This weekend I was put to the test while bantering with some folks about wine/food pairing. The query? Rocky Mountain Oysters. At first all I heard was what to pair with oysters. Then I played back the moment and realized there was more to it - and, in fact, this was a new one on me. Once I found out what they were, well, being a lady from urban parts, I was stumped. That said, I was humored by the cajones (pun intended) the fellow had to ask this particular question; I did a little quick recipe searching to see what kind of preparation is common when serving these rare appetizers. If you are like me and haven't had the chance to taste these wholesome nuggets, Rocky Mountain Oysters reportedly don't have any distinct flavor on their own. At best, they can be likened to liver. I wasn't surprised to see they also fall under the "chewy" category; perhaps combined with the fact that they are considered a delicacy, this is where they get their "oyster" name association? These little gems are most often seasoned, breaded, deep fried and served piping hot with all kinds of fun dipping sauces.
Why is this helpful to know? When it comes to food/wine pairing it is never a bad idea to consider: a) how the item will be prepared (e.g. grilled, steamed, fried); b) what dressing/marinade/seasoning is involved and/or c) what will accompany the dish, as side dishes are sometimes a good place to focus particularly when less distinct proteins like chicken, fish or even turkey are on offer. These other culinary 'features', if you will, impact the weight, richness and/or fruitiness/earthiness of the dish and help guide which beverage might be the best option. For example, baked cod seasoned with olive oil, garlic and pepper is much different than cod deep fried in beer batter (aka fish and chips).
Back to our delicacy item in question then, when dealing with a fried food, a great pairing is almost always answered by something bubbly - whether that's a cold brew, or a dry sparkling wine like Champagne or Prosecco. You could also opt for something high in acid and lighter bodied, like Sauvignon Blanc. Or, if wine is in fact your preference, do both! Pick up a bottle of the La Tosa Valnure, a dry, frizzante (slightly sparkingly) Italian white wine made from Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes. The lighter style of these white wines and the crispness offered by the additional acidity that defines them allows your palate to 'regroup' and get ready for another rich bite of fried, goodness.
Have you ever had the chance to savor a Rocky Mountain Oyster? What was your beverage of choice?