Beyond Bubbles: What to Drink with Caviar

Caviar paired with different beer and wine.
Photo by Julie Benedetto, styling by Lisa Homa and Francine Matalon-Degni

Champagne and vodka are classic pairings for caviar. The former matches luxury with luxury, while the latter speaks to the common homelands for both products. Champagne’s acidity and bubbles and vodka’s crisp booziness are perfect foils for the richness and saltiness of cured roe.

But luxury is about choice, and there are plenty of other options that pair just as well, if not better. Learn how your favorite type of caviar can pair with your preferred drink.

California White Sturgeon

Cara Patricia, cofounder and sommelier of DecantSF in San Francisco, says matching weight and intensity is important when you pair wine with caviar. A style that’s too full bodied, overoaked or tannic will go very wrong, she says.

To avoid yeasty, brioche characteristics and new oak that could overwhelm this delicate and even-keeled caviar, she likes medium-bodied rosé from Provence like Château Vannières Côtes
de Provence Rosé. The Cinsault- Grenache-Mourvèdre blend has plenty of acidity and light fruitiness.

“Luxury is about choice, and there are plenty of other options that pair just as well, if not better.”

Osetra

With the intense nutty, maritime flavor and buttery texture of this caviar, Patricia favors the notes of Marcona almond and preserved lemon that are present in a dry, briny fino Sherry, especially from Fernando de Castilla. “The bright acidity of the fino Sherry pops with the natural saltiness of the Osetra pearls, separating the beads into individual bubbles that burst with hidden sweetness when you roll it around on the mouth,” she says.

Osetra-Siberian Hybrid

Perhaps not surprisingly, Pete Slosberg, founder of Pete’s Brewing Company in San Antonio, prefers beer with caviar. He says that the eggs’ salinity, nuttiness, oiliness and richness afford plenty of complementary and contrasting beer options. With this nutty, robust, sweet-finishing hybrid, he points to a wheat beer with breadiness and slight tartness, like Eagle Rock Brewery’s Manifesto.

“The citric character from the orange cuts through [richness], and the beer is not bitter, but slightly spicy from coriander seed,” he says.

A Beginner's Guide to Caviar

Whatever Caviar You Like

Aldo Sohm, wine director at Le Bernardin and Aldo Sohm Wine Bar in New York City, is an advocate of saké alongside just about any caviar. He believes the flavor profile of caviar changes depending upon the batch, which can make pairing a challenge.

Saké works, he says, due to its clean flavor, lower acidity, textural options and overall versatility. His current pick? Hakurakusei Tokubetsu Junmai.

Published on December 12, 2019
Topics: Pairings