Nothing’s a more natural match than Champagne and raw shellfish. But if you’re not in a bubbly mood, or the budget doesn’t permit, there’s a whole range of other white wines that work. Their characteristics: light and crisp on the palate, bone dry with citric and green apple accents, unoaked, savory and moderate in alcohol—think cool climate origins and stony soils. These three are easy to swallow price-wise. Chill them well.
Sincerely Sauvignon Blanc by Neil Ellis, Stellenbosch, 2017
Sauvignon blanc’s lemony notes are an obvious choice with oysters or clams. The outstanding job South Africa does with this grape is still largely an underground secret, but the flavor profile tends to be less tropical and even sharper and drier than Marlborough. Blended with 30 percent semillon to soften rough edges, this is uncompromisingly tart, bright and lingering, with a creamy undertone.
Domaine de la Quilla Muscadet, Loire Valley, 2016
Made from grapes grown on France’s north Atlantic coast, this muscadet has a briny,
saline undertone to enliven the subtle flavors of any seafood. Aged sur lie, this bottle has a bright, edgy, slightly spritzy quality, with bracing lemon-lime flavors.
$10, Cambridge Wine & Spirits
Bodegas La Caña Albariño, Rias Baixas, 2016
If you haven’t gotten on the albariño bandwagon, there’s still time before the wine crosses the $20 mark. Originating on the green, windswept Atlantic just north of Portugal in Galicia, this wine balances a smooth texture with lively mineral accents. It’s mild and floral with notes of cantaloupe and ripe apple.
$19, Reservoir Wines & Spirits
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods. @sandyblockmw