Best buys may be found at any price level. While many, if not most, will be around $15-20, the recommendations are for any wines that represent good value in their category or price range.
1 to 4 stars, as follows ( + indicates better than...but not quite worth another * ):
*good (above average) wbow: a Wine Buy of the Week selection
**very good (also good value in its category)
”It was a brave man who first ate an oyster.” I felt a little brave myself when the first raw oyster slipped its pearlescent shell and slid into my mouth. Having grown up in the inland mid-south, my shellfish experience was, well….fried. This plump little mollusc was a revelation—fresh, zesty, chewy, briny, cold. But exhilarating. And I had just the right wine to complement it: a Chablis premier cru (Fourchaume, I think), clean and brisk, with a marked salinity and mineral spine, an axis that supported the subtle splay of flavors I had never before experienced.
I've tried many wines with fresh oysters; many will work--sauvignon blanc, dry chenin blanc, Gavi, Champagne, but to me the ultimate match is Chablis, specifically a premier cru, which has that extra dimention of character and flavor that complements the unique tang of fresh-shucked oysters, such as the 2018 Ventoura Fourchaume I recently enjoyed.
Raw oysters are best in cold months, those that end in “r’—November through March and into April if it doesn’t get too warm. That’s because in warm weather oysters are somewhat watery and thin following their reproductive cycle--less notable in cooked or fried oysters. Here some recommendations:
Ventoura Chablis 1ercru 'Fourchaume' 2018
Domaine du Colombier Chablis 2019
Gavi 2019 La Scolca -- this bright, crisp minerally white from the Italy's Piemonte also works well.
Henri Perrusset 2019 Mâcon-Villages -- Macon's limestone soil makes this good with oysters, though not quite the scintillating verve of fine Chablis
Wine Buy(s) of the Week
Tiefenbrunner 2020 Pinot Grigio Alto Adige $15**+ Consistently one of Italy's best Grigios, with bright, crisp fruit and piquant flavors; excellent with fish and shellfish, seafood pastas and a delightful aperitif.
Borgo Dolcetto d'Asti 2020 Piemonte $14-16**+ Sometimes called "the Beaujolais of Italy" Dolcetto's dark berry-rich flavors make it versatile with a great many foods, from pizzas to roast chicken to meaty pastas. Lively and appealing.
Thunevin-Calvet "Cuvée Constance" 2018 Côtes de Rousillon $13-15** This lively Rhône blend is a charming red for lighter grilled meats (chicken, pork chops, burgers).
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