June 13, 2016
An illustrated guide to pairing wine & seafood
The perfect seafood dinner can only be improved by adding a stunning ocean view in the background, and a glass of wine on the side. While there are some classic wine and fish pairings out there, we wanted to be extra thorough and make sure that no matter what kind of aquatic dish you’re enjoying, you’re sure to know the right kind of wine to pour. Like any other food, the wine pairings for fish depend on the fish’s texture, taste, and aroma. If that intimidates you, don’t worry: you don’t have to be a marine food expert to enjoy a good fish/wine pairing. We have your back – this guide does all the work for you.
1. SEA BASS & PINOT GRIS
Sea bass isn’t very fishy – it’s more of a steak-like fish. That being said, it’s quite mild. We recommend an acidic, bright white wine like Pinot Gris to awaken the flavors of the fish.
2. YELLOWTAIL & CHENIN BLANC
Subtle yellowtail is a common fish used as sashimi. It goes well with sweet sauces, and needs a wine that’s also on the sweeter side without being too thick. Chenin Blanc provides the perfect accompaniment.
2. SALMON & PINOT NOIR
This is a classic fish/wine combo. Salmon is a heartier fish, so it could definitely stand to be enjoyed with a red wine. Still, you don’t want something overly tannic and abrasive. Light Pinot Noir is the perfect balance between assertive and quaffable.
4. OYSTERS & CHAMPAGNE
The bubbles in Champagne cut perfectly through the salinity of oysters. This is a match made in seafood heaven!
5. MONKFISH & SOAVE
Soave has nice vegetal notes that complement monkfish’s meatiness, and abody that’s just right for this unique fish.
6. SKATE & DRY RIESLING
This soft, stringy fish is great when fried. It calls for a white wine with a fuller body that isn’t overwhelmingly creamy or sweet. Dry Riesling is up for the challenge.
7. LOBSTER & CHABLIS
Lobster is a very decadent seafood dish. Despite it’s thicker texture, it’s generally delicate in taste. Pair it with a lean Chablis for a memorable meal.
8. HALIBUT & CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY
Halibut is like the chicken of fish – who doesn’t love it? Halibut isn’t super intense texture-wise, but it is a bit buttery, which is why you should pair it with a big, bold, tropical California Chardonnay. Bring on the oak!
9. TUNA STEAK & ROSÉ
Tuna steak and rosé is yet another wonderful, traditional pairing. The fruit in rosé matches the succulence of the tuna steak, making for deliciousness. Plus, look at how well those colors go together!
10. EEL & WHITE BURGUNDY
Like yellowtail, eel is another classic sashimi fish. It’s meaty and flaky – ideal for mouthwatering White Burgundy.
11. CANNED/CREAMED TUNA & BARBERA
We know what you’re thinking – why is canned tuna even on this list? Well, prepared well with the right seasoning, canned, or (even better) homemade creamed tuna can be a rich, delicious dish. You can even blend with veal to make the classic Italian dish Vitello Tonnato. Italian red wine Barbera is the way to go.
12. SCALLOPS & SAUVIGNON BLANC
Sauvignon Blanc contains the same grassy, distinct notes that scallops have. Plus, the acidity of the wine contrasts nicely with the softness.
13. TILAPIA & MUSCADET
Muscadet is perfect for seafood – especially tilapia, since it’s fishy. The citrus and mineral qualities both tango with and tame the strong flavors of tilapia.
14. HERRING & NEBBIOLO
And while we’re on the subject of strong, sour fish, let’s talk about herring. This is a hate it or love it fish, but for those of us who do love it, full-flavored Nebbiolo punches in the same class.
15. TROUT & ALBARIÑO
Trout is often salty and fishy, but it’s not too thick. It goes well with Spanish Albariño, which is crisp enough for its maritime flavor.