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Monday, September 13, 2010

Wine Cents Guide: Wine and Seafood Pairings

by Winecents

Photo: celebrations.com

Seafood preparation alone can be intimidating, not to mention finding the perfect wine and food pairings. But with the following guide to wine and seafood pairings, you can wow your next dinner guests with expert knowledge and a flavorful flair.

When it comes to fish and seafood, white wine is generally considered the best standby, with the exact variety dependent upon the type and flavor of the dish. For simple dishes with lean white fish, dry white wines like Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio are a good bet. These will work well with tilapia, flounder, halibut and oysters, to name a few.

Those who prefer a more delicate wine for more delicate fish like the tilapia might try the Fune Blanc or Orvieto. With hints of apple overtones, these wines tantalize the taste buds when paired with a simply prepared lean white fish. 

Exercise the versatility of dry white wines by also pairing them with fattier, meatier fish such as sea bass, catfish or lobster. These dry wines hold their own against the natural, fatty and meaty flavors of these heavier fish. More full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay or Viognier also work well with the meatier fish, as well as oilier fish. 

Planning to cook shellfish like clams or scallops? Try a light, slightly sweet wine like pinot grigio, the Spanish-produced Albarino or the Portuguese Verdelho. For spicier Thai or Vietnamese seafood dishes, opt for fuller, slightly sweet wines like Riesling or Roussane.

Alternative wine and seafood pairings

White wines are by no means the be-all, end-all of the seafood world. Light reds can work just as well for certain types of meatier, fatty fish that pack a flavorful punch. Lobster, tuna, salmon and swordfish, for instance, pair well with Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, or Chianti when prepared in a simple, non-spicy manner or in a tomato-based sauce.

Ros├ęs are another good choice for heavily saucy seafood dishes and tomato-based seafood dishes. Blush wines are the perfect go-to for in-between dishes too heavy for whites but not quite full red-friendly either. These wines also make a nice light seasonal wine to complement popular summer dishes like tuna steak.

Lastly, sparkling wines pair well with fried seafood, though it is perhaps an unexpected combination for novice wine enthusiasts. The first resort for many diners in this category is a light beer, as wine tends to fall flat in the shadow of heavily battered foods. However, bubbly sparkling wine is just fizzy enough to hold its own against fried seafood dishes "�" and it"��s a healthier alternative to beer! Along those lines, another unexpected pairing option for sparkling wine is caviar.


Of all the wine and food pairings, seafood presents some of the most exciting choices. The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to types of seafood on the market and preparation options for each. But don"��t just settle for a food adventure alone! Dive into the wonderful world of wine to make the entire seafood experience more fun and flavorful.

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