Crack open the wine - it's lobster time
July 31st, 2012
11:00 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.

Lately I’ve been thinking about lobster. Partly this is because I spend time every summer in Maine, and partly it's because of all the odd news reports about lobstermen hauling in more and more lobsters of unusual colors - orange, blue, white, calico, one color on one side, one on another, you name it.

Now, I don’t know of any studies yet about the taste of a blue lobster versus a calico one, but I do know that whenever you say “lobster” and “what wine?” people always say “oaky Chardonnay.” To that I say, "Hmm." If you have enough butter slathered on the lobster (shoot, if you have enough butter slathered on your shoe), an oaky wine may taste great. But in general, a white with a lot of new oak aging will overwhelm the flavors of shellfish, even lobster, which is fairly delicate. Here are a few other varieties to consider:

Alsace Riesling
Unlike German Rieslings, which are often relatively sweet, Alsace Rieslings are made in a dry style. They’re vivid and crisp, but full-bodied enough to handle sweeter shellfish like scallops and lobster. Top producers to look for include Hugel, Weinbach, Trimbach and Zind Humbrecht.

Chablis (or other unoaked Chardonnays)
If you’re a Chardonnay lover and dead-set on eating your lobster too, try something from the unoaked side of the spectrum. Chablis is the classic choice, with its bright acidity and chalky minerality; also, a range of California and Oregon wineries are also making terrific unoaked bottlings these days. In Chablis, William Fevre and Christian Moreau are two go-to names. For unoaked Chardonnay from the US, look for Morgan “Metallico,” Chehalem’s “Inox,” Chamisal’s “Stainless” (all the names refer to the stainless steel tanks, rather than oak barrels, in which the wine is aged) and the more straightforwardly named Joel Gott Unoaked.

This Italian white grape is grown in many coastal regions of the country, and is one of the world’s great seafood wines. From Liguria, look for wines from Colle dei Bardelini and Bisson; from Tuscany, those from Antinori’s Guada al Tasso property and Bibi Graetz’s Casamatta bottling; and from Sardinia, Sella & Mosca’s La Cala is a perennial good value, as is Argiolas’ Costamolino.

More from Food & Wine:

America’s Best Bars

Best Wines for Summer

Maine Lobster Festival and More of the World’s Weirdest Food Festivals

Best Steak in the US

Summer Grilling Recipes

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. pc

    Wicked post! Check out: pc

    February 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  2. Gabriele Ott-Richebächer

    German Riesling "relatively sweet"?
    I must have missed something here (in Germany) the last 27 years (being 57 and drinking wine since I am 30)...
    More importantly: eating lobster? Weird pleasure ... if (IF) you think about it.
    At least it should be EXPENSIVE.
    Cheap lobster is like cheap chicken: our humanity and the environemnt pay the bill (yes, VERY German, this, I know).

    August 8, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  3. George

    I 'm surprised no one mentioned the French muscadet from the Loire valley... The classic white wine to have with seafood...

    July 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  4. Carlton

    Surely you forgot the Spanish Albarino. The best pairing ever with shellfish.
    But then again...I am partial.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  5. Voltaire

    It's called Maine lobsters because it is fished in the Gulf of Maine... but actually 90% of the lobster catch is caught off the coast of Nova Scotia.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  6. the machinist

    I prefer beer!

    July 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  7. Bostonbob

    How about Tavel, or another serious rose, with both crispness and depth?

    July 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  8. Jolie

    What a pairing, East Coast snob meat with West Coast overpriced grape juice!

    July 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Benn

      I thought your screen name was Jollie .... then I read your comment. Boy, was I wrong.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Clearly you've been given the short end of the intelligence stick. Now you will drag the rest of the people around you down with your ignorance.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • Forrestal

        Think of it this way, more for the rest of us

        July 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Brenda

      Snob meat? You can get it for about $4 a pound in Maine right now. That's pretty cheap (I know. You were kidding).

      July 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • Forrestal

        Especially, when you can actually think of lobster as a Big Bug.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
      • ggargoyle

        They're basically big waterbugs

        July 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
        • Brenda

          Buttery waterbugs.

          July 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Winning

      What about peasant food strikes you as east coast snob meat? On the east coast and outside of big name restaurants it doesn't cost $50 a pound. Then again, I'm going to guess that anything that doesn't come in a Wendy's wrapper is "snob food" to you.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ken

      Maybe someday you can dress up all fancy-like and treat yourself to a nice Applebee's dinner or unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • scott bleyle

      Lobster used to be poor folk food,only fisherman's kids ate lobster sandwiches and got bullied at school.Now a days surf and turf will feed the rich,every one else can eat cake.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  9. zag

    Love them lobsta $3.99 a pound in market basket this week

    July 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Gezellig

      Wow. A local grocery store here in Knoxville, TN just went UP in price to 16.99/lb. What gives?

      July 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • Brenda

        The Soft shell lobsters don't ship out. You're getting hard shell lobsters which are still relatively expensive, but more like $8 a pound in Maine.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • sbp

      Here on Long Island, $3.99 on sale, $5.99 regular price this summer.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  10. me

    crack open the savings account

    July 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  11. sbp

    I've always preferred Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, in particular) with most shellfish. But I'm not a big fan of summertime lobster. Cheaper, but only because you're paying for a lot of water from the freshly molted softies.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  12. Roblar_Fan

    Roblar Langosta (Sauvingnon Blanc, Semillon)

    July 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  13. Discombobulated in Cleveland

    RON PAUL 2012!!!
    RON PAUL 2016, meh, he'll be in the rest home by then.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  14. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    July 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Aoxomoxoa

      I dare you to say that again.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
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