Lets set the scene, you’ve prepared a romantic candlelit fish dinner to wow your other (possibly better) half on Valentines Day, the atmospheres just right, conversations flowing, the food is perfect, but the wine, the wine just doesn’t seem to be going down as well. But why?
What wine is best to pair with fish? In an effort to find a good drop with your special meal you will often be confronted with snobby and, often, meaningless words such as ‘terroir’, ‘minerality’, ‘mouthfeel’, ‘volatile acidity’ and ‘quaffability.’
As a very general rule, fish is paired with white wine. But some fish pair very well with rosés and lighter reds.
The most important thing is matching the weight and texture of the wine with the fish. Also, although we’re giving suggestions below for wine based on the type of fish, you can also consider the strength of the sauce you’re using and the accompaniments when deciding how full bodied your wine should be.
There is a lot of overlap with some wines working well with different types of fish and you can experiment to find what works best for you. This is only a rough guide and there are no wrong and rights when it comes to pairing wine with fish. If you like it, it works!
Mild flavoured fish with thin fillets such as sea bass and lemon sole pair well with lighter white wines such as Italian Pinot grigio, Greek whites, Sauvignon blanc from France and French Chardonnay and Champagne.
Medium flavoured fish with thicker fillets and large flakes go well aromatic and full bodied wines like New Zealand Sauvignon blanc, white Rioja, Sémillon and Pinot gris. Most fish fall under this category and include species like trout, ray, cod, hake, haddock, redfish, coley, ling and halibut.
Meatier fish like monkfish, salmon, swordfish and tuna like a meatier wine. They pair well with stronger tasting wines like oaked Chardonnay, dry Lambrusco, vintage Champagne, dry rosé, Italian Chardonnay and white Côtes du Rhône.
Very strongly flavoured fish like mackerel and sardines (very high in umami, the fifth taste) can be paired with Greek red wines, dry Riesling, cava and dry rosé. These wines, along with vintage Champagne also work well with smoked fish such as salmon and trout.
With all that in mind we hope you have a lovely day and your Valentines Day meal helps you sweep your valentine off their feet.