One of ten champions, Sockeye “spawns” a perfect pairing
SEATTLE: Traditionally, restaurateurs have looked to France for wines like Muscadet and Chablis to accompany oysters on the half shell. There aren’t many wines that work with oysters but when one does…bingo!…it’s a beautiful thing. In a unique wine competition where judges taste each wine with at least one oyster and then rate the “bliss factor”, 25 top food and wine experts have selected 10 West Coast wines for prestigious “Oyster Awards” as the culmination to the month-long 18th Annual Pacific Coast oyster Wine Competition.
The Finals for the popular annual dating service for West Coast wines and oysters took place April 24 in Los Angeles at the WaterGrill, April 25 at Kuletos in San Francisco and April 26 at Anthony’s Homeport at Shilshole Bay in Seattle. Four Washington, three California and three Oregon white wines, including six bright, refreshing Pinot Gris, two crisp Sauvignon Blancs, a dry Chenin Blanc and an elegant Pinot Blanc prevailed over 101 entries.
Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton, WA, sponsor of the Competition, is pleased to congratulate the 2012 “Oyster Award” winners:
Brandborg 2010 Pinot Gris (OR)
**Cedergreen Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (WA)
**Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 Dry Chenin Blanc (CA)
**Foris Vineyard Winery 2010 Pinot Blanc (OR)
**Hogue Cellars 2010 Pinot Grigio (WA)
Kenwood Vineyards 2011 Pinot Gris, Russian River (CA)
**Kenwood Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
Millbrandt Vineyards 2010 Traditions Pinot Gris (WA)
Sockeye 2010 Pinot Gris (WA)
**Van Duzer 2011 Pinot Gris (OR
*Prior Oyster Award winner **Prior Multiple Oyster Award winner
Few wines go with oysters, a vibrant combination of minerals, sweetness and the sea. That is why the Competition identifies a group of West Coast “oyster wines” that restaurants can offer reliably to customers ordering oysters on the half shell, an increasingly popular menu item. The Competition is organized by its founder, Jon Rowley of Jon Rowley & Associates of Seattle. Taylor Shellfish Farms invited California, Oregon and Washington wineries to submit their best “oyster wines”, typically dry, crisp, clean-finishing white wines. Each wine is blind tasted with at least one Kumamoto oyster. The judge first smells and then chews the oyster well, then smells and tastes the wine, then rates the “bliss factor”, the wine’s affinity for the oyster. In the monthlong Preliminary, five veteran judges narrowed the contenders to 30 semi-finalists and then to 20 finalists.
With oysters increasingly popular nationwide, Oyster Award winners enjoy immediate and substantial sales benefits and publicity “Oysters are popular, says Lane Hoss, Vice President of Marketing for Anthony’s Restaurants “That is why we are thankful to have this competition. We wait for the results every year.”
“The search for wines to go with oysters adds to the culture and excitement of oysters”, says Taylor Shellfish Farms’s Bill Taylor. “The acclaim by the wine and restaurant industries as well as the media makes it fun for everyone.”
Taylor Shellfish Farms, based in Shelton, WA is a fifth generation, family-owned company producing manila clams, Mediterranean mussels, geoduck and oysters for national and international markets. For information on Taylor Shellfish Farms visit www.taylorshellfishfarms.com. For further information on the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition go to www.oysterwine.com. PHOTOS AVAILABLE.