Wines for Festive Fish

December 14th, 2023 | Mary Domange

It's true that there is many a sublime pairing between white wine and the light fragrant flavours of fish, but there are plenty of options for red wine lovers too. We also take a look at our top wine picks for classic smoked salmon and prawns.

Best wines to drink with fish

As with all things wine related, so much depends on the way in which the fish and shellfish are prepared. Someone once told me that you should never drink red wine with octopus, which, if I had adhered to it, would have robbed me of the joy of eating a bowl of heartwarming octopus stew in a deeply aromatic tomato sauce, alongside a deliciously spicy bottle of Rioja.

As always - wine pairing is about matching the food with the wine so that both work to complement the other. I can see that a purist would shudder at the thought of a delicate fillet of sole being washed down with a bottle of Primitivo or Malbec, but if white wine isn't your thing, you have options that would neither drown out the flavours of the fish, nor have any adverse impact on the wine.

The basic rule of thumb if you would like to drink red wine with fish, is to go for the lighter styles made from Pinot Noir or Gamay, for example, and wines that are a little lower in alcohol and benefit from being served slightly cool perhaps - such as a good Beaujolais.

If you prefer a white wine with fish - which is after all a classic combination - the world really is your oyster!

Click here to view our collection of white wines and take your pick. Remember to match the flavour profile of the wine with the qualities of the food - the richer the dish, the richer the wine should be to stand up to it.

In the meantime, let's start with the controvertial...

Red wine for fish

Best budget red wine for fish

Sangiovese Rubicon IGP 2022 Torre Gaggio

Best mid range red wine for fish

Anjoy Gamay AOC 2022, Domaine des Barres

Fine red wine for fish

Beaujolais Les Seves Cuvée 111B AOP 2028, Renaud Bodillard

Extra Special red wine for fish

St Roko 2017, Saint Hills

What to drink with Smoked Salmon

Open-minded though I am about wine, I do prefer drinking white wine or sparkling wine with certain food - and smoked salmon is one of them. I feel that the fish needs the relatively high acidity present in white wines and sparkling wines to cut through the richness of the fish and to bring out the best in both. Clearly there are more choices in these categories than I could fit into this space, so here are just a few of my favourites.

Best budget wine for smoked salmon

Saint Laurand Collection Privee, Les celliers de Corneille

Best budget sparkling wine for smoked salmon

Bianco Spumante Extra Dry, Villa Doral

Best mid range wine for smoked salmon

Colombard-Sauvignon Cotes de Gascogne IGP 202

Best mid range sparkling wine for smoked salmon

Methode Traditionnelle AOC Cuvee Signee, Domaine R de la Grange

Best fine wine for smoked salmon

Menetou-Salon Blanc Les Chamblins AOC 2022, Domaine Raimbault

Best Champagne for smoked salmon

Champagne Francoise Monay Rosé Champagne

Extra special wine for smoked salmon

Pouilly-Fuissé AOP 1er Cru En Servy 2020, Denis Bouchacourt

What to drink with prawns

Rarely a Christmas goes by without a prawn touching my lips and when pairing wine with prawns - it's useful to think about white wines and sparkling wines which are a little richer and more full bodied than those you might select to drink with smoked salmon.

Best budget wine for prawns

El Pinar de Villena Blanco 2023, Las Virtudes

Best budget sparkling wine for prawns

Bianco Spumante Extra Dry, Villa Doral

Best mid range wine for prawns

Duché d'Uzes White AOP 2022, Famille Montescaud

Best mid range sparkling wine for prawns

Methode Traditionnelle Cuvée Signée rosé, Domaine R de la Grange

Best fine wine for prawns

Chablis AOC 2022, Jean-Pierre Ellevin

Best Champagne for prawns

Champagne Francoise Monay Brut

Extra special wine for prawns

Condrieu AOP 2021, Domaine Christophe Pichon

When matching wines with other seafoods, apply the same rules as above. Anything that works with prawns will work equally well with scallops, crab and lobster for example.

And as they came into it earlier in this piece...

What to drink with oysters

If I could only choose one wine to go with beautiful sea fresh, iodine heavy oysters, it would be this.

Muscadet Sevre & Maine AOC sur Lie Vieilles Vignes 2022, Domaine R de la Grange

As always - there are plenty of other options, never hesitate to get in touch for ideas or suggestions on pairing wine with food.

Wines for fish and shellfish

And yes - we have included some red wines that work well with fish dishes
Sangiovese Rubicone IGP 2022, Torre Gaggio
Sangiovese Rubicone IGP 2022, Torre Gaggio
£13.20
£13.20
SangioveseItalyEmilia Romagna11%Light & Fruity
New
Anjou Gamay AOC 2022, Domaine des Barres
Anjou Gamay AOC 2022, Domaine des Barres
£14.20
£14.20
GamayFranceLoire Valley12.5%Soft & Fruity
Sold Out
Beaujolais Les Seves Cuvée IIIB AOP 2018, Renaud Bodillard
Beaujolais Les Seves Cuvée IIIB AOP 2018, Renaud Bodillard
£18.15
Fully organic small production
£18.15
GamayFranceBeaujolais13%Soft & Fruity
New
St Roko Saint Hills Croatian Red Wine Plavac Mali
St Roko 2017, Saint Hills
£35.40
Limited stock
£35.40
Plavac MaliCroatiaDingač12%Elegant & Harmonious
Saint Laurand Collection Privée VdF 2022 White, Les Celliers de Corneille
Saint Laurand Collection Privée VdF 2022 White, Les Celliers de Corneille
£10.40
£10.40
Ugni BlancFranceLanguedoc11.5%Bright & Fresh
Colombard Sauvignon Côtes de Gascogne IGP 2019 - Wine at Home
Colombard-Sauvignon Côtes de Gascogne IGP 2021, Domaine de l'Estrade
£12.90
£12.90
Colombard, SauvignonFranceSouth West11.5%Crisp & Fresh
Menetou-Salon Blanc Les Chamblins AOC 2022, Domaine Raimbault Pineau
Menetou-Salon Blanc Les Chamblins AOC 2022, Domaine Raimbault Pineau
£22.30
£22.30
Sauvignon BlancFranceLoire Valley12.5%Fresh & Crisp
Pouilly-Fuissé AOP 1er Cru En Servy 2020, Denis Bouchacourt
Pouilly-Fuissé AOP 1er Cru En Servy 2020, Denis Bouchacourt
£45.50
Tiny production - only available on allocation
£45.50
ChardonnayFranceBurgundy13%Elegant & Complex

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