“What wine goes best with lobster?” I have been asked this question many times over the years. While the answer depends in part on how the lobster is cooked and in what manner it is served, certain wines will always perform better than others when paired with America’s favorite crustacean.
Lobster has a delicate flavor and should be matched with a wine which compliments and accentuates its sweet, succulent nature. Most red wines do not go well with lobster because the tannins in red wine do not react well with the iodine found in lobster (the one exeception possibly is Lobster Fra Diabolo which is sometimes served with red). White wines, especially those with more mineral and vegetable notes, work better than fruit-oriented wines.
Chardonnay and Lobster
Chardonnay, with its delicious vanilla notes, is an excellent choice to serve with lobster. Just be sure to choose varieties with more mineral and only light touches of fruit and oak. Chardonnay has been the wine of choice to pair with lobster dishes at many significant White House dinners. For example:
– The 2001 Inauguration luncheon featured lobster pie in a bechamel sauce with a puff pastry crust. This dish was served with a ’98 Sonoma Cutrer Les Pierres Chardonnay.
– The 2011 State Dinner in honor of President Hu Jintao featured poached Maine Lobster, which was paired with a 2008 Russian River Chardonnay.
– The 2011 State Dinner for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth included Lobster Ravioli which was served with Kistler Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay (2006).
If it’s fit for The Queen, I’m happy to crack open a bottle along with my lobster dinner.
The Cave Man Blog, which offers excellent guidance on pairing wines with lobster, recommends serving boiled lobster (dipped in butter, of course) with an unoaked Chardonnay and grilled lobster with an oaked Chardonnay. The blog specifically recommends the following:
– Chardonnay 2004, Diamond Collection, Francis Coppola
– Chardonnay 2004, Alamos Ridge Argentine
– Sicilia 2004, Chardonnay, Planeta
Viognier and White Burgundy with Lobster
Beyond Chardonnay, Viognier and White Burgundy – I am a big fan of both these wine varieties – are great matches for lobster, especially rich, cream-based lobster dishes. The lush, soft character of these wines will accentuate the richness of the meal.
Sauvignon Blanc and Lobster
Dry crisp white wines can also go well with lobster. Sauvignon Blanc in particular is often served with lobster dishes. For example:
– President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration Lunch featured a seafood stew with Maine lobster which was paired with a Duckhorn Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc.
– At the 2005 Inauguration Lunch, scalloped crab and lobster was served for the first course. A Windsor Vineyards 2004 Sauvignon Blanc complimented the dish.
The Cave Man Blog recommends serving Sauvignon Blanc with a chilled lobster salad.
Rosé and Lobster
While some may not agree, I am also a fan of serving lobster with a French rosé. Lobster and rosé both capture the essence of summer and combining them can mentally transport me from rainy London to the sunny South of France or the rocky shores of Maine. While currently not accessible in The States, I am in love with a Provençal rosé from Domaine Sainte Lucie (MIP Premium Rose) which goes wonderfully with Lobster Bouillabaisse.
Champagne and Lobster
And let’s not forget about champagne! I have previously written about which champagnes go best with lobster. To summarize here:
– Blanc de Blanc champagne tends to go well with cream and spice-perfumed dishes, such as lobster newburg, lobster ravioli and lobster fettuccine alfredo.
– Rose champagne is great for a lobster bake (aka clam bake) or summer BBQ.
– Non Vintage champagnes go well with nutty and cheesy lobster dishes such as lobster macaroni and cheese or a lobster grilled cheese sandwich.
This is not the last you will here from me on pairing wine with lobster…but the twins are up from their nap and my computer battery is running low…so happy eating and drinking until then!
Update – for my most recent article on pairing wine with lobster dishes, click here.