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At the Wine Club Reviews, we want to make sure you get the most out of your wine club experience. Which is why in addition to our company profiles and club comparisons, we also provide food and wine pairing guidelines. Initially, food and wine pairing can be a daunting prospect, but it is an important part of your tasting journey. Invariably if you are enjoying a glass of wine, you will also be eating, and it is wonderful how with a little bit off pairing knowledge, that your food choices can end up enhancing the wine and making it taste even better!
As a rule of thumb, wine and food should be complementary partners and serve to bring out the best in each other. Often it is good to reflect the flavors in either the food or wine to make a good match. For example, if you are enjoying a heavy soup with root vegetables, you might want to open an earthy red. If your food is spicy, you will want a wine like a Sauvignon blanc that will enhance the floral notes of the chilli and cool the palate. Pairing your food and wine is a fun process and adds to the enjoyment of the very interesting world of wine.
Today we are going to be looking at the best food pairings for fish and seafood. Obviously, there are many different types of fish and seafood available, so our pairing recommendations are a good place to start. Also keep in mind, with food and wine matching, you need to match your wine with the dominant flavor of the meal. If your fish is being served with a distinctive red wine jus, then you might want to be influenced more by the sauce, than the fish itself.
Most people know that seafood and fish tend to go well with white wines. This is because of the tannins in red wine that can react to the oils in fish and seafood and leave an aftertaste. However, there are of course times when red wines, particularly a lighter wine such as Pinot Noir are ideal. Read on for some of our seafood, fish and wine pairing recommendations.
Lightly textured and flavored fish and seafood:
If you are enjoying delicate and flaky white fish or lightly flavored shellfish, you will also want something light and delicate in your wine selection. The best wine choice for this type of fish and seafood is usually white. Think crab, flounder, cuttlefish and basa to name a few examples. From your white wine, you will want something zesty and refreshing. Wines with citrus undertones always go well with this type of fish and seafood. A crisp white wine will also act as a palate cleanser and add to the overall enjoyment of your meal.
Some wines that would be ideal would be an Italian Pinot Grigio, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a Californian Chardonnay or Riesling.
Medium textured and flavored fish and seafood:
Next on the seafood flavor scale is medium textured and flavored fish and seafood. This fish tends to be still flaky, but overall it has a firmer texture and tends to have slightly more pronounced flavors. One thing you will find with this type of seafood is that due to its slightly firmer texture it also goes well with sauces and ingredients that tend to be richer and have quite distinct tastes.
Some examples of fish and seafood in this category are trout, catfish, red snapper, clam, scallops and shrimp. When it comes to your wine selection, you want something that has a little more body with more aromatics and flavor tones. As your fish and seafood choices in this category tend to have flavors that linger longer on the palate, you also want a wine that can combat these flavors and serve to enhance the overall tasting experience.
Full-bodied whites that have been aged in oak are also an ideal selection. Some great wines for this type of fish and seafood would be California Chardonnay, Semillon blends, Washington Dry Riesling and French Pinot Gris.
Firmly textured and strongly flavored fish and seafood:
This category of fish and seafood is often referred to as being ‘meaty’. This is due to its firm texture that can be more reminiscent of a steak! This type of seafood requires different cooking and preparation methods and goes perfectly with ample seasoning, rich sauces and extravagant garnishes and sides. Some examples of this type of fish and seafood are American lobster, black tiger shrimp, squid, blue marlin, salmon, swordfish and yellowfin tuna. What you will find that happens with these more strongly flavored seafood and fish options is that different flavor combinations can result in the tastes becoming even more intense. You will want a wine that stands up to the intensity of such flavors. Here you will find that the wine pairings alternate between white and red, depending on the cooking processes, the sauces, garnishes and spices.
If a fish is cooked with capers and lemon a white wine would be your best choice, but if it was instead served with mushrooms, you would probably want to try a Pinot Noir or something to complement the earthy undertones. Salmon and tuna, in particular, are great with red wines due to their meaty flavors and textures. Another good match for this type of fish and seafood is a rose as it tends to go well with all fish and seafood and acts as a great palate cleanser.
As you can see, when it comes to fish, seafood and wine pairings your choices are endless. If you follow the general rule of white wine with most seafood, red wine with meatier seafood such as salmon, that is a good place to start. Then be guided by how the fish is cooked, what it is served with and what are the dominant flavors. Remember that food and wine pairing is all about balance and harmony!