Vodka, preferably freezing cold and syrupy thick, is the traditional drink to serve with caviar. The vodka has a bit of lemon taste, which is a great touch.
If you must have wine with this extremely salty, fishy protein, I recommend a bone-dry Champagne or a steely Sauvignon Blanc, both of which should be served cold. Avoid oaky or buttery Chardonnays, since the caviar will overpower the wine’s taste.
Look for “Brut” on the label, which is the driest quality of champagne routinely distributed.
Sauvignon Blanc: There are some excellent crisp examples from New Zealand, but comparable wines from Napa and Sonoma, where it is sometimes known as Fume Blanc or a white Bordeaux, are also available.
The Insider’s Guide to Caviar (Wine Magazine)
Drinks to Pair with Caviar (Williams-Sonoma)
Of all, who am I to argue that if you prefer sweet wines or something else, those are bad choices? There are no rules governing food and wine pairings, so if the sommelier disputes your choice of White Zinfandel or a fruity Beaujolais Nouveau to accompany your delicate sturgeon caviar and blini, you can sneer back at him.
This wine pairs well with caviar. Hmmm. If I were still drinking, I’d start with Vodka, then Sake, and eventually, most likely, a Brut Champagne. It’s possible that a Sauvignon Blanc may tie for third place.
This is entirely dependent on what else is presented or matched with the caviar.
A very, very “viscously” chilly vodka comes to mind as the first alcoholic beverage that comes to mind.
Because the vodka is so cold, it has a thicker, syrupier consistency. There’s a big caviar flavor explosion coming up. It’s a beautiful interplay of point/counterpoint flavor, texture, and briny finish as the Vodka opens up. Vodka with a slice of lemon.
Because caviar is so salty, a Lemon Vodka, chilled to perfection, would be ideal. The lemon aids with digestion. Personally, I’m not a big fan.
Straight Vodka, with only the scent of a lemon slice and perhaps a smidgeon of lemon around the glass… just enough for me.
Sake. Sake??? Sake, to be sure. Sake would be my second option for a drink with this dish. It depends on the cuisine I was serving with the caviar.
Gekkeikan “Horin” Junmai/Daiginjo style Sake is the second option. (However, there are a plethora of additional options…this is a whole meal pairing selection.) Look for a Sake in the “Daigingjo” style.
This Sake goes nicely with either sturgeon or salmon caviar (ikura). It’s a dry canvas that allows the caviar to paint its masterpiece on your tastebuds and the roof of your mouth. I sense a lot of extra subtle tastes in the fragrances. It’s another spirit with which I’m much more at ease, having tried it with sushi, sashimi, and ikura rolls. Hand buns with Ikura quail eggs on top.
In other words, I’m aware of how it will enhance the flavor of my food.
If you’re not careful, vodka can come back to bite you. This Sake, on the other hand, is much more mellow. I sometimes get brain freeze from bites, not so much from the wine, while attempting to optimize my caviar pleasure in my mouth!
In certain quarters, pairing Sake with caviar may still be controversial or difficult to come by.
Vodka and Sake are still my favorites, with Champagne a distant third.
Option #3 I’m thinking of something like a Brut Champagne. Dry. Acidity is sharp and pleasant. The caviar is broken up into tasty “swirls” that are carried aloft on the Champagne bubbles by the effervescent effervescence. The acidity helps to elevate the roe and “separates” the salty deliciousness. Lift and separate, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
To really appreciate this decadently rich “splurge,” I used a retronasal breathing method. The Champagne’s effervescence helps the flavor linger for a long time, which I continue to savor as I breathe in and out my nose. A glass of Champagne definitely brings out the brininess of the caviar, but it’s a little too much for me.
There are no reds.
No buttery vanilla Chardonnays like La Crema, please.
Yuck. With caviar, no way. Let’s see what happens.
Okay, here’s the last of my contestants.
This is a Sauvignon Blanc. With a more tart, acidic SB, I could see the flavors flowering and developing wonderfully. Depending on the caviar presentation and pairings, this might give Champagne a boost. For me, this brings the caviar flavor to the forefront, rather of the Champagne dulling it.