It’s National Oyster Day: The Best Wine + Oyster Pairings Ideas

best wine and oyster pairingsAwww, shucks, y’all—it’s National Oyster Day! {You see what I did there?} Better still is that it was also National White Wine Day a couple of days ago, and that got me to thinking about wine and oyster pairings, and one of the oft-purported, traditional, quintessential pairings for freshly shucked, briny, raw oysters is, of course, champagne.

Why does this pairing work? Well, terroir and climate of where they’re grown can make oysters have a variety of flavors such as salty, sweet, briny, meaty, lean, metallic or buttery, with a range of texture descriptors that might include chewy, tender, firm, or soft. The same holds true for wine, and champagne in particular.

For my wine nerds out there, a recent research in a article provides an even deeper explanation:

“Oysters and champagne are considered a perfect match and finally science has an explanation why, with new research from the University of Copenhagen finding that the two foods contain complementary sets of umami flavors that act “synergistically” to enhance taste, working together harmoniously.” 

Oyster pair main coupe

As a champagne-obsessed aficionado, an oyster fiend, a “the science of food” lover (hey, I had to do something with that undergrad degree in biology w/a minor in chemistry), and self-proclaimed wine nerd myself, I can personally attest to the fact that this pairing not only works well, but can actually be downright sublime.

But, because I know you so well my dears, I can hear what you’re thinking: “When it comes to pairing oysters and wine, is it really accurate to say that any oyster works with any champagne?”


“What if raw oysters just aren’t your thing and you prefer your bivalves cooked?”


“What if you want to venture off of the “traditional” champagne pairing path into some different wine territory?”

We are always on the same page, my fabulous bubbly and wine lovers, which is why we get along so swimmingly. That said, you already know I got you covered! Check out these delish oysters and wine pairing ideas:

 Fried Oyster Po-boy + Brut Champagne

You already know that “fried and salty” pairs perfectly with champagne, so a fully dressed (if you NOLA you know) po-boy stuffed with plump crispy, crunchy fried oysters would absolutely sing together.

Alsatian Riesling makes an excellent pairing with raw, unadorned oysters

Alsatian Riesling makes an excellent pairing with raw, unadorned oysters

 Chargrilled Oysters + Grüner Veltliner or Alsatian Riesling

If you haven’t had a chargrilled oysters before, you are so missing out! Grilled on the half shell over an open flame and drenched in a sauce made butter, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and Parmesan cheese, this oyster preparation has richness, is very aromatic, and has layer upon layer of flavors.

That means you need a wine that has a little bit of richness of its own, and aromatic profile, and a little bit of fruitiness to play off of the oysters. Grüner Veltliner and Riesling have got your back!

 Raw Oysters (plain) + Picpoul de Pinet or Muscadet or Albariño / Chenin Blanc or Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Gris

East Coast oysters tend to be lean, saltier and brinier with good “sea shell minerality,” so wines with some lemony tartness will be perfect—so perfect, in fact, you should skip that squeeze of fresh wedge because the wine itself will add the perfect citrusy note, i.e. the first three wines listed (before the slash).

West Coast bivalves lean more towards creaminess and sweetness and need fruitier, more aromatic wines (like the three wines after the slash).

Oysters served with mignonette or Tabasco sauce pair well with rosé sparkling wine

Oysters served with mignonette or Tabasco sauce pair well with rosé sparkling wine

 Raw Oysters with mignonette sauce/Tabasco + Sauvignon Blanc or Sparkling Rosé

The tart, vinegary mignonette will be complemented by the crisp Sauv Blanc and is pleasantly contrasted by a bubbly rosé that has a little fruitiness and body to stand up to both types of sauces.

 Oyster Stew + Chardonnay or Cremant de Limoux or Cremant de Bourgogne

A creamy, buttery stew calls for a wine with a creamy body and/or buttery notes on the palate. Hello, Cali Chards! Warmer climate Chardonnays without too much oak will love the texture of oyster stew. French sparklers will make magic as well: the acidity of bubbles cut beautifully through creamy and buttery foods too, so Cremants in particular will fit the bill quite nicely.