Muscadet in Tomales Bay

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It’s always fun for me to try new wines, especially after hearing about this, or that wine pairing well with food I enjoy!

Such was the case with Muscadet (pronounced mew-skuh-Day), a French wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. The wine originates from the Loire Valley in France, more specifically the Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine appellation, which is on the western most part of the Loire bordering the Atlantic.  Curiously, Muscadet is the name of the wine, rather the name of a place, which is typical in France.

I’ve read that Muscadet was excellent with shellfish, and specifically with oysters, which I love, so I picked up a bottle of 2009 Michel Delhommeau Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Cuvee Harmonie (89 pts – $13), but the wine has been sitting in my refrigerator since August 2010!, awaiting the right opportunity.  The opportunity arose recently when we took a road trip to Tomales Bay near Point Reyes for a picnic.  We went to Tomales Bay Oyster Company.  It was a gorgeous day, and we quickly found a prime spot near the edge of the Bay, and bought oysters, mussels, and clams.  Additionally, we brought along marinated baby-back ribs and corn on the cob to grill, and potato salad.  In addition to the Muscadet, we brought along a sparkling wine; NV Mumm Prestige Cuvee Sparkling Wine, and a Rosé; 2009 Silver Mountain Rose of Pinot Noir.

We ended up buying 100 oysters for seven of us!  The vast majority of the oysters were consumed raw.  The mussels, and claims were grilled.  As advertised, the Muscadet paired with mollusks exceptionally well, with the citrusy and minerally flavors of the wine, playing off the brininess of the mollusks, brightening and enlivening their flavors (especially the raw oysters), and vice-versa.   It didn’t seem to matter much whether the raw oysters were consumed naked, or dressed with the typical Tabasco/lemon juice or the mignonette sauce of rice vinegar, cilantro, Vidalia onions my wife prepared.  I also tried the oysters with the Mumm sparkler, because oysters and sparkling wine is also a good pairing.   I enjoyed that pairing as well, though not quite as much.  As for the Rosé, that also worked with the oysters and was the wine of choice with the BBQ ribs, and potato salad.

It was a fun day with family, friends,  wine, and food that brought to mind one of my favorite quotations…

“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.”— Michael Broadbent

And trying a new wine that I really enjoyed was part of a memorable afternoon.  I will be buying more Muscadet to keep on hand for our next oyster orgy!  If you’re a fan of mollusks, and seafood, it’s a nice change of pace from Sauvignon Blanc.  Give it try!

What’s your favorite wine to pair with raw oysters? Leave a comment and let me know….


  1. Tony Valteau says:

    good read Martin. we were just at hog island up the road. we’ll have to chat on oyster pairings at the next tasting.

    1. Hi Tony,
      Thanks. I look forward to comparing notes on Hog Island and TBOC, and what wine(s) you enjoyed with your oysters….

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