The global-spanning wine list at Etch—an essential New American fine dining haunt in Nashville, Tennessee— is under control of Mark Kremper, the restaurant's sommelier. In designing Etch's wine program, Kremper's strategy was to pull bottles from various continents in effort to complement chef Deb Paquette’s worldly bill of fare. Think tortilla-crusted catfish, pork belly with kimchi, pomegranate grilled lamb and more. Below, Kremper switches gears to consider summer seafood and the appropriate wines to drink alongside.
Q: Straight up, what is the best wine to pair with a lobster roll? And maybe some clams and other summer seafood?
Kremper: Easy! I had all of those things last night in seafood tower form. We drank an incredible Pouilly-Fumé Sauvignon Blanc by wine maker Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau ($63), son of the late Didier Dagueneau. The minerality from this region of the Loire Valley is incredible, and this wine in particular has impeccable structure, fruit, and acidity that pair perfectly with any seafood dish! This particular bottle will run you upwards of $50.
But, you don't need to spend that much to satisfy your seafood and wine desires. The important thing to keep in mind is acidity. The general rule is that the acidity in the wine has to be greater than the acidity in the dish, otherwise the wine will taste watered down (I stray away from the term flabby in polite company).
The general rule is the acidity in the wine has to be greater than the acidity in the dish otherwise the wine will taste watered down
Take into consideration your sauces, too. If you are going to be enjoying your Beausoleil oysters on the half shell with horseradish, I'd recommend something with acidity and a touch of residual sugar like Robert Weil Kabinett Riesling from the Rheingau in Germany ($25), which will cool your palate in the most poetic wine and food pairing way!
At Etch, we usually have a "From the Sea" special that changes every day. With Etch chef Deb Paquette’s bold and unique choice of flavors in her sauces and accompaniments, each dish has to have the perfect wine. I usually gravitate towards old world wines with their affinity to minerality and mouth-watering acidity. For our cobia dish—which has Moroccan spices, feta, olives, Marcona almonds, and a beignet that absorbs all of the brown butter orange sauce (mouth watering now...)—I have to consider all the richness, spicy, and savory notes. Andrieux and Fils' Cotes du Rhone Blanc ($14) is my go-to for this dish. It's fuller in body to match the firmness of the cobia, but rich with fruity and floral notes (fresh pear, peaches and honeysuckle). It works beautifully.
My last piece of advice with a lobster roll specifically would be one of my current favorite whites from Austria, Grüner Veltliner by Schloss Gobelsburg ($15). Gorgeous texture, slightly effervescent, totally delicious! The perfect white with the best seafood summer has to offer.