Oysters and Champagne… are you sure ?
How, when and why not to pair the world most famous mussel
Oysters and Champagne… are you sure ? When talking about Champagne, it is right to say that there are a lot of different types of it! That’s why we never talk about it in singular, but always in plural. Every kind of Champagne is called the same because of their region of origin, a
hilly forested area called Champagne in France. This region is particularly suited for sparkling wine.
Champagne is generally caracterized by aromas that, over the years and the aging, become more complex and related to almonds, risen panettone and pastry cream. There aromas are called “pastry aromas”.
Although its acidity is strong, its scent stays delicate and the bubble is not intrusive when embracing the palate. Piring it with oysters creates a well-known combination, but actually it’s just a cliché!
Be careful: 90% of the times, oysters and champagne toghether are terrible!
Let’s make a premise. Oysters live in all seas, but the most common type live in the french area of the atlantic coast. Maybe that’s the reason why they decided they went along with Champagne: to combine two of their most renowned products.
This soft-bodied mussel is extremely salty and mineral, since it filters sea water to feed. Oysters contain an enormous quantity of minerals and salt for their little soft bodies.
The pairing technique is based on pairing the right tastes and falvours. Yes, there’s a big difference! flavours are those recognized buy our tongue: bitter, acid, sweet, salty and umami. Oysters of course will turn on our receivers of salty.
So… oysters and which wine ?
Saltyness and acidity in foods, make the wine taste “smoother”. So a salty food will destroy the acidity of the wine, making it more neutral. That’s the same mechanism that happens with the oysters: there’s no wine able to lower its sapidity.
Given this, pairing a wine that uses acidity as a trump card with a food that destroys it…it’s not that convenient.
What’s more ?
Champagne’s body and structure are given by acidity itself. The only sensations that persist when pairing with oysters are mineral notes: your mouth will be invaded by annoying metallic hints, acid and even more salty!
A better match is between oysters and still wines that create a contrast. Therefore, we will look for a sweet wine, not excessive, but with a vein of sweetness that inhibits the saltyness. This wine must have a strong character and a great fullness, invading the palate with its aromas and cleaning it from the sea.
And if you want to be a connoisseur of haute cuisine, try to season the oyster with a littl eoil and a drop of tabasco sauce: it produces an effect that’ literally a bomb of flavours…be careful !!!
To conclude, here’s a consideration. Let’s start by the fact that everyone has its own sensibility and its own taste.
There is a type of matching between food and wine that is called experiential matching and that does the pairing not according to the characteristics of wine and food, but according to the memories of each.. So anyway it will go, I wish wonderful memories to all, even to those who drink Champagne with oysters!
Best oyster in the world
Oysters and tabasco sauce