Wined & Dined: Oyster Extravaganza
An alternate (and very accurate) title for this post was “Wined and Dined: Avoid Slitting your wrists,” which accurately sums up the perils I faced while attempting to shuck 6 varieties of oysters with a flimsy knife in my mother’s kitchen last weekend.
I’d bribed my way into this rookie shucking session with an $8.99 bottle of Muscadet Sevre et Mains, the vinous soulmate of oysters everywhere. Clueless regarding oysters in general and without knives, I did what I always do when I’m uncertain in the kitchen: I asked my mom for help.
Throughout, I kept a strong grip on the knife, and a stronger one on my Muscadet–if I was going to bleed out on her white tile floor, I at least wanted to be drinking.
In essence, Muscadet is the perfect oyster wine. It’s light, happy, and citrusy without being in your face. This gentle aspect makes the ancient Loir Valley (read: French) varietal a soulmate for fresh, raw seafood. Domaine de la Pinardière Muscadet Sevre et Main had great mineral notes, and subtle herbal and floral aromas (Think: cool water from a rocky stream bed, with a big twist of lemon–DELISH).
The ‘Sevre et Mains’ region makes about 80% of the Muscadet on the market, so it’s easy to find and the Domaine de La Pinardière I snatched up did a great job quenching my thirst/reducing death-by-oyster-knife anxiety/and cleansing the palate after each briny gulp of fresh New England oyster flesh.
As far as the select-shuck-style-slurp process that accompanies buying your own oysters, I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Muscadet Oyster Madness Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Taking Muscadet outside the traditional raw seafood role and pairing it with rosemary roasted chicken, light pasta dishes, and soups.
Little Island and Cotuit Oysters–both New England varieties are meaty and sweet, with an intense Ocean-y brine finish.
Fun Facts: The largest pearl-bearing oyster is the marine Pinctada maxima, which is roughly the size of a dinner plate.
More Muscadet is produced than any other Loire wine.
Melon de Bourgogne is the grape variety used to produce Muscadet.
How to Pick ‘Em: Look for oysters that aren’t open around the seams. Check by tapping two oysters together, a hollow sound shows that one is open (read: the oyster itself is dead), and not fit to eat.