Happy National Oyster Day! Oysters are a summer staple and one of my favorites when enjoying the warm weather. There’s nothing better than a briny, salty, meaty oyster paired with a crisp and refreshing glass of Chablis.
I recently received a delicious shipment from Taylor Shellfish Farms of Kumamoto and Shigoku Oysters with a bottle of 2015 William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux. Once I was done shucking them all, I decided to do something a bit different and bake them. Many times when enjoying oysters, I consume them raw, however I was in the mood for something delicious and baked and it was a wonderful pairing.
In collaboration with Rowan Jacobsen, author of The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation. Jacobsen was able to offer some guidance with easy steps to expertly shuck an oyster and pair it.
First, The R rule: Jacobsen dispels the still-thriving myth that oysters should be eaten only in months with Rs in them (September–April), which only applied in the pre-refrigeration days when all oyster were wild. The season was closed in summer so that oysters could reproduce, and so they wouldn’t rot in the sun on hot docks. Today, oysters are farmed and are kept refrigerated from the moment they are pulled out of the water. You can eat them year-round.
- The first oyster bar potentially opened 164,000 years ago. In caves in South Africa, archeologists discovered oyster shells and prehistoric bone knives—evidence of a prehistoric oyster bar.
- Choose oysters that are heavy for their size just as you would fruit – the shells should be tightly clamped.
- As for pairing, a good entry–level Chablis like William Fèvre Champs Royaux will be the most friendly with all types of oysters. Refreshing, crisp, and mineral driven, this wine is perfect for warm weather drinking.
- Want to see an oyster demonstration for yourself? I can send you a video of oyster expert Rowan Jacobsen in action and arrange an interview
Minerality + freshness: You couldn’t come up with a better formula for an oyster companion. Rowan recently recommended an array of four types of oysters from both the East and West Coast with the wine that pairs best with the widest array of oysters- William Fèvre Chablis. He paired each oyster to a William Fèvre wine matching the body and flavor characteristics of the wine to the oyster.
Now, for those of you who are wondering what Chablis is, and why you should enjoy it with oysters, keep reading. Chablis is a region in the northernmost wine area of the Burgundy region in France. The cooler climate of this region produces wines with more acidity and flavors that are less fruity than Chardonnay wines grown in warmer climates. Chablis is mineral driven, citrus powered, and absolutely stunning with seafood.
When I paired my William Fèvre with Baked Oysters, it was a lovely match. I used tempura bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs to create a lightness that did not overpower the beauty of the oyster. I simply mixed some butter, garlic, and scallions with the tempura crumbs, then added a bit of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I mixed it all together and topped each oyster with the breading mixture. 15-20 minutes later in the oven, and viola!
Due to the acidity, freshness, and crispness of the wine, it paired beautifully with the lightly breaded baked oysters. If you’re seeking a fun summer pairing, I also recommend this wine 2015 William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux ($25) with grilled oysters!
Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love… please pair responsibly!