The 10 Top Wines to Pair with Oysters

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Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 7:29 AM
click to enlarge BARBARA HANSEN
  • Barbara Hansen

Having sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, inability to make a decision? If the problem is choosing the right wine to serve with oysters, your angst is over.

Panels of judges in three cities--Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle--have made the decision for you. They've chosen not one wine but 10 to give you a reassuring range of options.

The 10 winners of the 2010 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition were picked from an initial 167 West Coast wines. These were winnowed down to 30 and then to 20 for the final judging.

L.A. judges assembled at the Water Grill, where they tasted the wines against kumamoto oysters supplied by the contest sponsor, Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton, Wash.

The wines were poured in flights of five, accompanied by a dozen oysters at a time. These were arranged on the Water Grill's new oyster platters.

The rules were strict. Judges sat at separate tables so they could not share opinions. They were instructed not to swirl, sniff and evaluate the wines on their own but to taste them only after chewing at least one oyster (judges could have as many as they wanted, and some worked so conscientiously they ate more than four dozen).

The goal was to find the elusive "bliss" factor, defined in part as a clean finish and crisp taste that didn't stand in the way of the next oyster consumed.

click to enlarge BARBARA HANSEN
  • Barbara Hansen

California produced three winners--Franciscan 2008 Sauvignon Blanc; Heitz Wine Cellars 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, and Kunde Family Estate 2009 Sauvignon Blanc.

Washington also had three winners--Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Sauvignon Blanc; CMS 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, and Columbia Winery 2008 Pinot Gris.

Oregon was the champion with four winners-- Acrobat 2008 Pinot Gris; Anne Amie 2009 Pinot Gris; Anne Amie Cuvee A 2009 Muller-Thurgau, and King Estate Winery 2008 Pinot Gris.

This was the 16th annual competition. There will be another judging next year, so sleep easy. You may have problems, but matching oysters and wine won't be one of them.

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