Pairing Wine With Fish
Simply cooked fish needs delicate whites, to complement it’s naturally delicate flavour. However, add in flavourings, spices and sauces and it’s a whole new ballgame. Strongly flavoured shellfish, and the powerful character of smoked fish, means that there is no one rule.
Seafood – the classic matches for oysters, mussels and prawns are Muscadet, Chablis, and fresh, lively whites with good acidity such as Vermentino, Verdejo and crisp, European Sauvignon styles.
Smoked fish – very powerful flavours, which need wines with oomph and character – the best matches are the aromatic ones, as the smokiness would kill any wimpy whites – go for Riesling or New World Sauvignon blanc.
Grilled or pan-fried white fish– keep the flavours delicate and elegant – unoaked Chardonnay, lively Sauvignon, and fresh Spanish and southern Italian whites.
Tuna and prawns – I have a theory that pink fish works well with pink wine, so on this basis, look no further than a southern French or Mediterranean dry Rose. Some drier styles of new World Rose would also work.
Salmon – a richer fish, which works well with unoaked, or lightly oaked Chardonnay ( and thus Chablis and Burgundy), especially when served with a creamy hollandaise sauce.
Monkfish and other more meaty fish – these can cope with stronger flavours – New World Sauvignon blanc, or unoaked Chardonnay, and even lightly chilled fruity Grenache, Gamay, or Pinot Noir based reds.
Fish and chips – many wine and food critics swear by Champagne with this dish – I think you can’t go wrong with a decent Sauvignon blanc, or unoaked Chardonnay, where the freshness and acidity will cut through the fat of the batter and cope with the vinegar on the chips! See the award winning wines with Award winning wines with Fish & Chips
Fish pie / fishcakes – the ultimate in comfort food – rich, often creamy, these dishes work best with ripe Chardonnay, or even fruity Viognier wines.
Spiced fish – here it’s not about the fish, it’s about the spices, and this is where the very fruity, New World style , dry Roses, such as Shiraz or Merlot Rose come into their own. Fruity, zesty whites, such as Sauvignon, or Riesling, and some juicy Pinot Noir blends also work.