A Wine Dinner Starring Oysters & a Rosè

An Aveniu Wine Dinner at Tidewater in North Myrtle Beach

Raimat Rosè paired with James River Oysters on the Half Shell three ways, Lemon Garlic Parmesan, chilled with Mignonette Granite and Rockefeller

Have you ever been to a wine dinner?

My husband, who works in the wine industry, hosts and attends wine dinners and I tag along. (Poor me, I know.)

This week, on the 17th anniversary of my 21st birthday, we enjoyed a fantastic pairing Tidewater’s Chef’s best dishes with Aveniu wines, a fine wine company featuring several fantastic brands like Artesa.

This particular wine dinner starred a trio of oysters on a pretty salt bed accompanied by a refreshing rosé to kick off the evening.

Laurence of Aveniu, our wine host for the evening, made an excellent point about rosè that I think needs to be shared with the world wide web: rosè is a year-round wine that can be paired with just about anything. It tends to appear on menus in the springtime and disappear after Labor Day, which goes against the popular philosophical line of wine thinking, rosè all day. C’mon people. Just because it’s pretty in pink and pairs well with seafood does not mean it should be shelved for the winter: open a rosè in November with the Thanksgiving turkey (or leftovers!) and again in December with a cheese ball and wrapping paper. Let’s start a new hashtag, friends: #RosèAllYear. (Not as catchy since it lacks a rhyme, but the mission statement is clear!)

What pairs with She Crab Soup? Besides five pounds on the scale the next morning, a clean Chardonnay is superb. Chill the Artesa Chardonnay (but not too much… the best temp to serve Chardonnay is 50-60 degrees) and keep in the fridge for rich, creamy seafood dishes like She Crab Soup, grouper piccata or a seafood pasta.

This She Crab Soup, BTW, was divine. I have a suspicion that I don’t want confirmed that the richness and creaminess involved copious amounts of cream. True She Crab Soup connesieurs won’t be disappointed with Tidewater’s version of this Lowcountry favorite.

My favorite pairing of the evening was the shrimp and grits with the Pinot Noir.

It’s natural to pair white wine with all seafood, and most charts and Pinterest infographics will match shrimp with a white wine.

That’s not a hard and fast rule. (Is anything with wine?) And the salty sausage and rich grits along with the seasoned shrimp certainly could have complimented a sparkling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or rosè – but the Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir was a brilliant match that saturated the flavors rather than cutting them. The Pinot Noir was my favorite wine of the evening. I may have had an extra glass.

My husband and I visited the winery on our last trip to Napa and Sonoma. Artesa is located in Napa Valley on top of a mountain, with a funky entrance that looks like it is built into the side of the hilltop (and maybe it is?) with plenty of artwork, one of the best gift shops in Napa or Sonoma (I feel comfortable saying this after visiting a squazillion of them) and one of the prettiest spots for a wine tasting in Wine Country.

We completed the evening with the Septima Obra Malbec and a brisket, and by this point, I was more interested in the conversation than eating any more food. (Even though I did seem to make room for the crazy buttery chewy cake thing topped with ice cream at the end that was to-die-for-delicious.)

The best thing about a wine dinner is sitting with strangers – people that attend wine dinners are usually social and love wine and food. Conversations are always intriguing, and this one was no exception. We talked about the evolution of the pharmaceuticals industry, a fascinating story that included a grandmother who attended Harvard Law (granny girl power!!) and how work travel is not always glam.

Go to a wine dinner

Follow the facebook pages and join the email lists of your favorite local restaurants with great wine lists – most likely they will host a wine dinner. And you should go! They are always fun.

Or just have a wine night in

Oysters + rosè is a killer combo, and fun for a party!

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