Raise a glass to British oysters with five complementary wines

James Viner looks forward to the native oyster season, which runs from September to April…


Whether wild or farmed, oysters are nutritious and, for many, including me, delectable (à chacun son gout). Each region produces oysters with unique flavours, with some subtly sweeter, saltier, plumper, nuttier, silkier, juicier and more melony than others. I’m not the only fan: there’s a bumper crop of imminent epicurean events dedicated to them, including the Whitstable Rocks Oyster Festival on September 15-17.

But what’s the best drink to pair with these prized, bite-sized, bivalve molluscs – wine, sake or beer? Here, I’ve chosen five shuck-ingly exceptional bottles for wine-loving oyster slurpers. Try these…


  1. M&S Manzanilla Extra Dry Sherry NV, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Sanlúcar, Spain (£9, M&S, marksandspencer.com, 15%)

Here’s what light, intensely tangy, umami-rich, biologically aged Manzanilla sherry is all about – a first-rate example from leading bodegas Williams & Humbert that stimulates the palate with its pulsating iodine freshness and chamomile charm. Sings of the seaside. Oysters, olives, sashimi or tapas anyone? A steal.


  1. 2022 Cave de l’Ormarine, Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France (£9.99, Majestic, majestic.co.uk, 13%)

Made from Piquepoul blanc grapes grown in low-lying vineyards by the Mediterranean, this green-gold, thirst-quenching, lemon zest-zingy, sea breeze-scented Picpoul de Pinet (one of just a handful of varietally named French AOC wines) is a really smart and tasty option for oysters and other bivalves (bonjour, mussels). The distinctive slender bottle has an embossed Languedoc cross. Santé!


  1. 2018 Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur Lie, Comte Leloup du Château de Chasseloir, Cuvée des Ceps Centenaires, Chéreau-Carré, Pays Nantais, Loire, France (£10.95, The Wine Society, thewinesociety.com, 12.5%)

Nab this perky, zesty Muscadet, which is made from a patch of 100-year-old Melon de Bourgogne grapes and aged on its yeasty lees. Think subtle sea shells, pithy citrus and green pear fruit, with a soupçon of yeasty pizzazz. Ageing wonderfully, it’s tailor-made for oysters and moules marinières.


  1. 2022 Adega dos Eidos, Eidos de Padriñán Albariño, Galicia, Spain (£16.95, Lea & Sandeman, leaandsandeman.co.uk, 13%)

This sea breezy, floral, saline, seafood-friendly wine is made from Albariño grapes grown on granitic slopes in Padriñán parish, overlooking Sanxenxo, one of the most popular resorts in rainy Rías Baixas, on the southwestern coast of Galicia in northwest Spain. Driven by minerally/citrusy acidity, it’s irresistibly moreish and tastes of briny oyster shells and stone/citrus fruit. Stylish and impeccable to pair with oysters. Lovely Galician drinking.


  1. Co-op Les Pionniers NV Brut Champagne, France (£21.50, Co-op, coop.co.uk, 12%)

This dry champagne by Piper-Heidsieck, produced for the Co-op, offers the best value on the high street with its complex toasty brioche, orchard fruit and bready flavours. Oyster fans will enjoy its lacy, cleansing acidity. Fantastic value.


Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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