Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Friday, July 10, 2009

The World Is My Oyster

Living in Washington state, we are so fortunate to have such an abundance of fresh seafood, especially oysters. Once again the Taylor Shellfish Company announced the results of its annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Awards and, guess what, five out of ten wines were from Washington
and roughly two thirds of the judges were from California, San Francisco and L. A. to be specific. One hundred thirty-two wines were submitted, so one out of thirteen winners is not a bad ratio. The Taylor Shellfish Company itself is a winner with it's Totten Oysters and Kumomotos. The poor judges had to suffer only having Kumomotos to taste with the wine. Here are the 2009 Washington State winners.

2008 Airfield Estates Thunderbolt Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Cedargreen Sauvignon Blanc

2008 Ch. Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris

2007 Covey Run Pinot Grigio

2008 Hogue Pinot Grigio

What is an oyster wine? It seems that dry crisp, tart whites go best with the briny little bundles of flavor. That's probably why even California judges preferred the Washington State wines. With longer days, and less sunshine, it is easier to produce dry, crisp wines in Washington than in the sunshine state. We are talking here about raw oysters, an acquired taste for many of us, but worth acquiring. I think that a wider variety of white wines go with cooked oysters such as Oysters Rockefeller. Red wines with oysters seem to yield an unpleasant metallic taste. The good thing is both the Ch. Ste. Michelle and the Hogue wines are widely distributed around the U.S. and may even be available overseas. The bad thing is that they are not dry enough for my taste. Just to show that I am not a chauvinist, my favorite oyster wines come from France, Italy and Spain. Muscadet and Entre-Deux-Mers are my faves from from France. They are Sauvignon based and generally of good quality. Wines made from the Albarino grape in northwest Spain are also perfect with oysters, and the "real" original Pinot Griglio from Italy works well, too. The widely distributed Bella Serra Pinot Grigio is searingly dry for those who want something to rough up that oyster. BTW, as most of you know, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are that same grape, although I think I've noticed that wines named Pinot Gris are less dry. As always you can drink anything you like with oysters. Buty or Amaurice Chardonnay are not bad with Kumomotos, for example. My favorite oysters, apart from Kumomotos, are our local Quilcenes, pleasure in a shell.

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