By: Josh Adler
There’s a few certain things that always remind me that it’s holiday time in Paris. The sunset is around 5 pm, and it gets dark quite early. The same garlands of holiday lights are strung over the streets each year, and our local market takes holiday orders for charcuterie and foie gras to start the festivities and chapons or guinea hens for the traditional roast. Still, the real highlight for both Christmas and New Years in France are the oysters. Big plates of oysters that you can pick up at the local brasserie, special order from the fishmonger, or purchase on a whim at the market.
When it comes to pairings, I don’t venture too far off the beaten track: my first choice is Champagne. To be honest, I like to consider Champagne as an option anytime. A rare bottling feels especially celebratory, and Le Clos des Maladries from Etienne Calsac would be a great start. This tiny vineyard, planted by Etienne’s grandfather in the 1970s behind his home in Avize, produces only a few thousand bottles per year. It’s crystalline, pure Chardonnay that paradoxically tastes both youthful and wise.
Another option is any bright acidic white wine, which can easily carry into the next course of the meal when oysters are just the start. Chablis or Muscadet are obvious choices, but even something like Valentin Morel’s Chardonnay Saint Savin from the Jura could work nicely. It’s got more weight and richness, but this is all balanced out by the vivacity and full-on acidity.
As long as you have enough wine and oysters for everyone, it will all work out just fine.