7 Tips and Pairings to Avoid Mistakes

Fish is a delicious food as well as precious for its digestibility, content of high biological value proteins, minerals and vitamins, and for its particular fat composition.
If you are looking for the perfect pairing between white wine and fish, you are in the right place.

The flavors of fish are in fact so varied and different from each other, from molluscs to crustaceans, from blue fish to river fish, that those who are passionate about wine (and food) can indulge in various and enormously satisfying combinations.

The marriage between fish and a glass of wine can transform lunch into an unforgettable experience. Let's see how.

Why do you pair white wine with fish?

Pairing food and wine is a serious matter, there are rules and suggestions to know in order to enjoy the magic of pairing to the fullest.

Still white wine tends to be the preferred choice to accompany fish, and this is for a few reasons. Its light and fresh profile is able to underline the delicate flavors of the fish without covering them.

Furthermore, its acidity perfectly balances the fats of the fish , creating a harmonious balance and sublimating the sensations given by fish and wine when consumed individually. However, it is not a hard and fast rule.

We will explore further whether red wine can find a place on the table where fish is the main dish.

Can red wine be paired with fish?

Traditionally, red wine has been considered a no-go with fish, but the rules are changing and today it is important to dispel the idea that the only pairing is with white.

The choice of wine varies depending on the organoleptic characteristics of the fish, its processing and cooking techniques.

When pairing fish and wine, the game that must be played is that of concordance, so a marriage between fish and red wine certainly holds up with a light and low-alcohol wine , combined with a fish with a rich and full flavour, perhaps well seasoned. Some more robust fish, such as tuna or salmon, can pair perfectly with a good light red or Pinot Noir.

What are the sommeliers' rules for pairing fish and wine?

When choosing wine when preparing fish, the characteristics of the food must be considered, if you start from the dish, and of course the wine.
You play by CONTRAST if:
If the fish preparation is fatty, oily or sweet; in this case the wine must respond with acidity, effervescence and/or tannin. If the preparation of the fish tends towards acidic, bitter or pungent notes, the wine must be soft.

Instead, we play by ANALOGY:
If the preparation of the fish leads to aromatic and spicy sensations or if the dish is particularly structured; in this case the wine must be intense and/or persistent, be aged and/or complex, be alcoholic and/or full-bodied.

7 Tips for Choosing the Right White Wine for Fish

1. Take into consideration the type of fish 🥂

Each type of fish has its own peculiarities. To be clear: sea bass needs a different wine from the one that accompanies salmon .
Some examples to understand the type of fish and their characteristics:
Mackerel belongs to the blue fish group, widespread in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, British Isles and Canary Islands. The meat is pink and has good fat content.
Salmon is typical of the cold seas of the North (Scotland, Norway, Canada); there are different varieties, such as Atlantic, Royal, Red and Silver salmon; It lends itself to different cooking techniques, is tasty and has a good fat content.
The eel is widespread in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Atlantic Seas, its meat is rather fatty, firm, with many bones.
The swordfish is a species that lives in both temperate and tropical areas; its flesh is firm, medium fat, pink in colour.

2. Choose the wine for the fish based on the cooking method of the dishes 🥂

Fish changes its flavor a lot depending on how it is cooked.
For example , grilled fish develops different characteristics compared to fried fish or crudités . For this reason it pairs well with full-bodied and complex whites, aromatic or rosé wines. Some examples: Greco di Tufo, Sylvaner, Sauvignon, Verdicchio di Matelica .

With boiled or steamed fish you can serve dry, young, savory, not very structured wines, even fresh or lively if the dish is accompanied by fatty sauces such as mayonnaise: Vermentino di Sardegna or a Falanghina .

For a soup (guazzetto) or a fish broth we recommend a scented wine or a soft rosé if tomato is also used. Some examples? Grechetto, Coronata Val Polcevera, Sciactrà, Salice Salentino Rosato, Bolgheri Rosato .

If you cook fried food , the dish will be greasier and fatty, so you need an acidic and/or effervescent wine, including for example Pecorino, Erbaluce, Albana, Carricante, Bardolino, Per 'e palummo, Alta langa .

Fish cooked "meunière", i.e. white-fleshed fish coated and browned in butter, prefer dry, young white fish, with good acidity and medium light. For example: Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Torbato, Chardonnay, Italic Riesling, Verdicchio di Jesi, Cortese .

Friulano, Pinot Grigio, Frascati Superiore, Sauvignon, Trebbiano Toscano, Ribolla, Chablis go well with baked fish , ideal for many fish including sea bream , sea bream, mullet and gurnard .

3. Consider the sauces or condiments associated with the dishes 🥂

The sauces or condiments that accompany the fish are another fundamental aspect. These condiments can complement or even transform the flavor of the dish. For example, a butter sauce will require a different wine than an exotic ginger-lime sauce. Therefore, it is important to combine wisely, also considering the sauces if present.

4. Think generally about the menu to taste 🥂

Never forget to consider the menu as a whole. If fish is only part of your meal, make sure the label you choose also fits well with the other dishes served.
If you want a wine that accompanies from starter to main course, here's a valuable tip: bubbles, from Champagne to Prosecco, pair perfectly with a wide range of dishes.

5. Choose a wine with the right acidity 🥂

The acidity of the wine can make a difference, especially if you prepare oily fish. Fatty fish, in fact, like eel for example, requires a wine with good acidity to balance the rich, fatty flavor of the fish. Conversely, for lighter fish, such as trout, a wine with lower acidity can be an excellent choice.

6. Don't be afraid to experiment with your choice of wine 🥂

In this article you will find the general rules but pairing wine and fish can be a great culinary adventure. Daring is not only allowed but also a winner: try different combinations to discover which pairing of fish and wine best satisfies your palate.

7. Ask an expert for advice if you have doubts 🥂

If you're undecided about which wine to choose for your fish lunch, a sommelier can help you find the perfect choice. In fact, sommeliers dedicate much of their training to exploring the art of culinary pairings, so they are able to offer truly informed advice to improve your pairings and your gastronomic experience. If you don't want to make mistakes, purchase a signed Sommelier Wine Box with a selection of niche wines chosen for you: if you wish you can also agree with our sommeliers on the selection based on your dishes.

White wine for fish: classic and original combinations to avoid mistakes

White wines for sushi: which ones to choose?

Sushi is a delicious way to consume raw fish. The good salinity of the sushi and the sweet tendency of the rice are well contrasted by the acidity and freshness in the wine. Try it with a Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc .

Oysters and Champagne: is it really the best pairing?

Oysters, with their aura of refinement and also a symbol of luxury, deeply embody the flavors of the sea and are a true treasure of nutrients (they are rich in iron, for example). When it comes to pairing them with wine, the classic oysters and Champagne is undoubtedly fascinating, but there is a world of other possibilities to explore.

Champagne : Let's start with the classic. The pairing of oysters and Champagne is a safe choice. The freshness and effervescence of Champagne combine beautifully with the delicacy of oysters, creating a combination of flavors that is a triumph of elegance and refinement.

Muscadet : For those who like to explore, Muscadet is another excellent choice and another great classic, even more technically perfect with oysters. This French white wine is known for its brackish and marine aromas, which blend perfectly with the taste of oysters. The high acidity of Muscadet cleanses the palate between bites, preparing for the next tasting.

Riesling : Another wine to consider when paired with oysters is Riesling, even aged. This wine offers intense aromas that contrast surprisingly with the marine flavors of the oysters. The play between sweetness and acidity of a well-balanced Riesling can create a unique harmony.

Vermentino : For an Italian fix, Vermentino is a must-try choice. This wine, often produced in coastal regions, has notes of citrus and a pleasant acidity, which go well with the marine flavor of the oysters.

In summary, the pairing of oysters and Champagne is a timeless classic, but those who love to experiment are welcome.

The best white wines to pair with fish crudités

Raw fish vary based on the type but one thing is certain: the raw preparation allows the salinity to express itself at its best and be clearly perceived. So let's contrast it with the acidity and freshness of the wine. From Champagne to Franciacorta , from Alta Langa to the simplest Prosecco for solutions with bubbles. For one of the many possible suggestions among those arrested: Derthona Timorasso.

What to pair with fried fish

Fish battered and fried is a delicious solution that everyone at the table can agree on. Particularly suitable are small fish including anchovies, mullets, tufts of squid, shrimp, squid rings, gianchetti.
The rule of good pairing between fried fish and wine is simple: since the dish is greasier or fatty, an acidic and/or effervescent wine is needed. Some examples? Pecorino, Erbaluce, Albana, Carricante, Bardolino rosé, Per 'e palummo. Our advice is not to neglect the possibility of a bubble: from Alta Langa to Prosecco you can never go wrong.

Wines for fish first courses

From pasta with clams to fish soup, here are the right ones for fish first courses. In general, to pair pasta with fish, a fresh white is ideal. Let's see in detail the most suitable pairings for the various preparations.

What to pair with seafood pasta

Pasta with seafood is a dish rich in flavors of the sea: the pasta gives a sweet consistency, the fish the flavours, flavor and minerality of the sea. You can indulge in the combinations: a Vermentino with a fresh and mineral flavor that matches the seasoning; even an advanced Chardonnay can complete the creamy flavors of the dish; and again Gavi, Falanghina, Greco di Tufo or Verdejo .

Pairings with first courses based on prawns, prawns and scampi

Prawns, prawns and scampi are united by a sweet tendency. Among the many possible combinations: Vermentino, Soave, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño , up to Pinot Noir or Nerello Mascalese in the richer preparations. In the case of curry preparation, the advice is to uncork an excellent bottle of Gewürztraminer .

The best wines for a fish soup

What to pair with a nice fish soup? The dish can be delicate and slightly savory as well as strong and spicy. You therefore have many possibilities: from an aromatic or fruity white to a medium-bodied still red. Some examples are Sauvignon, White Tai, Merlot .

Wines to pair with fish main courses with salmon, tuna and swordfish

SALMON , which is a fatty fish with a rich flavour, pairs perfectly with a white wine aged in wood and with a beautiful structure, such as a long-aged Chardonnay from Burgundy . Alternatively, try an excellent rosé. But be careful: if the salmon is smoked, aromatic wines are needed, very fragrant for example Riesling or Gewürztraminer .

TUNA is semi-fatty but equally intense in aroma and flavour: excellent whites and bubbles with a certain structure but an excellent light red or Pinot Noir should not be excluded.

SWORDFISH is very rich in proteins, semi-fatty, which lends itself to many experiments when combined. You need a fresh wine that cleans the mouth and not too light, because it must be able to balance the intense aromas and flavors of the fish. A Franciacorta or Etna rosé , still or sparkling, are excellent possibilities.

The ideal wines for tasting fish with white meat and a delicate flavour

For fish with white meat and a delicate flavour, choose a young and fruity white wine , with a fair amount of acidity. It will be a combination that does not overpower but rather enhances your dish. Some suggestions: Vermentino, Greco di Tufo, Sauvignon del Friuli, Fiano di Avellino .

FAQ on pairings between wine and fish 🦈

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