Pairing Wine with Seafood



Friday March 6, 2015 Author: Adrian Categories:



Seafood dishes today range from light with a touch of citrus to rich and savory. While citrus is one of the popular choices to flavor seafood dishes, some dishes are also prepared with tomato sauce and other delectable ingredients. Even though white wine is the typical go-to pairing for seafood dishes, you still have a variety of options to consider.

  • Clams or Mussels – If you’re eating these shellfish plain steamed, go for a Sauvignon Blanc. For clams or mussels in a cream sauce, try a lightly-oaked California Chardonnay. If the dishes already have a wine sauce, go for a better version of the wine used in the sauce. Needless to say, that’ll be a perfect match.
  • Spicy Seafood Dishes – Asian seafood dishes are often the spiciest and consist of flavors such as sesame, ginger, pepper and more. Your experience with spicy seafood dishes can be improved when paired with wines that have a lingering sweetness to them, such as Riesling, Marsanne and Rousanne.
  • Fish Dishes with Butter Sauce – Rich, creamy butter sauce is a delicious accent that is often part of a flaky white fish dishes. Choose an oaky Chardonnay in order to match the full-bodied dish.
  • Crab Cakes – This popular side dish and appetizer is filled with a variety of ingredients that makes the flavor incredible. You will want to choose a wine that will bring out the notes of sweetness in the crabmeat. Choose a semisweet Riesling to achieve the perfect match. If they’re baked, you can also try pairing them with Chardonnay. This will add some body to the dish and provide buttery notes.
  • Fried seafood dishes – Most wines lose their unique flavor when paired with fried dishes like shrimp tempura. The solution is having sparkling wine as your drink of choice. The bubbles cut through the weight of the fried food making it a perfect combination.
  • White fish – When eating lean, white fish, like flounder, snapper or halibut, choose wines that are dry and crisp like Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Big-flavored fish – Fish, like tuna, salmon and swordfish, that are fatty and meaty go best with light red wines. Try pairing them with a Pinor Noir or Gamay.

General rules of thumb: Don’t pair spicy seafood dishes with red wines, instead pair them with fuller whites that have some sweetness. Also, try to match full-bodied wines with full-bodied seafood dishes.

The next time you are ordering some seafood at your favorite restaurant, be sure to try these excellent pairings. It will give you an entirely new experience with the dish. Remember to explore your options and savor every sip of wine as you indulge in your favorite fish dishes.


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