Friday, November 7, 2014

October 2014              OYSTER HEAVEN

Our final Foodie Seminar for 2014 was a great consumption and success!

I started out the morning with a coffee "to go" for the drive to the coast. A beautiful Fall morning with the sun shining and oysters in my future. I was not alone at the entrance of Hog Island that day. The few of us with BIG oyster plans were anxiously awaiting our Oyster alotments, coolers ready filled with ice. Mat G. thriftly shucked a few samples and just like that, instant gratification. What a way to start this fun day!

We had a chef assist for the evening of six different oyster preparations. A lot of shucking experience is needed with this line up. And so it began...

1. Raw Oysters on the half shell with raspberry mignonette
2. Oyster Stew
3. BBQ Oysters ( Hog Islands recipe )
4. Oysters Rockafeller
5. Flash fried oysters with sriracha aioli
6. Oyster pattie ( similar to Vol au Vent )

We were all in good company, knowing that anything oyster was game. No questions, no holds, no dietary concerns. Shuck'em, suck'em, eat them hole was the motto.

We focused on 4 wines for the evening of pairings: 2013 Rose' of Pinot, 2011 Chardonnay, 2013 Valdiguie and 2011 TNT Pinot Noir.

The pairing winners were as follows:

1. Raw with Rasp mignonette - 60% Rose',  due to the Mignonette, Chardonnay was #2 pick
2. Stew - 75% liked the Valdiguie best, 25% Chardonnay - No on the Rose'
3. BBQ Oysters = 98% Pinot Noir, one person voted for Chardonnay and one also for Valdiguie
4. Rockefeller - Now this pairing was very pleasant with each wine. We had a 33% tie for each    
          Chardonnay, Valdiguie and Pinot Noir
5. Fried Oyster was favored 50 / 50 between Valdiguie and Pinot Noir
6. Oyster Pattie : once again great pairing with each of the Chardonnay, Valdiguie and Pinot.


We rarely have multiple ties but, this evening was a real surprise to many. The Valdiguie won or tied with Pinot Noir on 4  different courses. I consistently expect to see Pinot lead in many cases and this evening was a different experience. The one course of BBQ oysters was the obvious Pinot pairing winner, expected but the rockefeller could have won and didn't. If you are not familiar with the Valdiguie grape, it is no surprise. With less the 1% of  this grape planted in Sonoma County, very few Wineries produce it. We have been bottling this fun varietal for 10 years and spreading the word.

The consensus for this fine oyster filled evening was that, if you love Oysters, you love them prepared any style.

What we learn from these fun and interactive evenings is that one needs to try different wines and think outside the box. With many years of pairing experience, it never ceases to thrill me to discover new flavors and pairings.  Mat and are always happy to share our love of Food and Wine. It is an endless good thing!