From succulent shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams to flaky flounder, grouper, snapper + mahi, Spring is the perfect time to explore the utter delights of pairing wine and seafood. The classic tenet “white wine with fish” just doesn’t seem to capture all the nuances of flavor and texture that can make these combinations so truly exceptional. And this isn’t exclusively white wine territory either! Rosés and reds are definitely included.
The following ten wines cover ALL the seafood bases and whether you prefer briny oysters on the half shell or seared pumpkin swordfish with Romesco sauce, I’ve got great options for you. I hope you enjoy exploring these delicious combinations and please let me know your favorite in the comments section below.
1.) Bodegas La Caña Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain ($18): This vinous gem hails from a boutique winery located on the Northeast coast of Spain in close proximity to the Atlantic ocean. As a result, it’s a natural match for just about anything plucked from the sea! It’s vibrant notes of lime blossom, white peach, green apple + minerals pair especially well with grilled octopus, shrimp and/or flaky white fish like snapper, cod or halibut.
2.) Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino IGT, Tuscany, Italy ($20): Hailing from the coastal Maremma zone of Southern Tuscany, this bright, lively white wine is the vinous equivalent of a squeeze of lemon with its lively acidity + vibrant citrus notes! Pair it with just about any fish dish you’d enjoy lemon on like fried calamari, crab cakes and/or shrimp and your palate is in for a real treat.
3.) Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc, Wairarapa, New Zealand ($22): This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Martinborough district of New Zealand’s North Island is fermented entirely in stainless steel resulting in a wine with alluring notes of citrus, white flowers + stone fruit. On the palate, layered flavors of white peach, pear + lemon meringue are accentuated by a zesty, juicy acidity that make it perfect or pairing with the delicate flavors of shellfish like raw oysters, steamed clams and/or mussels.
4.) Truchard Vineyads Roussanne, Carneros, California ($25): Originally from France’s Rhone Valley, the Roussanne grape produces aromatic, viscous white wines in the Carneros region of California as well. Its aromas and flavors of white flowers, pear, minerals and tropical fruit accentuated by notes of brioche and vanilla make it the perfect pairing for seafood with a hint of sweetness such as plump scallops, clams, stone crabs and/or lobster.
5.) Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, Napa, California ($23): Introduced by Robert Mondavi in 1968, Fumé Blanc, is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that’s fermented in a percentage of oak for added depth and complexity. This wine exhibits refreshing notes of lime blossom, citrus, juicy peach, fresh melon and a hint of jasmine along with a rich texture and lengthy finish. It’s perfect for pairing with heartier seafood dishes such as lemon capellini with caviar, linguine with clam sauce and/or seafood gratin.
6.) King Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($18): If oily fish like salmon and mackerel are your jam you probably know how challenging it can be to find the right wine pairing. And while many people love to pair them with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris can make a much better match. The gorgeous viscosity of Pinot Gris more closely echoes the delightful, oily texture of the fish.
7.) Rock Angel Cotes de Provence Rose, Provence, France ($32): This delightful rosé is made of primarily Grenache and Rolle but, unlike it’s little sister Whispering Angel, it received a kiss of oak that resulting in a fuller bodied wine with more complex aromas and flavors of red berries, citrus, strawberry and rose with a hint of spice. It’s also perfect for pairing with heartier fish dishes like grilled swordfish or tuna steaks as well as tomato-based seafood dished like bouillabaisse.
8.) Craggy Range Pinot Noir Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand ($25): By definition, Pinot Noir is on the lighter end of the red wine spectrum and this incarnation embodies all of this coveted grape’s best qualities! With notes of black cherry, strawberry and cola accompanied by earthy tannins, this wine is a perfect pairing for salmon, tuna, marlin, swordfish, mackerel, bluefish or other fatty, meaty, big-flavored fish.
9.) Cune Rioja Crianza, Rioja, Spain ($14): This delightful blend of 85% Tempranillo, the signature red grape of Rioja, and 15% Garnacha Tinto and Mazuelo, was aged in American oak barrels resulting in a wine with savory aromas and flavors of tart cherry, plum, cocoa and clove accompanied by supple, earthy tannins. It’s a natural match for grilled or smoked fish dishes like fish dip or fish served with a Romesco sauce.
10.) Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes Côte de Brouilly Cuvée de Ambassades, Burgundy, France ($24): Cru Beaujolais (not Beaujolais Nouveau) like this stylish, under-the-radar gem are fabulous choices to pair with meaty, full-flavored fish and seafood dishes. Made from the Gamay grape, this medium-bodied, stylish red displays alluring notes of black cherry, plum, violet and cassis accompanied by light, supple tannins that are key to its ability to pair so well with food.