Wine Pairing 101: The Best Wines to Pair with Seafood

A glass of wine with a delicious seafood lunch or dinner is almost cliché, but we pair the two for a reason. Whether white or red, rosé or brut, the right wine takes your seafood experience to another level.

When considering your seafood, you have to know three things: the intensity of flavor, the texture of the meat and if it’s a heavy or light fish. For the wine, you also need to know the color, the sweetness and whether or not you want sparkling or still. Based on these traits, we’ve come up with four perfect pairings you can impress your friends with at your next dinner party.

Dry Riesling With Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is rich in flavor. Considering the notes of fire and smoke that accompany it, smoked salmon should be paired with something dry that has a truly balanced acidity. A dry riesling is the perfect companion. The refreshing white wine enriches the smoked salmon’s earthy flavor rather than overwhelming it with sweet, acidic notes. Still, avoid medium dry and sweeter rieslings.

Sauvignon Blanc With Zesty Tilapia

white wine pairing seafood

When it comes to light, zesty Tilapia, try pairing it with a sauvignon blanc. Depending on the ripeness of the grapes, the wine will carry hints of green apple, passion fruit and white peach. With such green and herbaceous flavors, this wine pairs seamlessly with a bright Tilapia recipe such as Regal Springs’ spicy ceviche. Elements of the wine should always share similar characteristics with the food on your plate, and when it comes to citrus and acidity, a sauvignon blanc will be your ideal match.

Pinot Noir with Oven Roasted Herring

Herring, much like tuna, is a heavy fish. It can almost be compared to steak, which is why a medium to full bodied wine is ideal for pairing. With its warm, fruity flavors, a medium bodied pinot noir works well with an oven-roasted herring. While it may seem like a heavy meal, the pairing allows for the wine and herring to balance each other out without leaving you feeling too full.

Gamay with Grilled Salmon

red wine pairing seafood

Grilled salmon during the summer should be a backyard staple for anyone who enjoys seafood. Gamay is a light- to medium-bodied wine that contains low tannins and high acid. As long as whatever you’re cooking comes off a grill and is mildly sweet in flavor, this wine is ideal. Not feeling salmon? Try this recipe for grilled Tilapia with mango salsa. For a lighter, more traditional pairing, choose a zinfandel or rosé that will complement the char and smokiness of the grilled fish.

Seafood and wine go together like peanut butter and jelly—so long as you choose the right one. These four pairings will work flawlessly the next time you decide to serve a bottle of wine with a delicious plate of fish. Remember to sip slowly and let the flavors do all the work.

Photos: Jay Wennington, Thomas Martinsen, brtinney