Pairing wine and fish to create the best dish


Seafood and white wine have always been a traditional pairing. But choosing the right type of wine can make all the difference when enjoying your dish. Below is advice for the best wine selections to complement different types of fish.

White, lean and flaky fish

Types of fish that are white, lean, and flaky include flounder, tilapia, rainbow trout, and red snapper. An unoaked Californian Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc is a great pairing with flounder and trout. Something a little less dry such as Riesling will go well with tilapia. However, switching to a red like Merlot will nicely complement a dish with red snapper.

White, firm, and oil rich

Fish that fall in this category tend to include albacore tuna, Chilean sea bass, pacific sable fish, and California white sea bass. White Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay are all great pairings for sea bass. If you are eating a firm tuna, try opting for a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir.

Medium and oil rich

Salmon is a popular item in this category, including both Sockeye and coho salmon. Other fish in this group are Arctic char and Hawaiian kampachi. Because salmon is a meaty fish, it often goes well with a nice red. Pinot Nior is a favorite for salmon, but if you prefer white, Pinot Gris is also a great choice.

White, lean, and firm

This includes popular items like cod, catfish, halibut, and swordfish. Pinot Gris and Pinot Nior from Oregon are great pairings for cod and hallibut. Pinot Nior in particular is a great option when eating a dish containing swordfish.

Dark and oil rich

This category contains fish such as grey mullet, tuna, anchovies, and sardines. For tuna dishes, a light red wine is best. Popular wines to drink with tuna include a light Burgandy or even a good rose. More fruitful flavored wines are generally the best to complement tuna. Anchovies and sardines generally go well with Sauvignons, Rieslings and any White Bordeaux.


Some of the most popular types of shell fish are crab, oysters, lobster, and mussels. Although the category of shellfish contains a wide variety of items, sticking to white wines are key. A good option for crab is a buttery Chardonnay. In many cases, you can use the same wines for both crab and oysters. Although Oysters are commonly paired with champagne, anything that comes from a Chardonnay grape, such as Chablis will also be a nice complement. As for a lobster dish, a White Burgandy is a god choice to complement any cream-based dishes. However, a dry fruit-flavored Sauvignon Blanc is a popular and delicious wine to pair with any mussel type of shellfish.

Paying attention to the weight, toughness and color of your seafood is always more important than the complementary sauces or spices when trying to find the perfect wine to pair to go with your dish. Although a white has been an old standby for serving fish, choosing the right type of white, or even red, can make all the difference in enjoying your seafood. All of the wines above can be found in your local state store and can be purchased for a bargain. Better yet, they are all delicious and go great with fish.


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