This article features in the February 2020 Edition of Welsh Border Life Magazine
To see the recipe this article refers to please click here
Oysters are a classic Valentine meal, as is sharing a bottle of Champagne, so why not combine the two?! Oysters au Gratin are simply a match made in heaven with Beaumont des Crayères Fleur de Prestige Champagne Vintage 2008 which is a sumptuously rich Champagne brimming with toast and brioche character entwined with vibrant apples and preserved lemons. Vintage Champagne is only made during the best years (i.e. the grapes yield an exceptionally high-quality crop which shines through in the wine) with 2008 being highly regarded as one of the best of the best!
A gorgeous alternative to Champagne for this dish is an aged Muscadet, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Château-Thébaud 2013 is an incredibly complex white made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety which is brimming with baked apples and quince enrobed in honey, followed by a lemony lift and streak of minerality. This particular Muscadet has been aged on its lees (the deposited leftovers of grape materials and yeast cells) giving more depth of character.
For Oysters in Garlic Butter the classic match is Chablis. I’ve opted for a firm favourite of mine Chablis Les Valéry, Jean Durup which is a textbook, refreshing Chablis, full of lemons, pears and a baked brioche core alongside a classic steely nature and topped off with a hint of salinity. Chablis is always made from 100% Chardonnay but the majority of winemakers in this region opt to focus on the fresh fruity character of the wine rather than adding oak into the mix.
Another option for this timeless dish is Vermentino such as Vermentino di Sardegna, Melis which comes from the Italian island of Sardinia. This white boasts deliciously crisp green apples, lemon peel and a hint of tropical fruit with a sprinkling of dry herbs and a saline freshness.