By Laura Burgess
You’ve got the crème frâiche, a stack of buckwheat blinis, and a shimmering tin of caviar at the ready. So, what are you drinking? Chilled vodka is conventional wisdom, and we’re not saying it’s wrong, but let us suggest something a little more interesting to accompany the savory, salty, and subtle flavors of caviar.
Caviar is about as pure a taste of the ocean as you can get, so we say lean in: Go with a crisp white that shows some seafaring salinity, like Chablis (the best of which are grown in soils packed with petrified oyster shells), or a light, savory Muscadet. Known as an incomparable seafood wine, Muscadet is located at the extreme western edge of the Loire Valley, and you can taste the Atlantic seaspray in every sip.
Though controversial we are also proponents of Champagne—a nice, vibrant, crisp one—to go along with caviar. That’s because young Champagne brings energy and subtle flavors that play well with über-nuanced caviar. Because the last thing you want to do is overpower your pricey caviar with an overassertive wine (let alone an expensive one).
A good Junmai Ginjo sake is also amazing with caviar. It’s a natural pairing throughout Japan, because the mineral component of the sake combined with the levels of umame interact beautifully with the intricate flavors and kiss of the ocean that caviar brings. Simply delicious and life changing!