Love lobster? Love wine? A lobster wine pairing is like a match made in culinary heaven.
There are so many different types of wine it can be hard to know which one is best for pairing with lobster, especially given the variety of ways you can cook and serve lobster. Do you go with white or red? Dry or sweet? Sparkling or still?
I’ve teamed up with LobsterAnywhere in Maine to share what makes the perfect lobster wine pairings. Whether you’re looking for a light white wine to enjoy on a hot summer lobster boil or a romantic red wine to pair with your Valentine’s Day dinner, we’ve got you covered.
The Best Wine with Lobster Pairings
When you think of pairing wine with food, what comes to mind? Probably something like red meat with red wine or chicken with white wine. But what about lobster? Lobster is a surprisingly versatile seafood to match with wine, as it goes with everything from light, acidic drops to heavier wines with some oak.
The most important thing to remember when pairing wine with lobster is to think about the flavors of both foods. Wine and lobster both have intense, distinct flavors, so it’s essential to find a wine that will compliment them rather than overpower them.
White Wine with Lobster
Acidity is key in pairing wine with lobster. Think about how great a squeeze of lemon is on fish – a light, crisp wine with great acidity can do the same thing. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio can be great in this regard, but so can Riesling and Chardonnay.
Riesling: This misunderstood grape is known for its great acidity, and can range from sweet to very dry. A dry Riesling – one from Alsace in France or the Eden Valley in Australia – is a great choice with lobster.
Sauvignon Blanc: Dry and crisp, a Sauvignon Blanc is perfect in the summer alongside a lobster dinner.
Chardonnay: There is no grape variety as versatile as Chardonnay. It ranges from light to full-bodied – which means there is always a style of Chardonnay to suit any lobster dish, from lobster tail to lobster claws, and even lobster bisque.
Pinot Grigio: The lightest of these four wines goes well with lobster and just about any other seafood you can think of, including crab, oysters, scallops and most shellfish. It is less herbaceous than Sauvignon Blanc, but still has that great citrus component that works so well with fish.
As with all dishes, the pairing depends not only on the seafood, but also on the flavors (and the sides) that the seafood is served with. The rule of thumb still applies here – Buttered Lobster, cooked in the shell, smothered in butter and served over buttery polenta, will pair excellently with a big, buttery Chardonnay from California or Australia.
In contrast, lobster in a lighter sauce (or better yet, simply straight from the shell) needs a light, firm and slightly crisp wine to balance out the flavors. A fresh, light Sauvignon Blanc or a dry, fresh Pinot Grigio would be a perfect match.
Red Wine with Lobster
Lobster is traditionally a white wine pairing. When paired with red wines, the saltiness in the lobster can draw out the bitterness of the red, while the tannin in the wine will bring out the salty iodine notes in the lobster. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t – or shouldn’t – pair red wine with lobster. Think about how the lobster will be prepared. BBQ? Red tomato sauce?
The rule of thumb for pairing red wine with lobster is to avoid tannic or overlay oaked wines. Lighter bodied red wines will pair nicely with lobster.
Pinot Noir: This light red wine can pair perfectly with lobster as its fruity flavors will complement the lobster, while its acidity will help cut through its richness.
Gamay: The higher acidity and light tannin in Gamay will be delicious with lobster.
Sangiovese: Its high acid, medium tannins and earthy aromas will work well with a lobster wine pairing.
Chianti or Barbera: Both are typically unoaked red wines and pair great with a lobster and tomato sauce based dish.
Where to Buy Lobster
Unless you’re near the East Coast, getting lobster isn’t always easy. Especially for us landlocked folks in Colorado. Our friends over at LobsterAnywhere ship fresh lobster throughout the United States so problem solved. You can enjoy fresh lobster and wine pairings no matter where you are. Cheers!
Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.