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Feb 14, 2008 01:52 PM

A red with lobster?

We want to drink a great red from our cellar tonight to go with our surf and turf (lobster and filet). We have most varietals available.

Are there any good lobster pairings with red wine instead of white?


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  1. with plain lobster, not so much. Rose or Rose champagne (preferably with high chardonnay content) is about the best...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chicago Mike

      No reds work with lobster. You risk killing the delicate flavor of the lobster by serving it with a red, and I think there's something in the Geneva Convention that prohibits that.

      Agreed on the Rose Champagne, but I wouldn't worry about Chardonnay proportions. Just open two bottles, the Rose Champagne for the lobster and a red for the filet. After you've drunk your fill tonight, gas them or seal them and drink the rest tomorrow or over the weekend.
      Happy Valentines Day!

      P.S. Rose Champagne does everything you want on Valentines Day.

    2. I cannot think of a single red that would do a lobster justice, be it steamed, boiled, or even grilled.

      I agree with the others -- a Brut Rose Champagne is going to come closest. Otherwise, you're looking at a white.


      1. While reds and losbter don't work as simply a food pairing, eating and drinking what you like no longer violates international law as Maria suggests. It was taken out of the Geneva Convention after people were found all over the world being crippled by worrying too much about exactly how wine and food pair.

        If you don't want to drink white wine tonight, I would personally find it aweful to suffer through a bottle you aren't interested in just because it is what you are "supposed" to do. So if we take the opportunity to assume you are throwing all caution to the wind and going into your cellar with the possibility of creating a slight rip in the space time continuum by drinking red with your surf and turf, here are some ideas that may make the pairing less likely to cause an international incident.

        Think acidity, not tannic structure. Avoid massive fruit flavors in favor of more subtle expressions. And if for romantic reasons you really need to open a particular bottle of big red for sentimental reasons, go for older vintages if possible and decant, decant, decant.

        If nothing else, Wine Pairing 101 says if you need a versatile red, head towards Pinot Noir.

        I am now going to have some port and caviar. See you in the Hague!

        Eeek. I hope you are on the West Coast or this is all for not. FYI, kidding about the whole port and caviar thing.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ellaystingray

          I would have been in lock step with everyone here until a few years ago. I had spiced lobster at Jean Georges. The sommelier proposed and opened a Vosne Romanee 1er Suchots Arnoux. I thought he had gone mad - it remains one of the top 5 pairings of the past 10 years.

          1. re: Caillerets

            Spiced, how? And while I am not doubting the pairing -- how could I? I haven't had it -- what do you think about a more traditional preparation and red wine?

            Just curious . . .


            1. re: zin1953

              I remember the fenugreek only -- we were in the middle of a tasting menu and were enjoying a Gruner, which I thought would be a slam dunk with the lobster. - The Burg really rocked my world, clearly I have never forgotten it.

              As for traditional Lobster prep - I don't know that I have much experience. Mostly it's lobster rolls in ME!

          2. re: ellaystingray

            No, but in my experience, it violates my palette. Yes, one can drink a highly tannic Cab with scallops, but what does it taste like? I love to try different pairings, but gravitate to those that work for me. I do not ascribe to any "international law," with regards to these pairings, just MY palette. If it works, then I do it. If it does not, I make note of it, so I do not waste my wine and food trying it again.

            I'm glad that I read the whole reply, as the Port & caviar almost had me going... to the bathroom [Grin]


          3. This is surf and turf, folks - think of the lobster as a garnish to the filet and perhaps it'll be easier to conceptualize a red wine to match. Now, I'll admit, I've never been a fan of the "surf & turf" thang in the first place, but still, it perseveres.

            I am far less practiced than many others here when it comes to these food-wine pairings, but I can think of ways you could try to bring the elements together so they'd work with a red wine - first and foremost, grill the lobster. Second, maybe a sauce that would have the ability to complement both steak and crustacean while also doing a "shout-out" to the wine - I'm thinking maybe a red wine reduction with some demi-glace for body, maybe some thyme, maybe a hint of vanilla (great with lobster; I probably wouldn't do it with a strip streak, but might work with the more delicate texture of a filet). And everything's always better with some bacon. Maybe to further bridge the gap, serve w/ some lentils cooked w/ bacon (which I think could complement both steak and lobster). Then you'd have surf, turf, and earth.

            With those flavors in play I think you could easily do a light to medium bodied pinot noir, more likely old world rather than new (though maybe from New Zealand, where the few I've tried have a nice light touch), that could work with all of the above.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Frodnesor

              >>> Now, I'll admit, I've never been a fan of the "surf & turf" thang in the first place, but still, it perseveres. <<<

              Yes, well that's another topic entirely, isn't it. One must wonder why . . .

              But back to the reality of "moo & splash," am I the only one who remembers those radio ads from the late-1960s with Jerry Stiller and Ann Meira for Blue Nun? (Back when it was really a Liebfraumilch.) It was touted as the perfect surf & turf . . .

              I rest my case.


              1. re: zin1953

                I fondly recall Stiller & Meira, but not the "moo & splash" ads. Maybe I was "regionally challenged." I can imagine them though. Had not thought of Blue Nun in maybe three decades - or more.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  must have been a blissful 3 decades

                  1. re: Icantread

                    Yes it was. Not too long afterwards, I discovered "real" German wines and have not looked back. At least not to Blue Nun...


              2. re: Frodnesor

                If you doctor the lobster to match, and use vanilla, I had a wonderful Sullivan Napa Cab, with heavy vanilla. It was really too young, but with a couple of hours in the decanter was approachable. I just cannot come to grips with this sort of treatment for the lobster, but then I have not yet experienced it.

                I'm still in the 2-wine school on the pairing. We get it a lot at upscale events, and I always ask for both the white & the red and go between them. Now, these are usually not top-end wines, unless I special order for my table, but have yet to find a red, that worked with the various lobster preps. It might be that they exist, but I have not found one. Also, anything light enough for lobster, in my mind and on my palette, would pale when paired with a good piece of beef, especially if it was grilled.


              3. <Are there any good lobster pairings with red wine instead of white?> imho, the answer to your question is "no." But if you're bound and determined to drink one anyway, probably Pinot Noir or Barbera would be least likely to scream that "no" at you.

                Rose Champagne would definitely work.

                Hope you had a happy V-Day.