Champagne and Oysters for Valentines’ Day #winePW

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work; along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic. The theme for this month’s Valentine’s Day Wine Pairing Weekend is “It’s All About Romance“…though, I prefer to think of Valentine’s Day as a celebration of Love and Romance.

And I can’t think  of a better analogue for Love and Romance than Champagne and Oysters!

The thing about champagne,you say, unfoiling the cork, unwinding the wire restraint, is that is the ultimate associative object. Every time you open a bottle of champagne, it’s a celebration, so there’s no better way of starting a celebration than opening a bottle of champagne. Every time you sip it, you’re sipping from all those other celebrations. The joy accumulates over time.
― David LevithanThe Lover’s Dictionary

Champagne, of course, is a great way to celebrate anything, anytime. And while I also enjoy other sparkling wines they’re not Champagne, which is the ultimate beverage for celebrating your love!

Champagne represents the bubbly and overflowing love that I have for you!” – Unknown

I enjoy Valentine’s Day.  I look forward to it. Though admittedly, I enjoy it more now that I’m married than when I was single.

I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not” – Coco Chanel

So whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or Singles Awareness Day, make it a celebration with Champagne!

On My Plate

As for the “romance”? It’s oysters for my wife and I !  We both love oysters!

Oysters and Champagne are staples on aphrodisiac inspired menus. That’s because oysters have enjoyed a reputation for being an aphrodisiac that dates back to at least ancient Greeks.

Giacomo Casanova, the 18th-century Venetian, reportedly ate dozens of oysters at a time to stir arousal before his legendary trysts. And some ancient cultures thought oysters resembled female genitalia, leading them to believe they imparted sexual prowess.

Consider the image of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, rising out of the sea from the half-shell.

Certainly, scientific proof directly linking consumption of oysters to sexual arousal remains suspect.

Perhaps the answer is psychological and is explained by the placebo effect (i.e. if one believes something is an aphrodisiac, they can get aroused thinking about it)

Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day…does it really matter? I say the ends justifies the means;-)

Oysters with Gigi's Mignonette
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
My wife's Champagne Mignonette
Ingredients
  • One dozen shucked oysters on the half shell
  • ¼ c Rice wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP Champagne (or sparkling wine)
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped cilantro
  • Few splashes of Tabasco sauce
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, Champagne, shallot, pepper, Tabasco sauce and sugar and let stand 30 minutes. Arrange the oysters on a bed of ice and serve with the mignonette.
Notes
The longer you keep the Mignonette Sauce – up to about a month – the more the flavors develop and the better it tastes

We picked up a dozen Fanny Bay Oysters at our local fish market for our Valentine’s Day starter. They have a sweet and salty character with a slight metallic taste,  and a pronounced cucumber finish.

While I generally prefer a squeeze of lemon and sometime a drop or two of Tabasco on my raw oyster, this easy to make Champagne mignonette that my wife created helps to balance out the salty brininess of the oysters while giving them a kiss of classy!

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 In My Glass

The Franck Bonville Champagne Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru is a grower Champagne that’s located in Avize. They farm about 50 acres of vines in the Grand Cru districts of Cramant, Avize, and Oger. It’s a Blanc de Blanc style made with 100% Chardonnay.  It has  very low dosage of only 2.5 g/L, and  is aged about 5 years on its lees.  My tasting notes follow:

Pale yellow-green color with abundant tiny bubbles and pretty white flower, green apple, brioche, citrus, chalk, and a hint of sweet spice aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied and very dry with a delicate mousse, and a soft, fresh lemony with a bit of lime acidity that’s intermingled with a bit a salinity and with golden apple, pear, and lemon rind flavors. Long finish. At retail of $40, it offers very good QPR for a Champagne with 5 years of aging on the lees! 

The Pairing

Champagne is the can’t-go-wrong choice with oysters. The bubbly effervescence scours the palate and prevents any fishy molecules from taking up permanent residence there, and their  prickly acidity makes you look forward to more food in general.  But not all Champagne (or other sparkling wines) are created equal .  I prefer a drier wine with oysters (think Muscadet, Chablis, or Pouilly Fuisse). The Champagne equivalent is a Brut Nature or Extra Brut which has very little added sugar and is very dry.  A drier wine shows purer flavors for me. Furthermore I prefer a Blanc de Blanc Champagne (100% Chardonnay)  because it tends to be light, and a tart with appley, citrusy character.  This was a fantastic pairing!

Be sure to check out what my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend # 9 bloggers have come up with for our “It’s All About Romance” theme! 

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme “It’s All About Romance” on Saturday, February 14, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m Pacific Time.

You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the March Wine Pairing Weekend, which will be on Saturday, March 14, 2015

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

12 Comments

  1. Perfect pairing and your wife’s mignonete sounds lovely.

  2. What a perfect pairing for Valentine’s Day!

  3. culinarycam says:

    Ahhhh…champagne and oysters are a fantastic, romantic pairing. I’m bummed that I developed an allergy to oysters when we were in New Orleans. Boo.

  4. It all sounds lovely and wonderful. Too good to only have for Valentine’s Day.

  5. Nothing better than oysters on the half shell, fresh mignonette sauce and a bottle of Champagne. Thanks for a new mignonette recipe to try!

  6. Champagne with Oysters, you are a true romantic. Well done sir, well done. The mignotte sauce, perfect. Thank you.

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