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
Best mid range red wine for fish
Fine red wine for fish
Extra Special red wine for fish
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
Best budget sparkling wine for smoked salmon
Best mid range wine for smoked salmon
Best mid range sparkling wine for smoked salmon
Best fine wine for smoked salmon
Menetou-Salon Blanc Les Chamblins AOC 2022, Domaine Raimbault
Best Champagne for smoked salmon
Extra special wine for smoked salmon
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
Best budget sparkling wine for prawns
Best mid range wine for prawns
Best mid range sparkling wine for prawns
Best fine wine for prawns
Best Champagne for prawns
Champagne Francoise Monay Brut
Extra special wine for prawns
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.
As always - there are plenty of other options, never hesitate to get in touch for ideas or suggestions on pairing wine with food.