Yes, You Can (And Should) Pair Red Wine with Fish
It’s 2010, and adventurous foodies are breaking rules left and right, fusing cultures and cuisines as easily as if they had been friends forever. Yet the unwritten rule of “white wine with fish” doesn’t seem to yield.
That’s crazy. Red wine often pairs well with seafood . It’s time to cast away the shackles of yesteryear’s food rules and be bold with your next seafood meal.
First, remember that “seafood” and even “fish” are very broad categories. Clams don’t taste like salmon. Swordfish tastes different than sole. And since seafood is often served with a sauce, you can often choose the wine based on what would pair well with the sauce. Red snapper with a lobster cream sauce can’t be treated the same as blackened snapper.
Last week, Veritas Wine Room and TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market entertained 80 guests for a “Creatively Paired Seafood & Wine” event. Here is what we learned:
–Seafood runs the gamut from bold and full-flavored to light and mild. Salmon, seared and seasoned scallops, charred oysters, grilled swordfish and tuna…these are full flavored dishes that can stand up to a medium bodied wine like a Pinot Noir.
–Mild flaky white fish, boiled seafood (lobster, shrimp) and fish that’s simply prepared with lemon tend to pair better with lighter wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
–Think about acidity. Why does it taste so good when you spritz a lemon over fresh fish? The acidity in lemon brings out the natural seafood flavors. The same holds true for wine. Heavy or light, red or white, wines with a higher acid content tend to pair well with seafood. High acid wines include sweeter & dry Reislings, Champagnes, Chenin and Sauvignon Blancs, Chablis and some Sakes. Higher acid reds include Valpolicellas, Beaujolais and Italian Barberas.
Keep these in mind…ignore your waiters shock and be bold with the wine you choose to pair with your next seafood meal!
Jon Alexis is the co-owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Catering, 11661 Preston Road, Dallas.