Do you love oysters and are curious about their terroir? If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’re within striking distance of Hog Island.
Located on Tomales Bay, in Marshall, Calif., close to Nick’s Cove, this is home to the Hog Island Oyster Farm. It’s a rustic setting for a picnic, where you can build a feast around freshly harvested oysters and whatever else you bring.
I’ve been there two weekends in a row, by chance. Both times I came home with dozens of these delightful delicacies from the sea to share with friends.
Both times I ordered Kumamotos and extra small Pacifics (sweet waters), and I mixed two rice vinegars, one spicy, with hair-thin slices of jalapeno, shallot and ginger, then added a dash of pepper and a squeeze of lime. (I may have added red wine vinegar, too.) With the oysters, I drank a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Shannon Vineyards (about $30 retail). It’s a new wine to me and I know little except that it’s from Elgin Valley, one of South Africa’s cooler coastal climates, and it’s delicious and perfect for such an occasion. 91 points, non-blind.
The Shannon bottling expressed all the racy, spicy, citrusy-grassy nuances of Sauvignon Blanc, with great acidity and a full-bodied texture that worked perfectly with the meaty, salty, briny oysters—once I shucked them. The extra smalls were extra tough to deal with, and I swore I wouldn’t order too many of them again. My arms ached the next day.
Catch Hog Island on the right day, when it’s sunny and the wind is down, and it’s oyster picnic heaven. With a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, it’s even better.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated South African Sauvignon Blancs.