Wine pairings for Spaghettone alle Ostriche
Oysters are savory in taste and creamy in texture. They are also medium in body, and combined with the olive oil they create a rich sauce. So for starters, look for wines that are medium-bodied. While wines that see toasty, vanilla-accented new oak will not work well with the seawater notes of the oysters, those that see older oak or yeast lees contact (after the fermentation process) will work very nicely. Check with your local specialty store for wines that might fit this wine-making style. Furthermore, oysters are also saline, just like the algae garnish. It sounds a bit cliché, but as I mentioned with a clam recipe a few weeks ago, wines that come from vineyards near oceans often work very well. Additionally, wines made from grapes grown in volcanic soils have their strong mineral tones that blend nicely with the minerally notes of oysters.
In the white wine category, Carricante from Sicily is an excellent option. In Sicily it is grown virtually exclusively on Mount Etna’s sandy volcanic soils, near the Mediterranean. Carricante makes crisp and mineral wines that power through the richer elements of oil and provide a solid core of flesh.
Oysters clash with red wines, but richer rosato wines provide some of the heft of reds without their tannins. Use alcohol percentages as a gauge for a richer style and aim for at least 13%. However, as southern Italy doesn’t lack ripeness, those wines can have lower alcohol and still feel rather rich. Look for wines from Campania and further south as well as from the islands.
Check out our recipe for Spaghettone alle Ostriche.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)