Pairing Wine with Lobster

Lobster with white wine
Getty Images/Photography by Bobi

Lobster's top culinary companions tend to be melted butter and a twist of fresh lemon. Sometimes the palate appeal of a recipe rests firmly in its delicious simplicity. So whether it's steamed or grilled lobster tail drenched in butter or a creamy lobster bisque, there is one white wine variety that can handle the tastes and textures of lobster in a variety of recipes.

Top Wine Pick for Lobster

The number one wine to pair with lobster is hands-down Chardonnay.

Consider the palate profile of most international Chardonnay wines whether they are from Burgundy or California, Chile or Australia -- Chardonnay often highlights its own innate citrus nuances both in the aromatic components and in flavor. Lemon, lime and sometimes grapefruit can carry that splash of citrus to a dish straight from the Chardonnay grape itself. Many Chardonnay wines spend time in oak and also go through malolactic fermentation, both of which will bring rich buttery tones to the wine. This butter-themed aromatic and flavor component offers up another way to complement the pairing of butter and cream-based sauces that often accompany lobster recipes. In terms of body, Chardonnay generally shows a creamy, fuller body that provides another complementary match to ​the innate palate weight of the lobster itself. When we think of lobster, we tend to picture rich, heavy dishes, whether it's a bisque or full on lobster tail drenched in butter.

It's this palate weight that Chardonnay brings both some symmetry and flavor appeal to in terms of ideal pairings and favorable nuances in terms of texture, taste and overall presence.

Other Go-To White Wines for Lobster

While Chardonnay affords lobster a classic, go-to pairing. There are other white wines that will wow with their affinity for lobster-themed recipes.

The spicy, intense aromatics of Gewurztraminer play exceptionally well with broiled lobster. The straightforward, citrusy, just-say-summer simplicity of Pinot Grigio provides a food-friendly backdrop to lemon-laden lobster, not mention the fresh squeeze of acidity that functions like a twist of lemon on lobster. The Loire Valley's Viognier makes a remarkable match with lobster that's seen a bit of curry or Asian spice -- the slight sweetness of the wine tames the heat of the spice and highlights the sweeter side of the lobster meat as well. If you are looking for a savory lobster and wine pairing that is heavily influenced by cream or butter-based sauces and you're looking to go beyond the classic styles of Chardonnay, then reach for the butter-busting bubbles of Champagne or a sparkling wine with solid, food-friendly acidity.

In general, the rich impressions that lobster brings both in terms of mouthfeel and culinary expectations demands a wine that can go the distance in food-pairing versatility, while maintaining the body weight and palate presence to bring out the best in a variety of lobster-inspired recipes.

There are a handful of wines that can pull off a lobster pairing well, but by many standards, ​there may not be a better choice than the widely planted, international grape of Chardonnay.