Matching wine with Seafood

How to pair wine with seafood dishes

Seafood’s delicate flavours and subtle characteristics can make it a difficult dish to pair with wine. If you use a full bodied red wine, you could overpower the dish. On the other hand, if you use a heavily oaked white wine, you could lose the delicate flavours of the seafood. Read on to find out how you can pair wine with all of your seafood meals for the best results!

Pairing wine with salty Fish (Anchovies)

A salty fish needs an acidic robust white. Try Muscadet or young Chablis.

Pairing wine with crab

With its succulent, ocean-fresh sweetness, crab meals pair best with white wines that don’t overwhelm the rich yet delicate flavour of the meat. Riesling is always a good match, as is a sparkling wine or creamy Chardonnay.

Pairing wine with lobster

Unfortunately for red wine lovers, most reds do not pair well with lobster. The iodine in lobster clashes with the tannins found in red wine, and the saltiness of the meat tends to bring out the bitterness of red wines. As lobster is a delicate and light meat, and light white wine is needed to accentuate the flavours. Whites that have mineral and vegetable notes, with minimal fruity flavours are best. In saying that, a Riesling often does the job, or an unoaked Chardonnay.

Pairing wine with pawns

Prawns are a sweet tasting food, so following the rule that wine must taste sweeter than the dish it is paired with will guide you to choosing an off dry Riesling or more full bodied, fruity Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.

Pairing wine with fish and tomato based sauces

Tomato-based sauces can devastate fine wines because of their high acidity. To counter this, a sharp dry wine is needed, or a Zinfandel or Sangiovese.

Pairing wine with fish and cream-based sauces

While fish is usually light bodied and better served with a light white, if the fish is served with a heavy cream sauce it could be better balanced with a fuller bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or light red.

Pairing wine with salmon

One of the virtues of salmon is its versatility with wine. It can pair equally well with lighter-bodied reds, most notably Pinot Noir, as it does with whites – it all depends on how the fish is prepared.

With raw salmon, as in Japanese-style sashimi, try Champagne or dry sparkling wine.

If you’re serving the fish poached, choose an unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay. If there’s a lot of dill going on in the preparation, consider Sauvignon Blanc.

For grilled, pan-seared or oven roasted salmon, it’s a toss-up between Chardonnay (if you prefer white) and Pinot Noir (if you prefer red).

Pairing wine with tuna

Tuna’s a versatile summer ingredient that you can use in salads or on the barbecue. It is quick and easy to cook, and can vary from being a light, cold dish to a heavy, meaty fish which adapts just as well to a light red and a rosé as it does to a white.

If you want a simple guideline as to which wine to choose, think first about the way that it’s cooked – is it rare, seared or preserved (canned)?

Generally, the colder, less cooked the fish, the lighter the wine. Seared tuna pairs well with a Rose wine, or Pinot Noir. For sashimi dishes, a dry, minerally Sauvignon Blanc may work well. Tuna salads using tinned tuna require a light and easy-drinking white wine.