Mussels are featured on the menus at some of the best seafood restaurants in the entire world, and used to create decadent and bold shellfish appetizers and entrees.
They are often steamed in the pan with heavy cream, butter, and white wine – which opens up worlds of possibilities in terms of wine pairing options.
In this article, we will look at the best wine for Mussels to help you plan your next perfect dinner and wine pairing.
The Best Wine for Mussels
Muscadet is a sub-region of the Loire Valley in France that produces tame and refined dry white wines using the Melon de Bourgogne grape. These wines are crisp and refined and carry subtle citrus-tasting notes such as lemon peel and green apple skins.
These dry mineral-driven white wines are also known to carry aromas and tasting notes of sea salt, which makes them an ideal pairing for a variety of different shellfish dishes including steamed mussels. The subtle citrus notes also enhance the natural flavors of the mussels.
Drink and Pair is a website dedicated to ranking the best possible wine pairings when it comes to a variety of different dishes. They have highlighted Muscadet as a “Five Star” match for mussel dishes due to its minerality and bright and crisp tasting notes.
Clos des Bouquinardieres Muscadet Gabbro is a popular bottle of Muscadet that has drawn high praise from experienced wine critics and casual wine enthusiasts alike. It is a fairly neutral wine with solid levels of minerality and a bright clean finish that helps showcase the mussels.
Betes Curieuses Muscadet Sur Granit La Perdrix de l’Annee is an affordable bottle of Muscadet that “over delivers” in terms of quality for a bottle that often costs less than $15. It is crisp and easy-drinking, with light-tasting notes of citrus that elevate the natural taste of the mussels.
Riesling is one of the most versatile white wine grapes on earth, as it can be used to make everything from lusciously sweet dessert wines to dry and crisp bottles of mineral-driven dry wines. This German wine grape thrives in cold-weather wine-growing regions worldwide.
The most highly respected and sought-after bottles of Riesling are still produced in the grape’s homeland of Germany, most notably the Mosel region. Some of the most famous bottles of Reisling-based dessert wines have been aged for decades and sold for thousands of dollars.
Fiona Beckett has specified dry Rieslings from the Alsace region of northern France to be one of the best pairings for mussel dishes that are prepared with white wine in the pan. Alsace sits directly on France’s border with Germany, and the German influence is apparent in the wines.
F E Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile is one of the top bottles of Riesling from Alsace, and it has received high marks from a variety of high-profile wine critics including Jancis Robinson. It is full of bright minerality that bring out the natural salty flavors of the mussels.
Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs is one of the top bottles of German Riesling that can be purchased for under $100. It is fairly low in alcohol at 10.5 percent ABV, making it a fantastic option for pairing with light and delicate shellfish dishes.
Pinot Grigio is a world-famous Italian wine grape that is used to produce dry and crisp white wines with high to moderate levels of acidity. There are a number of different tasting notes that can be present in Pinot Grigio depending on where it is grown including pear, lemon, and apple.
While the United States has embraced Pinot Grigio and it is now mass produced in the country, the best and most highly respected bottles of this dry white wine are still produced in Italy. The most famous Pinot Grigio producing regions include Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige.
Pinot Grigio makes for a great pairing with soft and delicate shellfish like mussels due to its light body and high levels of acidity. The acidity in the wine causes the mouth to salivate which opens the palate up to elevate the natural sea salt flavors present inside the meat of the mussels.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Alto Adige is without a doubt one of the most famous and recognizable bottles of Pinot Grigio in the entire world. It is bursting with bright acidity and minerality, which refresh the palate without changing any of the tasting notes of the mussels.
Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo is one of the most highly rated bottles of Pinot Grigio in the world due to its balance of bright acidity and terroir driven minerality. It is one of the top recommended pairings for a variety of seafood dishes, and mussels are no exception.
Rosé is an often overlooked style of wine that offers the light and crisp refreshment of a white wine with the sweet berry tasting notes of a juicy red wine. Some of the top Rosé wines are produced in the provence region of France and are full of light and bright red fruit flavors.
Many of the top bottles of pink wine in the world are made using either the Pinot Noir or Grenache grapes. The grape skins are left to remain in contact with the juice for a limited time, which imparts light levels of both pigment and flavor into the finished product.
Food & Wine is a highly respected publication that has been documenting some of the best wine pairings for meals for many years. They recommend Rosé wine for pairing with mussel dishes that feature tomato or pork based broths, such as those found in Mediterranean food.
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé is one of the most highly rated bottles of Rosé in the entire world, and is available for purchase in a variety of different countries. It is often featured on the menus of high profile seafood restaurants as it makes for a fantastic shellfish pairing.
Chateau Minuty Côtes de Provence ‘M de Minuty’ Rose is an affordable bottle of light pink Rosé that is full of light fruit flavors and bright acidity. This is one of the best options in the world for pairing with mussel dishes, as it showcases the natural flavors of the shellfish.
Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular wine grape that is used to make light bodied white wines with significant acidity and minerality all over the world. It makes for a perfect wine pairing with mussels due to this signature blend of minerality and acidity, along with its subtle tasting notes.
This versatile wine grape can produce many different tasting notes depending on where in the world it is produced. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand generally carries bright fruity aromas, while french representations are more “serious” with a more muted nose.
Some of the best bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for pairing with shellfish entrees are produced in the Sancerre region of France. These wines are bright and full of crisp acidity, while carrying floral aromas and many levels of tasting notes that many wine lovers compare to light fruit.
Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Neore hails from the region of Sancerre, and is one of the most highly rated bottles of Sauvignon Blanc in the entire world. It makes for a luxurious pairing with flavorful seafood dishes, with lobster, crab, and mussels all being ideal pairing candidates.
Domaine Vacheron Sancerre is a significantly more affordable bottle of Sancerre that provides refined and balanced flavors along with a bouquet of floral tasting notes. It is widely distributed, and available on the wine lists of many seafood restaurants all over the world.
Mussels are some of the most refined and delicious types of shellfish on the menu of many seafood restaurants, and they are best served with a light and crisp glass of wine.
It is important to choose an acidic wine that is light in body, as to not overpower the desirable natural flavors present in the meat of the mussels.
Feel free to leave a comment below and let other wine enthusiasts know which bottles of wine are your favorite when it comes to pairing with mussels!