The theory behind oyster and wine pairing

Ever wondered how top tier restaurants always know the best wines to pair with their oysters? Head Sommelier at 6HEAD, Alberto Libanoro has given us a sneak peak behind the theory of finding the perfect pair!

To start with, there are two general theories behind pairing food and wine.

The first one, is Same with Same which means same body with same body, same flavour profile with same flavour profile and so on.

The second one is, go opposite. For example: full and bold flavour food with light and high acid wine. This is very tricky and complex and needs to be left to the professionals.

Going back to our Appellation Oysters, let’s start with the 5 Pit Stops of flavour in an Oyster, which are Brine, Creaminess, Sweetness, Mineralisation and Umami. Each of these are divided in three level of intensity: Low, Medium, High. These flavours and textures are determined by the unique environmental attributes of the marine ecosystem in which the oyster is cultivated. 

Brine taste like: sea spray, olives, fresh asparagus

Creaminess taste like: egg mayonnaise, clotted cream, cultured butter

Sweetness taste like: cucumber, rock melon, watermelon, green apple

Mineralisation taste like: flint, stone, iodine, zinc, granite, copper

Umami taste like: nori, seagrass, broth, mushroom, earthy

Wine on the other end is divided in flavour profile and structure. The flavours are broadly grouped in fruits, non-fruits which can be divided in creamy, buttery, yeasty notes or vegetables and floral notes, minerality and oak. The structure is made of acidity, alcohol, length and complexity which are also divided in level of intensity: Low, Medium, High.

Continuing on from what we mentioned above we can easily associate then Brine with Minerality, Creaminess with Non-fruits and Complexity, Sweetness with Fruits, Mineralisation with Minerality and Acidity, Umami with Non-fruits and Complexity.

Know someone who loves oysters? Treat them to a gourmet dining experience at 6HEAD, Sydney with a Gourmet Traveller Gift Card available here.

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