A quick internet search for food pairings with oysters brings up information on the usual suspects – Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc & Chablis. These might be the more famous pairings but there is a lesser known pairing that we think is well worth experimenting with – Oysters and Riesling!
Here at Howard Park, we love this pairing so much we host an annual ‘Oysters & Riesling’ festival each year to celebrate the flavour sensation.
So why are they such a winning combination? Howard Park’s Wine Club Manager, David Stredwick explains,
‘Generally with food and wine matching sometimes it works when there are opposing characteristics in the food and wine, while other times it works when the characteristics complement each other. When it comes to Oysters & Riesling they share complementary similarities without overpowering, that heighten the intensity of the overall sensory experience.’
‘A common attribute that is applied to both Oysters and Australian Rieslings is ‘minerality’. Whilst this can seem a vague notion I believe it refers to the energetic acid characters which stimulate and enliven the palate.’
David goes on to articulate the harmonious ‘minerality’ characteristics of this pairing; ‘They carry aromatic associations with things like ‘wet stone’ or ‘crushed rock’ which are strangely pleasing. In fact, ‘oyster shell’ is becoming a common descriptor for wine wines and fits into this mineral spectrum. In this context the ‘energetic minerality’ in our Rieslings is in harmony with characteristics found in freshly shucked Oysters.’
‘The other pleasant association is that a dry Riesling such as the Howard Park Porongurup Riesling displays prominent and intensely pure citrus characters, specifically lime juice and zest. This matches beautifully with Oysters as most people tend to add a squeeze of lemon or lime, adding acidity that magnifies and intensifies the other natural flavours.’ Says David
Oysters have a unique textural attribute. They are hugely flavoursome and leave a lasting impression in the mouth so a crisp, acid-driven dry Riesling with floral and citrus notes not only helps to enhance the overall experience but also act as a palate cleanser to freshen the mouth ready for the next oyster. And there is always a ‘next’ oyster!
Howard Park’s Oyster & Riesling Festival takes place in January every year. To find out this year’s date head to our events page.