Add shucking an oyster—and pairing it—to your repertoire of gastronomic life skills. Oyster guru Rowan Jacobsen, author of The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation, and William Fèvre Chablis hosted a hands-on demonstration on how to expertly shuck an oyster and pair it with the best wine at Catch NYC. Chablis, which comes from soil that gets its minerality from ancient oyster fossils, is an ideal pairing.

Fun facts Rowan shared:
-The first oyster bar potentially opened 164,000 years ago. In caves in South Africa, archaeologists discovered oyster shells and prehistoric bone knives—evidence of a prehistoric oyster bar.
-Choose oysters that are heavy for their size just as you would fruit – the shells should be tightly clamped.
-As for pairing, a good entry-level Chablis like William Fèvre Champs Royaux will be the most friendly with all types of oysters. Refreshing, crisp, and mineral driven, this wine is perfect for warm weather drinking.

Minerality + freshness: You couldn’t come up with a better formula for an oyster companion. Rowan presented an array of four types of oysters from both the East and West Coast. He paired each oyster to a William Fèvre wine matching the body and flavor characteristics of the wine to the oyster.

Rowan started by pairing the 2015 William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux with the Fat Bastard oyster (West Coast) “terrible name, but a great oyster,” he adds. The slightly creamier quality of the 2015 William Fèvre Chablis Domaine made a great match for the fruitier Kumamoto oyster (West Coast). The Totten Inlet oyster (West Coast), the richest and fattiest of the three oysters, was a natural pairing for the 2014 William Fèvre Chablis Premier Cru Montmains Domaine, according to Rowan. For the grand finale, Rowan paired the 2012 William Fèvre Grand Cru Bougros Côte Bouguerots Domaine with the Island Creek oyster (East Coast), both of very high quality. Guests went home with an oyster shucking glove in which to hold their oyster, a William Fèvre shucking knife, and most importantly, plenty of oyster shucking confidence.

Go HERE for more photos by Stephen Smith!