Wines on the half-shell
July 23rd, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

New York City is a sweat-slick, hideously hot, concrete-covered steambath right now, something that actually doesn’t make me think of wine so much as igloos. So maybe it’s the idea of summer - cool breezes off the water, sunlight on white sand, nothing to do but lounge around - that always gets me thinking about shellfish.

Lobster rolls, crab rolls, shrimp on the grill, a big bowl of mussels in some sort of white wine sauce with a little garlic and parsley, scallop ceviche with cilantro and a zap of lime juice ... anyway, you get the idea.

Here are five suggestions for great summer whites to go with all those tasty, shell-covered denizens of the sea.

2010 Aveleda Vinho Verde Casal Garcia ($8)
Vinho Verde really ought to be described with comic-book words: ZAP! POW! KA-ZING! It’s thrillingly tart, with a happy touch of fizz and a kind of cracked-oyster-shell mineral note that makes it incredibly refreshing. Casal Garcia is a classic: Chill the heck out of it, then serve with something messy like shell-on cold boiled shrimp.

2010 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling ($9)
Washington’s Chateau Ste Michelle makes more Riesling than anyone else in the world - close to a million cases a year. Most of that is off-dry (lightly sweet), but I prefer the winery’s crisp, peachy, dry bottling. It’s a great crab wine - cracked crab, crab rolls, crab salad, crab-on-a-stick, you name it.

2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc ($9)
Chile tends to be known for inexpensive reds, but the real secret is the country’s terrific Sauvignon Blancs. The cold winds off the Pacific give Sauvignon Blancs like this one a finely-tuned citrus zestiness, perfect for ceviche (something else they do extremely well in Chile).

2010 Domaine Lafage Cote d’Est ($10)
This floral southern French white tastes like it costs twice the price. It’s sealed with a screw cap, handy for picnics when you realize you forgot the corkscrew. It’s also cheap enough that you could use half the bottle for steaming mussels, and still have two glasses left to drink.

2010 Salneval Albariño ($12)
Minerally Albariños like this one are the mainstay of Spain’s Rias Baixas region. The other big industry there? Fishing, and shellfish farming - the locals raise mussels, oysters and scallops on long ropes that stretch down into the water from eucalyptus-wood platforms called bateas.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Wine

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Coastal Coaster

    What would Lindsay Lohan say?

    July 25, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Lilo PR Dept.

      I ain't got money for one of those high falutin' cheese sandwiches. I'll stick to my anorexia, thanks.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  2. Noxious Sunshine

    Good question, considering their shells are fully intact... I say its just because the line fits in w the song...

    I have a cookbook that actually suggests some beer pairings instead of wine..

    If I'm eating out, I generally prefer beer over anythig else. At home, it depends on my mood & what I'm having a taste for. I love yellow tail's pinot, though..

    July 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  3. mike

    Why are the ninja turtles called, "heroes in a half shell"?

    July 24, 2011 at 3:01 am |
  4. Brandon

    All Christians should be outraged at this sinful article. Leviticus clearly states shellfish is an abomination. Go to for proof.

    July 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • oldguy

      why don't you go to hell and bring us back the proof?

      July 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Diamond Dave

      So, all the people that you think that should be outraged at this notion of eating something from the sea or a non proper food is outrage? Is that what you story telling book says? Get real man, it is all made up. a non-sense story and something passed down so that the weak followers have something to believe in. Just an age old embellished story.No hell, no nothing.

      July 24, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Thia

      Umm...didn't you already post under another username? Jews don't eat shellfish (if they are keeping kosher). Not eating shellfish has never been part of a Christian tradition. Maybe you should learn about religion before you start spewing your hate.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  5. God


    July 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  6. Paul

    Wine does not go nearly as well with shellfish as a good appropriate beer does. Why do some people think that you have to drink wine with every good meal? Beer is much more diverse and compliments more types of food than wine.

    July 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • habberdash

      I love beer, but I have to disagree with you. Unless we're talking about hot dogs or nachos, there's always a wine out there that will better compliment a meal than beer.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  7. ae

    What about Inman Family Wines! The Inman Family pinot gris goes amazing with oysters and other seafood. Also it's really affordable. I think you can buy it here.

    July 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  8. Blue Point


    July 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  9. Observer

    Where are all the Christian h0m0phobes who trash the abomination of h0m0s-xuality? Shellfish is an "abomination" to them. Where are they?

    July 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • NomBacon

      Which wine goes best with abomination?

      July 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
      • waylaid88

        White Sinfandel

        July 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
      • Thia


        July 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Thia

      Christians eat shellfish. It's the jews that don't. Maybe you should get your religions understood before you start with the hate.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • O RLY

      What Thia said. How about you wiki before you write.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:49 am |
      • Google@O RLY

        Great advice. There's nothing like the internet for finding authentic & accurate information on all subjects. Wikipedia is da bomb.

        July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am |
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