Red Wine with Fish? Go Ahead, Break Some Rules

Go on, think outside the winebox. Color outside the lines for once. Do something daring like pairing red wine with fish (gasp). Like wearing white after Labor Day or wearing stripes with plaid, the old trope “white wine with fish, red wine with meat” is as outdated as shopping malls and land lines.

Pairing Basics

Wine Enthusiast magazine explains the importance of texture, which is defined by cooking method, when pairing wine with seafood. The same fish prepared differently could go with either red or white -- it all depends on how you cook it and what texture it obtains. A heartier fish cooked in the oven, like a roasted salmon, could work well with a red. A silky salmon that was poached in olive oil, on the other hand, would work better with white. Oh, and skip the lemon if you are serving red wine; acidity clashes with the tannins and makes it taste… well, yucky.

What Type of Red Wine Goes Best with Fish?

So you’re not a sommelier. None of us are either. But for the novice, you can hardly go wrong with a Pinot Noir. Stay away form big, fruity wine like zinfandel. And if you are just looking to dip your toe into this rule-breaking scenario, there are a lot of crisp rosés out there that would fit the bill nicely.

What About Beer?

But what about beer? Beer goes with fishing, but does it go with fish? You bet it does. Reach beyond the standard light American lagers and embrace the wide wonderful world of craft beers. Just a quick sweep of your grocery store beer case will reveal a wide range of beers with different characteristics. From the black toasted stouts, to the IPA’s and Hefeweizens, there’s one to pair with every fish. And not just fish and chips. Try a hazy hefeweizen with sautéed fish with lemon, a brown ale with shellfish or a fruity IPA (We like the Elysian Dayglow) alongside a Pokè bowl. The rule for pairing wine, beer, liquor or even soft drinks with seafood is that there are no rules, and it’s not as complex as you might think. Experiment. Why not order a Sea to Table’s Fish Lover’s Box, which contains many different flavors and textures of seafood from salmon to shrimp. Cheers!


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