In early June, I had the pleasure of hosting an oyster tasting for the Bleu Duck Kitchen Retreat in West Point, Maine in partnership with the Maine Oyster Company. I referred to this experience as the 3-3-3 Oyster Tasting: three Maine oyster varieties, three mignonettes, and three drink pairings. We explore tasting profiles, estuary topography, and complimentary flavors with increasing complexity. I loved this adventurous group who gave me full authority to rock their tastebuds!
These are refreshing, lesser-known bottles that elevate seafood, especially during warmer days when chilled, effervescent options reign supreme. Please give them all a try with your next dozen!
1) Les Boucauds | Sancerre. Winemaker: Stephane Riffault. This bottle is everything you want out of a Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley. Les Boucads is a 30-acre operation in Sancerre, grown in terre blanches, and certified organic. It’s dry with great minerality, holds fruit and honey notes, and provides a balanced acidity. When in doubt on oyster pairings: Sancerre. It’s a winner every time. (A marvelous book on oysters and French wines is Paris Oyster by Mireille Guiliano)
2) Betula | Fable Farms. Winemakers: John and Christopher Piana. This is a tad more adventurous! It’s a cider wine, made in the alpine hills of Vermont’s Upper Valley. It’s a fermentation of local birch sap, foraged sumac berries, and local raw honey. Betula is very dry, effervescent, and has a bold, zesty bite. Tapping Birch trees is newer to the US but Birch sap has historically been served as a healthy tonic, most notably in Denmark.
3) Seaside Sake | Fukucho. Brewmaster: Toji Miho Imada. I can’t take credit for finding this one. It was a Koji Club (Boston) recommendation and I got hooked! This sparkling wonder offers smooth, lemon/citrus flavors and is very dry. It is a Junmai (no added alcohols to the fermentation), the rice is Hattanso (grown in Japan) and it undergoes two fermentations; the second in the bottle. It is a stunning oyster companion and new personal favorite.