Treat yourself to these wines with a Summer with a shellfish platter
I can’t think of a greater holiday treat than a fresh shellfish platter at the seaside with the ocean waves murmuring in the background. But as we smash and savour a leisurely haul of Neptune’s bounty, what are the best bottles to bring out the briny flavours of the sea?
At Le Gavroche recently I was served a hearty red with a lobster dish, which paired surprisingly well with the rich accompanying sauce. Michel Roux Jr and his team are still very much occupying the pinnacle of Mount Edible at this iconic restaurant.
But if it’s naked shellfish on the menu, white wines are the way to go. Fizz can be an option and there are some dependable bullseyes that are almost impossible to beat: scallops with Austrian Grüner Veltliner, oysters with Picpoul de Pinet from southern France and dishes lashed with garlic assign splendidly with Provencal rosé or, for a richer kick, chilled Fino or Manzanilla from Spain.
Briny belter Finest Greco Beneventano 2016 (75cl, 13.5%) Tesco As zesty and invigorating as surfing a citrus roller up the coast
Nautical but nice Three Choirs Silver Jubilee 2017 (75cl, 11%) The Wine Society Juicy, sumptuous and memorable as a fruit salad picked by the hand of King Neptune.
Marine marvel Pfaffl Neubern Riesling 2017 (75cl, 13.5%) Lidl Austrian excellence, lime zest with an exotic tint. Delicious.
Ocean’s heaven Fiano Carlomagno 2017 (75cl, 12.5%) Tanners A pineapple lightning strike on a tropical fruit market.
If you’re bathing your feast in mayonnaise and rubbing it into yourself like suntan cream, Chardonnay is the best way to assuage your indulgence – a good value option is Jean Marie Garnier Chardonnay 2017 (12.5%) for £7 in Spar. But beyond the usual suspects, look to Albariño or Godello from Spain. Or better yet, reach deeper into the beautiful realm of Pazo Tizón Ribeiro 2017 (13%) from £12.99 in Majestic, which is a treat of a white wine – peachy rich and textured with imaginary lemony turbo thrusters harnessed to every bottle.
Sauvignon Gris is another lesser known grape that I adore with shellfish – expect a little more texture and richness than with your usual Sauvignon Blanc. Or try a zesty Riesling.
But if it’s a widely available belter you’re after, dive into the white wines of Italy. Served chilled, there are just so many decent grapes – seek out Vermentino, Fiano, Falanghina, Greco and more. And if you’re enjoying your shellfish platter on the shores of the UK, English whites are absolutely magical and my top all-round choice. Bacchus is a grape that works gloriously, or try my wine of the week. It’s probably what Neptune himself drinks on his rare days off.