Whether you want to impress your guests at your next dinner or simply want to enjoy your food to the fullest, knowing how to pair wine with your protein matters. But one of the foods that can often cause confusion trying to find the right wine is fish.
While the standard belief is that most white wines complement fish, the reality is certain types of white wine work best with certain types of fish. And believe it or not, in some cases a red wine may even be a better match. In this post, you will learn all about wine and fish pairing, so you can take your culinary experience to the next level.
What Red Wines Go With Fish?
Most wine enthusiasts live by the age-old standard that red wine goes with meat and white wine goes with fish. The reason is because red wine’s higher iron content doesn’t complement the lighter and more subtle flavor profiles of fish. But despite this old belief, there are some instances where a red wine might make complete sense with a fish dish.
For instance, a red wine like Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Zinfandel pair beautifully with bolder tasting fish like salmon or tuna. Salmon and tuna are two types of fish that are known for their “fishy” taste and smell, and the fruitiness and fresh taste of these wines are effective at smoothing that “fishiness” down. Sea bass is another fish that can go well with red wine, in particular Gamay, due to its low tannin content and high acidity.
What White Wines Go With Fish?
Fish can be served a myriad of ways and often, the way the fish is cooked can impact which white wine will complement it. For instance, if you are serving fried fish, then pairing it with a sparkling white wine like Prosecco will allow its crisp, citrusy sweetness to cut through the saltiness of the fried fish.
If you are preparing a spicy fish dish, like spicy fish tacos, then the sweet and mild flavor of a Moscato will help to cool down your palate. Meanwhile, oily fish like mackerel taste best when paired with a more acidic white wine like Pinot Gris.
While tuna pairs well with red wine, it also pairs well with white, especially White Zinfandel. When these two are enjoyed together, the fish brings out some of the wine’s hidden flavors. If you prefer mild, flaky white fish like tilapia, flounder, or halibut, then serving a French Sauvignon Blanc is the right choice because this wine’s flavor profile can include a fresh herb taste that enhances the flavor of the fish.
When creating your wine and fish pairings for an upcoming dinner party, you should always prepare the dish you are planning on serving in advance and try it out with a variety of different wines. This will help you learn more about how the fish affects the taste of wine and vice-versa, and help you feel confident that your guests will enjoy your meal to the fullest.