Seafood Recipes

White Wine with Fish? Not Necessarily!

Conventional wisdom holds that because most seafood is lighter in color than other meats it should be served with white wines, namely Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. While Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc offer sublime marriages with many seafoods, they need not to be the sole wine references for successful seafood pairings. Red wine can often be an ideal partner with fish.

David Rosengarten and Joshua Wesson, authors of Red Wine With Fish, a popular book on pairing wine and food, offer some simple guidelines for choosing a wine to serve with seafood:

  • Simple fish dishes are best with light whites and light reds.
  • Choose a high-acid wine, whether red or white. (Just as lemon juice can be used to neutralize the oil in fish, so can wine.)
  • When serving red wine with fish, choose a young, fruity red.
  • Avoid oaky whites and tannic reds, as they tend to exaggerate seafood flavors.
  • When serving wine with shellfish, choose only the lightest reds, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay Beaujolais.
  • The additional complexity of a red wine works best when broiling or grilling fish, or when using traditional barbecue sauces or glazes.

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