Wine and Fish...Mythbusters!
White wine with fish; Red wine with meat.
"White wine and fish...red wine with meat."
While this guideline is overall very sound, and one that those new to wine will find helpful - it’s also overall very boring.
And since the wine world is anything but boring, it follows that any rigid rule in the wine world is meant to sometimes be broken. (Unless of course you want to eat the same food with the same wine an entire lifetime!)
But I think it’s safe to say that most people, after exploring their preferences and tastes, want to explore wine and food pairings beyond the basics.
To start, let’s expand this wine pairing rule by incorporating new possible pairings:
- a grilled salmon steak, with its thick and oily flakes of pink meat, is probably better appreciated with a light-bodied red, like a Pinot Noir or a Chambourcin, rather than a white. Even a rose may win your heart!
- veal and pork are two neutral meats that can be paired with countless wines from both the red and white categories - in these cases, the prepared sauces will probably dictate the end pairing.
- artichokes? the eternal pairing dilemma. this finicky vegetable puts up a hard fight indeed - if you find a great recipe and pairing with artichokes, let us know!
- Everyone is curious about chocolate wine pairing...
Salmon with white wine. Salmon with red wine.
Let’s take salmon for example, a fish like all the rest. If we were to follow the white wine with fish mantra, we’d fail to see the endless possibilities:
Below are some potential salmon recipes to help us think out of the old rut:
- Grilled salmon, with its slightly charred skin and smokey meat, pairs well with a low-tone Zinfandel, a Malbec, or a spicy Barbera.
- Poached salmon on the other hand, conjures up a completely different dish - and a completely different wine. Poached salmon accentuates the naturally oily and moist meat, yet softens the fishy flavors. In this such case, a rich and buttery Chardonnay can best complement the rich and buttery salmon meat.
- On the other hand, salmon cooked on cedar planks picks up an entirely different aroma and flavor - and so an oak-aged Chardonnay may clash with the cedar-infused salmon meat. Instead, head for a red wine the holds a good punch, like a jovial Syrah or a New World melange with contenders like Cabernet Sauvignon with Chambourcin or Barbera.
As we can see, how you cook salmon ultimately determines how you pair with it. The weight and body of the wine should parallel the richness of the salmon meat, as well as the complexity of the sauce and preparation chosen.
Whatever you end up choosing for your salmon wine pairing, simply keep in mind that the wine must have the right acidity, body, and depth in flavor to pair up to this mighty pink fish.
So while the old 'white wine and fish' rule remains sound advice, it's clear that so much more goes into a good wine pairing than what food group and what color wine we're considering. For more seafood and wine suggestions beyond salmon, check out these other five fabulous seafoods with wine.
Go out and explore!
Let us know what great wine and food pairings you've come up with as well!
To start with some of ours...check out the pages below:
Wine and Food Pairing Demystifiers:
rose wine and food pairings
seafood with wine
pale red wine versus bold red wine
perfect pasta and wine pairings
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