Lobster has long been regarded as a seafood delicacy by gourmet chefs throughout the world, and over the years aficionados have learned to pair it with wines that enhance the overall dining experience. Lobsters are crustaceans that are indigenous to all the oceans, where they reside on the sea floor that extends from the shoreline to the edge of the continental shelf. Since it is so widely available throughout the world, lobster can be prepared and served in many different ways, often reflecting regional tastes and cooking styles.
The classic style entails boiling or steaming the lobster and serving it with drawn butter for dipping, but many chefs also like to grill, pan-roast, or stir-fry their lobster, or even bake it in a puff pastry. Besides drawn butter for dipping, lobster is often served with a creamy sauce, and it can be delicious with a tomato sauce in pasta, with Asian spices in a stir-fry, or with vinaigrette in a salad of chilled lobster.
There is no perfect wine to serve with lobster—one size does not fit all. The best wine for lobster is a matter of personal taste and the choice will vary depending on how it is prepared and served.
For boiled or steamed lobster, many people will choose a Chardonnay from California or a white Burgundy from France (such as Pouilly Fuisse), which have subtle oak nuances and a delicate balance of acidity and fruit to complement the richness of the lobster meat. Other good pairings would be Sancerre (from the Loire Valley in France), a Sauvignon Blanc (especially from New Zealand or California), or maybe even a nice Pinot Grigio from Italy.
Grilled lobster needs a wine that can handle the char from the grill, and a Muscadet (from the Loire Valley) or a white Rioja (from Spain) might do the trick. For many connoisseurs, a toasty Chardonnay pairs wonderfully with grilled lobster. Lobster cooked with Asian spices would go well with a spicy Gwurztraminer.
Lobster in a creamy sauce needs a big wine with ample acidity and mouthfeel, like a white French Burgundy (a Montrachet or Meursault if you want to splurge) or a New World Chardonnay.
When serving chilled lobster in a salad, a white wine with high acidity will work best with the vinaigrette dressing. Try a German Riesling with lots of acidity, or a Pouilly-Fumé or Sancerre. If you are dining alfresco on a hot summer day, try this dish with a sparkling white wine.
Many wine experts believe that lobster should never be served with red wine, however, some people think that lobster in a tomato sauce should be enjoyed with Chianti, a red wine that has been paired with tomato sauce for centuries. For the adventuresome, a nice Pinot Noir from California might work well with grilled lobster.
Dining on lobster is usually a fabulous culinary experience, which will be enhanced with a good wine that suits the style of preparation. The “right” wine for a lobster dish is the one that best suits a person’s palate and budget.