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Seafood & Wine Pairings

Seafood Wine Pairings

Suggestions for Pairing Seafood and Wine

When you’re planning a seafood dinner, your first instinct may be to serve white wine with it.  Traditionally, white wine is served with pretty much any food that is not red meat – especially poultry and all seafood.  In fact, seafood is good with whatever you choose to drink with it[1] –red, white, Rosé, or Sparkling wines and of course Champagne can turn a simple meal into a festive occasion.

When selecting a wine to go with your meal, there are two important things to consider:  the type of fish or shellfish you are serving and whether it will be served with a sauce (e.g., butter, tomato, red wine reduction).  According to Food and Wine,[2] delicate raw fish and light briny shellfish go with light white wines, whereas darker and oilier fish go well with a more substantial white or a red wine. 

There are many books, articles, and videos to guide you to specific wines and recipes.  Some zero in on one food (e.g., Wine with salmon: Ideas for great pairings) some are devoted to pairing food and wine (e.g., https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/an-illustrated-guide-to-pairing-wine-seafood/ and https://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/).  The pairings below come from some expert sources (with lots of end notes so you can go to the original articles) and suggest what type of wines goes well with various seafood dishes.  There is also a table at the end of the article that provides this information and lists some specific wines suggested in the source articles.

White Wine

Light and flaky cuts of fish pair well with light white wines.[3]  

Dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris pair well with cod, tilapia,[4] crab, and clams.[5]  Light white wines like Vouvray also go well with shellfish.[6]  An Austrian Grüner Veltliner, like a Sauvignon Blanc, goes with almost anything.[7]

Moderate white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio goes well with crab, lobster,[8] and oysters.  Wines with some sweetness, like an Alsatian Gewürztraminer, compliment spicy dishes.[9]  Mild fish with firm, flaky texture like halibut also pair well with a Gewürztraminer.[10]

Sancerre is perfect with scallops and works well with asparagus, pancetta and Parmesan.[11]  White-fleshed fish in a butter-based sauce calls for a white Burgundy (made from Chardonnay grapes).[12]  

German Riesling is delicious with medium-bodied fish such as trout.[13]

Red Wine and Rosé

Red wine like Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Zinfandel go well with salmon and tuna.[14]  Oilier fish served with a mushroom sauce calls for Pinot Noir or Rosé.  Rosés also work well with grilled shrimp and seafood soups.[15]

Champagne and Seafood Paring

"Champagne seafood delight" by britsinvade is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sparkling wine and Champagne

All sparkling wines (e.g., Champagne, Prosecco, Asti Spumante, Cava) that are produced around the world (France, Italy, Spain, the US, etc.) go well with any fried seafood.  Shrimp, coconut and lime go well with a glass of bubbles.[16]

Champagne goes with everything, and seafood is no exception.  It is an obvious choice to go with lobster, but surprisingly, the executive chef at RPM Seafood in Chicago also pairs it with fish and chips.  The restaurant has a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, including a number of Champagne offerings with a widely ranging price list – the chef’s pick is Henri Goutorbe Brut Champagne Special Club 2006, while one of Wine Spectator’s choices is Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV.[17] 

Sizzlefish Seafood Pairs well with Whatever You Like

A fine wine can enhance a meal, but the meal itself depends on the quality of its ingredients.  Sizzlefish supplies first-quality seafood that pairs well with whatever you choose to serve:  beer, wine, iced tea, water. 

The table below offers wine pairing selections for types of seafood and style of preparation. 

Seafood dish

Suggested wine pairing

Examples of suggested wines

Crab

Cod

Tilapia

Clams

Sauvignon Blanc

Dry Reisling

Pinot Gris

Grüner Veltliner

Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc*

Acrobat Pinot Gris 2019 (Oregon)**

Halibut

Gewürztraminer

Navarro Vineyards Gewürztraminer*

Lobster

Chardonnay

Pinot Grigio

Chenin Blanc

Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay*

Cambria Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Katherine’s Vineyard 2017***

Oysters

Chardonnay

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Chardonnay*

Scallops

Sancerre

Domaine André Neveu Sancerre*

Shrimp

Sparkling Wine

J Vintage Brut NV*

Salmon

Tuna

and

Grilled Seafood

Sparkling, full-bodied white, and red wine

Pinot Gris

Merlot

Zinfandel

Pinot Noir

Sake

Merisi Pinot Gris Los Carneros 2020***

Ridge Vineyards 2019 Three Valleys Zinfandel Blend, Sonoma County***

Whitehall Lane 2017 Merlot, Napa Valley***

Esser Vineyards Pinot Noir*

Kanpai London, FIZU Sparkling Sake, Japan****

Fried seafood

Sparkling Wine, Rosé

Champagne

Prosecco

Cava

Asti Spumante

Rosé

Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV Champagne***

Villa Conchi Cava Brut Seleccion

Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Rosé***

Spicy seafood

Riesling

Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica 2019***

*  Southern Living

** Wine Enthusiast

***Wine Spectator

**** Decanter

 

 

[1]   Bernstein, N. (2018)  Wine & food pairing made easy, Wine Enthusiast.  August 14, 2018. https://www.winemag.com/2018/08/14/wine-food-pairing-easy/

[2]   Gray, W.B. (2017). Best wines for seafood, Food and Wine, updated June 22, 2017.  https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/white-wine/best-wines-for-seafood

[3]   https://www.brightcellars.com/blog/how-to-pair-wine-with-seafood/

[4]   https://nourish.schnucks.com/articles/seafood-and-wine-pairing/

[5]   Finley, K. (2020). 15 no-fail seafood & wine pairings.  Southern Living, June 29, 2020.  https://www.southernliving.com/food/seafood/seafood-wine-pairings

[6]   Gray, W.B. (2017). Best wines for seafood, Food and Wine, updated June 22, 2017.  https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/white-wine/best-wines-for-seafood

[7]   Gray, W.B. (2017). Best wines for seafood, Food and Wine, updated June 22, 2017.  https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/white-wine/best-wines-for-seafood

[8]   https://nourish.schnucks.com/articles/seafood-and-wine-pairing/

[9]   Gray, W.B. (2017). Best wines for seafood, Food and Wine, updated June 22, 2017.  https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/white-wine/best-wines-for-seafood

[10]   Finley, K. (2020). 15 no-fail seafood & wine pairings.  Southern Living, June 29, 2020.  https://www.southernliving.com/food/seafood/seafood-wine-pairings

[11]   Finley, K. (2020). 15 no-fail seafood & wine pairings.  Southern Living, June 29, 2020.  https://www.southernliving.com/food/seafood/seafood-wine-pairings

[12]   Gray, W.B. (2017). Best wines for seafood, Food and Wine, updated June 22, 2017.  https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/white-wine/best-wines-for-seafood

[13]   Gray, W.B. (2017). Best wines for seafood, Food and Wine, updated June 22, 2017.  https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/white-wine/best-wines-for-seafood

[14]   https://nourish.schnucks.com/articles/seafood-and-wine-pairing/

[15]   https://nourish.schnucks.com/articles/seafood-and-wine-pairing/

[16]   Finley, K. (2020). 15 no-fail seafood & wine pairings.  Southern Living, June 29, 2020.  https://www.southernliving.com/food/seafood/seafood-wine-pairings

[17]   Sims, H. (2020). Fish and Chips with Champagne, Wine Spectator, December 15, 2015.  https://www.winespectator.com/articles/a-perfect-match-recipe-fish-and-chips-with-champagne