium, selenium, zinc and vitamins A and B12.
September is a wonderful month for all kinds of local produce, including seafood. The new native oyster season kicked off on Wednesday and these native bivalves, now a delicacy, are available for sale from September 1 to September 30. April.
Under British law, the native European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) – whose shells are rounded and more regular in appearance than those of the larger Pacific (rock) teardrop oyster – cannot be harvested. for sale outside of this period, allowing stocks to replenish and remain viable.
If you can’t have a blast on these pricey shellfish, fear not, because our review offers more affordable food and wine pairing ideas. Scale, rattle and roll, here are five fabulous wines that go wonderfully with seasonal oysters …
1) Tangy and palate-cleansing Andalusian beauty – a benchmark manzanilla sherry, dry and crustacean loving
Bodegas Hidalgo-La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (15%, £ 8.00 – £ 10, Sainsbury’s, Hedonism Wines, Tanners, Majestic – 50cl; Waitrose & Virgin Wines – 75 cl)
A mind-blowing appetizer or a side dish for tapas and all manner of seafood and meat, umami-rich dry sherry isn’t just for Christmas (or funerals). I offer you this old Andalusian maxim on the association of sherry and food – fino and manzanilla if it swims, avalillado if it flies and oloroso if it runs or walks. Manzanilla is a fino (lightest, driest and palest) sherry produced and aged in and around the humid Andalusian coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. There’s a ton of character here, with marine salinity and notes of chamomile, blanched almonds, green apples, and freshly baked sourdough. One for umami lovers and very reasonably priced. Buy the most recent bottling and serve chilled, between 6 ° and 8 ° C, in a catavino or relatively large glass (as you would with a still white wine). Dazzling with native brackish oysters, sushi, sashimi, smoked salmon, grilled sardines, vongole pasta, mackerel, green olives, Jámon Iberico …
2) A wake-up call for the jaded palate – brilliant, mineral, tangy and marine Picpoul
2020 Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet, Cave de L’Ormarine, Languedoc oriental, France (12.5%, Majestic, £ 9.99 / bottle or £ 8.99 mix six)
Picpoul de Pinet vert-or from the plot of low land between Pézenas and the vast saltwater lagoon of the Thau Med basin, the second largest lake in France – itself famous for its Bouzigues oysters) / mussels and restaurants de mer de mer – just southwest of Montpellier is one of the few French AOC varietal wines. Ormarine, in partnership with Maison Jeanjean, is the leading producer of Picpoul de Pinet, the most elaborate white wine in eastern Languedoc and a very popular choice wine for summer consumption. Catch that exceptionally delicious tangy, clean and toning white with all kinds of florals, citrus, spicy lemon zest, subtle iodine, and in-game glasswort elements, in a setting of salivating acidity, which works like a lemon juice with seafood. An ace of seasonal native oysters on the half-shell, fish and chips, mussels and crab, it also makes a first class party or picnic at a warm Indian summer evening.
3) Captivating white Bordeaux organic left bank in love with bivalves
2020 Emigrated White, Chateau du Seuil, Graves, Bordeaux, France (12%, virgin wines, £ 14.99)
South of the city of Bordeaux, the AOP Graves – the only Bordeaux area where red and white wines are produced by most of the chateaux – stretches like a sleeve hanging from the arm of the Médoc. Set largely on its eponymous gravelly soil (quarry extraction is also a big deal here), this is a racy and refined blend of 75/25% Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that is unoaked and has a very nice texture. Crisp, pristine flavors of grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon, honeysuckle, spray and minerals sparkle as they spring through the mouth. The fine rinse of grapefruit acidity keeps everything taut, offering a long and racy finish. An irresistible pairing with raw oysters (and very popular with the people of Bordeaux themselves). Likewise a great aperitif, it’s also just the ticket for mackerel pâté and seafood like sole with lemon or cod in white butter. Biological.
4) Move over to the very aromatic Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc ‘tutti-frutti’ – try this nuanced and very elegant one instead.
2019 Rimapere Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (13%, £ 15.99 to £ 19, Ocado, Waddesdon Manor Shop, Cheers Wine Merchants and Harvey Nichols)
Soak up the last days of summer with a glass of Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc, a fruitful collaboration between the Rothschild family and Terry Peabody, the American owner of the highly prized Craggy Range winery (Craggy’s ‘Te Muna Road’ SB by cooler- le Martinborough’s climate is one of the best in New Zealand). Crystalline, multifaceted and undoubtedly suitable for aging, it is already an obvious charmer and a treat with seasonal native oysters. Softly scented, delicate, dry and very sophisticated, this beauty is an utterly superior and less exuberant version of a beloved wine style. Hello oysters, especially when served with Asian flavors, seafood salads and brie. Very classy. Most British wine merchants will switch to the superb 2020 vintage in October.
5) Svelte, structured aperitif champagne, ready for oysters, completely unsweetened, tip-top
NV Champagne Pol Roger, Pure, Extra Brut, Épernay, Champagne, France (12.5%, £ 42.50 to £ 52, The Champagne Company, Waitrose, Majestic, Berry Bros & Rudd & The Wine Society)
The pop of a champagne cork is an eternal appetite whetener. You’ve fallen in love with native oysters, so why not treat yourself to the best dry champagne? Unlike so-called Brut champagnes, which can contain up to 12-15 g / l of sugar, dry Brut Nature – like this supreme example of respectful oysters from the favorite house of Winston Churchill – only contain 3 g / l. . Here, the dryness and salty background, not to mention the sparkling aspect, provide the ideal texture contrast with the smooth, silky texture of the oysters. Made from a third each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this is a mesmerizing pairing for native raw / cooked oysters and also a great partner for dim sum, crab, kedgeree, chicken tandoori, sushi and sashimi. Zero dosage. Health !
Don’t forget the oyster Muscadet, the other very dry sparkling wines, the classic Chablis and the beer!
• 2020 Domaine Gadais La Grande Réserve du Moulin ‘Sur Lie’ Muscadet
• Sèvre et Maine (£ 11.99, Laithwaites)
• 2019 Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Sainte-Claire (£ 14.95, The Wine Society)
• 2018 Tesco Finest Premier Cru Chablis (£ 15, Tesco)
• Champagne Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut (£ 39.99, mix 6, Majestic)
• Cantillon Gueuze Lambic beer, Belgium – rare as hen’s teeth in the post-Brexit UK
Some of the best remaining native oyster production areas in the UK
• Fal, Cornwall
• Helford, Cornwall
• Loch Ryan, Scotland
• Maldon, Essex
• Mersea (aka Colchester), Essex
• Whitstable, Kent
Simplyoysters.com has the widest selection of Fresh Native, Pacific and Kumamoto oysters in the UK (27 different types at last count)
Follow Jacques on Twitter @QuixoticWine