Although we eat them all year-round, in France oysters are the seafood of Christmas. It’s even said that 50% of the countries oyster consumption is done between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It was probably Christmas Eve when I ate the first oyster in my life and honestly as a kid I wasn’t a big fan. My love for oysters came with the age, same as my love for wine. Nowadays I am often found in the oyster bars of Lisbon slurping oysters and drinking pairing (biodynamic) wine. It became one of my favorite things to do.
There is more than one perfect pairing wine for oysters. It also depends on your own taste and where your oyster is from. Some are saltier and others are softer in flavor. The oysters in Lisbon mostly come from Sétubal and are sweet and small. Oysters usually go well with a crispy light-bodied white wine or sparkling wine with a bit of acidity. Which one you choose depends on which wine you usually like most, but there are a few classic wine parings with oysters that are famous.
In France Chablis is a favorite with oysters. The most obvious reason why this wine has exactly the right note is that there are actually real oyster shells in the soil of the Chablis region. It gives the Chablis its freshness, mineral, and marine notes.
Champagne (or sparkling wine)
The French also like to drink champagne or sparkling wine with Oysters. Much more festive than this you won’t get. The texture of the bubbles in contrast with the smoothness of the oysters makes this a perfect combination. Choose for a dry champagne-like Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut, a Portuguese spumante, a Spanish cava, or an Italian prosecco. If you like vinho verde, Soalheiro Alvarinho, goes well with the oysters from Sétubal.
Casal Figueira António 2018 (Lisboa)
We love to go local and drink António with oysters. It’s a soft biodynamic wine, very mineral with fruity and floral notes. It has a hint of butter balanced with citrus, but with pleasant acidity. This wine comes from old vines planted on the North of the Montejunto mountains, close to the city of Cadaval in Lisbon’s area. Marta Soares is the woman behind the Casal Figueira wines. More than 20 years ago the wine project was started by her deceased husband António Carvalho. Soares and António were the pioneers in producing biodynamic wine with a vineyard of 13ha about 80km North of Lisbon. All their wines are organic-biodynamic and became very popular in Lisbon, but also abroad.
Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand will never disappoint. It’s crispy, fruity, buttery, and lively. It tastes perfect with a fatty more meaty oyster, from Hog Island for example.
Dry Riesling and oysters make a good combination because a crisp Riesling with floral notes helps to enhance the whole experience in your mouth. Besides, it helps to neutralize the mouth and get ready for the next oyster.
If you prefer not to drink any alcohol, drink a fresh San Pellegrino or Perrier with ice and a slice of lemon. It’s fresh, neutral, and has a bubble texture that goes perfectly with your oysters and doesn’t detract from its delicate flavor.
We hope we have inspired you with our best wine tips. If you plan on serving oysters at home and need a little hand with opening them, we have some tips for you here.
We bought the oyster from Sétubal in the delicacy store in Lisbon, Sabores do Chiado. Here you”ll also find your pairing wine, let Rosy and Jean advise you.