Many wine lovers enjoy a glass of wine with their fish dish. The common pairing of white wine and fish is thought to bring balance and supply a palate cleanser between each delicate bite. While many of us think we should avoid red wines and stick to a light and acidic wine with fish. Ideal Wine Company is here to make pairing wine with your fish simple.
A guide to fish pairing
Fin fish can be categorised into four major groups, by texture and flavour. While there is a general rule that white wine pairs well with most fish, certain white wines work better for each category.
- A lean and flaky fish – usually defined by its mild flavour and thin white fillets. Seabass and haddock are key examples of this type of fish. To pair with this, a zesty and refreshing white wine is best to balance the delicate fish flavour. Try Chardonnay or Vermentino as a standard for this variety.
- A medium textured fish – firmer and thicker but still flaky, such as trout and red snapper. For this group, try a medium-bodied white with high aromatics. Good examples of this include a Semillon or a dry Riesling.
- Meaty fish – firm and with a steak-like texture. This category of fish includes salmon and swordfish and pairs best with a rich white with lots of flavour. Red and rose wines also provide a nice alternative. A white Pinot Noir or an oaked Chardonnay is a good starting point for meaty fishes.
- Strong flavoured fish – characterized by their salty taste, these fish are unmistakable. Including anchovies, sardines and mackerel, this strong fish pairs with strong, yet complimentary, wines. Try a Pinot Noir, to match the bold flavours, or Champagne, to bring a fresh note that will cleanse the palate.
Dishes to try
- Salmon and Pinot Noir:
This meaty fish is adaptable, suiting white, red and rose varieties. Try a Pinot Noir, as the smoothness of the wine perfectly match the earthy flavours of the fish. We recommend that you look for a variety of Pinot Noir that has low tannins as this will compliment but not overpower the salmon.
- Halibut and Gewürztraminer:
Halibut is mild flavoured with a firm but flaky texture, allowing it to be one of the most versatile and popular fishes available. This allows it to pair well with a wide range of ingredients and wines. Gewürztraminer is slightly sweet and aromatic, bringing fresh notes to the fish. As well as this, the wine acts as a palate cleanser to bring a lightness to any halibut based dishes.
- Lobster and Chardonnay:
Undoubtedly, lobster is a luxury that must be the star of the dish. When you serve a fresh from the sea lobster, we advise pairing with a less bold wine, as it will be in a supporting role. There may be no better choice than a Chardonnay, as it is light and well-balanced. Look for light and crisp options, as these won’t muddle the flavour of the rich grilled lobster.
- Scallops and Sancerre:
Scallops defining feature are their sweetness and buttery texture. With this in mind, try pairing them with a medium to full-bodied white, such as a Sancerre. Characteristically citrusy and acidic, the roundness of this wine pairs well with the simplicity of the scallops.