Pairing Wine With Seafood

Seafood is one of the healthiest meals you will ever taste. Furthermore, it’s nice to enjoy a glass of wine with a perfectly seasoned fish filet or a delicious platter of shellfish, but there isn’t a “one bottle fits all” option. For guidance, have a look at our helpful breakdown of wine and seafood pairings below.

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Seafood Pairing Rules

First of all, you should know that there are some seafood pairing rules. For example, although lighter reds and sparkling wines can pair well with seafood, white wines typically do the best. Similarly, the wine should be more elegant the more delicate the fish, so when pairing, consider the texture and weight of the fish. Always keep in mind the dish’s most notable component, which is frequently the sauce. Of course, strike a balance between hot and sweet and salty and bubbly. In the end, everyone knows that sweeter wine should pair with sweeter meals, so when selecting a wine, take into account how sweet or salty fish is.

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Types of seafood

When it comes to types of seafood, you can choose between white fish, shellfish, pink fish, and meaty fish. Every category has its own pairing rules, so in the next few lines we will help you learn how to combine a specific type of fish with a specific type of wine.

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Squid, oysters, crab, clams, and shrimp are some of the most consumed shellfish. They frequently have flavor profiles that are fairly rich, which the acidity perfectly offsets. Here are some broad guidelines to get you started, along with some challenging sample pairings. The type of shellfish, how it is prepared, its tenderness, and any additional ingredients or sauces used should be taken into account when pairing.

Wine pairings

Chartron et Trebuchet Chablis 2020 and oysters

Oysters’ salinity is particularly well-complemented by the acidity and citrus flavor of the wine. Oysters go perfectly with a refreshing Chablis that is overflowing with zingy citrus, a delicate stony minerality, and undertones of orchard fruits. The beautiful fruit flavors are complemented by a lively acidity in the initial taste, which leads to a pure, clean finish.

Saint Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux and calamari

Sparkling wines in general go great with fried dishes because the bubbles and citrus flavors help to wash away the fats and oils from your lips as you eat. They also have a slight sweetness to them, which will balance out the saltiness of the fried squid. You won’t go back once you’ve tried Saint Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux with your calamari!

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Meaty fish

These fish will be hard and solid enough to go on the grill and will resemble steak in practically every way. Swordfish, monkfish, tuna steaks, and other meatier fish are also frequently a little bit oilier and higher in fat. You can choose more robust wines because the fish has a fattier, oilier texture and a typically bolder flavor.

Wine pairings

Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir 2017 and tuna steak 

Just by looking at the colors of a tuna steak and a bottle of Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir, you can tell they mix nicely together. Since tuna is a substantial fish, lighter red wines can easily hold their own against it, and this wine does just that. In particular, if the fish is cooked with citrus or spices, the fruitiness of the wine accentuates and complements the flavors of the fish.

El Enemigo Chardonnay 2019 and swordfish

Swordfish is a hearty, flavorful fish that can hold its own with medium-to full-bodied white wines. This chardonnay from Argentina is a good choice for this. For those who are unsure, chardonnay is a well-known pairing for fish that is meatier. The wine will be sufficiently flavorful and rich to complement the swordfish’s steak-like texture without being overbearing.

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Pink fish

Many types of fish have a somewhat pink hue, but when cooked, they turn white. When cooked, true pink fish like salmon and trout maintain their color when cooked. The best wine to match with the meat is frequently determined by its color. Actually, you can drink both white and red wine with pink fish. Other important decision elements often include the preparation method and additional ingredients or sauces.

 Wine pairings 

Domaine de la Grand’Cour JL Dutraive Vieilles Vignes Fleurie Champagne 2020 and grilled salmon

This gamay is a great wine to pair with grilled salmon because its delicate tannins, lightness, and fruitiness bring out the fish’s rich and savory flavors. To prevent destroying the flavors of the salmon, it’s crucial to stick to lighter red wines like this (as reds with greater structure and body feel as though they are in a competition with the oils in the fish, giving the fish a taste that is metallic).

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis 2018 and trout in lemon butter sauce

With a lemon butter sauce, trout is ideal, and this chardonnay pairs beautifully with it. This French chardonnay will have a fruity flavor and great acidity, which will help cut through the buttery sauce the trout is served in.

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White fish

Since fish is primarily white meat, white wines go better with it. White fish that are more frequently found include halibut, cod, haddock, sea bass, tilapia, and white tuna (albacore). White fish that are leaner, flakier, and more delicate in texture, such as sea bass and tilapia, often have a milder flavor. These go well with crisp, light whites.

Wine pairings 

Halibut and Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Halibut that is still fresh is very clean and delicate. It pairs well with a little herb spice and has subtle marine flavors. It pairs perfectly with a fragrant and fresh Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc due to the combination of these factors. The lightness of the wine pairs well with the meat, and the fruity undertones go well with the spices and herbs.

Tilapia on the grill and Livon Pinot Grigio 2020

Since tilapia is a delicate fish, a lighter white wine should be paired with it to prevent the dish from becoming overpowered. To complement the delicate fish flavor when grilling, especially if adding some lemon, choose a wine that is zesty and refreshing. An Italian Pinot Grigio will be ideal.

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