Wine & Food

Snooth User: dmcker

Seafood and Red Wine

Posted by dmcker, Oct 29, 2009.

Would be interested in hearing from people here about any redwine and fish, crustacean, mollusk, etc. combinations they/you have found to work successfully. Having been initiated at the beginning of my wine tippling into the traditional white-for-fish, red-for-meat school of thought, I've since found that several reds and roses can work just fine with certain fish, though I still usually drink whites with seafood. One combination that works just fine for me is a lighter pinot noir with salmon and other oily fish (a Swiss pinot from Valais with smoked sea bass is one of my favorite meals in Genea...).

What prompted me to start this thread was an article I just read about research out of Japan on why people don't like the 'fishiness' that results from drinking reds with higher *iron* (!) content when eating fish.

Kinda interesting that they chose scallops for the seafood used in the test. Wonder what reds they were using....

1 2 3 next


Reply by GregT, Oct 29, 2009.

I don't think about it all that often. But with rice that's full of chicken and seafood, a la paella, I always found Rioja to work wonderfully. I imagine a sangiovese based wine would be fine too. What I don't think really works well is a fruity wine like an Australian grenache or zin. But Chinon and some Cotes du Rhones and some of the Touraines I tried today work really well. Swiss pinot is along those lines too.

Reply by Charles Emilio, Oct 29, 2009.

I found this quote at

" At a recent tasting in an upmarket restaurant, a French sommelier chose a Pinotage, chilled to 12ºC, as the ideal companion to oysters! "

Reply by D9sus4, Oct 30, 2009.

When I lived in Spain, many years ago, I drank red wine with my seafood like everyone else there does. I still do, but I tend to like red fish like salmon or tuna, which I usually grill. Or shrimp cooked Spanish style in olive oil and lots of fresh garlic (Gambas al Ajillo). Here's the recipe, but I quadruple the garlic when I make it:

Rules are for people who need them. But, if I ruled the world...

Reply by Philip James, Oct 30, 2009.

I had a pinot noir with a peppery shrimp fettuccine last night - it was ok, but the pinot was too sweet and didnt work that well. The shimp was quite spicy, so would have worked better with a drier wine - a fuller bodied one would have been fine as well.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 30, 2009.

Pinot and Salmon
Syrah and Skate
Grilled Tuna and Pelaverga
Braised Tuna and Barbera
Grilled Octopus and aged Barolo

I think there are many specific wines that have worked well with certain seafood dishes for me. It does, however, get difficult to make a blanket statement recommending red wines with fish.

Reply by Robert Dallas Gray, Oct 30, 2009.

Add trout to the salmon with Pinot - I actually think trout works even better. If it's provencal, you can even go to something from the southern Rhone or Midi.

I have to admit, though, I've never found a red that works with shellfish (mollusc or crustacean). Seems almost perverse to try, when you have a wealth of different whites that work just perfectly.

Reply by D9sus4, Nov 3, 2009.

re:Reply by Robert Johnston, Oct 30.
"I have to admit, though, I've never found a red that works with shellfish (mollusc or crustacean)."

Robert, I've been serving hearty reds with spicy shrimp dishes and seafood paella for years and never had a complaint. I usually prefer to serve a rustic red like a Granacha, or a Southern Rhone wine.

Reply by Robert Dallas Gray, Nov 4, 2009.

Oh yeah, that makes total sense. I guess I was meaning shellfish au naturel as it were -- blanched langoustines, moules mariniére, oysters. That's what pops into my head when I think shellfish. But yeah, piri piri prawns or even grilled langoustines, anything with a bit more added flavour, Spanish reds would go great.

Reply by D9sus4, Nov 6, 2009.

Langoustines, oysters... Murphy's or Guiness Stout... can we call these barley wines?

Reply by TL NJ, Nov 6, 2009.

Dmckr - the shellfish is so hard to pair with reds, it just seems to go so perfectly with the whites. However, I've taken down some very good suggestions folks have written for you here, include the one you posted about the Swiss pinot!.

I dont know if you tried this or not - but consider the Dolcetto di Dogliani. It is a very light, food friendly red - slightly higher on the "bold" scale than a gamay, but still a bit lighter than some of the pinots and barberas. It is one of my favorite reds to pair with seafood, and just one of my favorites reds period. They do make some nice dolcettos from Alba as well, but I've found that the Dogliani region to be the friendliest with seafood.

Look for Francesco Boschis, Pecchenino, or Bruno Porro. I've also learned that the state of Oregon is starting to experiment with Dolcettos, but I have neither found them or tried them yet.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. It works well for me, im really curious to see how it does for others.


Reply by GregT, Nov 6, 2009.

Picked up some baby octopus today and cooked it with some yellow tomatoes from the garden and I'm drinking a red from Mallorca that's a blend of callet, monte negro, cab franc, merlot, and syrah. It's working quite well.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 6, 2009.

Am curious to try more wines from Mallorca, Greg. Any you can recommend?

And yes, red wine with octopus was something I forgot to include in my list at top as one of my favorites. Perhaps I've been feeling guilty about eating them since I always enjoy watching their intelligent behavior when diving (had a smaller octopus grab onto my arm on a night dive this past summer as a way to escape from a hunting sea turtle...). Or not, but I'm also thinking of exploring the limits of squid ink dishes with reds, soon, too....

Reply by atonalprime, Nov 7, 2009.

I just had a debate with a friend who was in disbelief that red wine would work with seafood (and I think he just got back from Spain and south France???) I had even shown him the ScienceNow article, but he refused to believe it would work, even without iron in the wine. The good thing is that now he's committed to buying 2 portions of fish and 2 bottles of wine so that I can cook something that works! Hurray for free wine!

Reply by GregT, Nov 7, 2009.

But your friend must have some reason for his belief, no? Generally it has to do with intensity of flavor and texture. So fresh trout or lake perch, which are basically flavorless fish, would be lost with a big red or even a big white. On the other hand, tuna or swordfish are a lot closer to pork. Shellfish also run the gamut from delicate scallops to sea snails, and then there are squid and octopus that just seem to go really well with tomatoes and garlic and red wine.

dmucker - congrats for saving that little octopus. Now I feel like I ate a puppy. Thanks for the extra dose of guilt in my life.

There are a surprising number of wines from Mallorca and the interesting thing is that they grow so many French grapes, which you'd think would turn into jam. I'm honestly not sure why they don't but they tend to keep acidity and even some herbaceous qualities. The one I was drinking was one I sell and it may be the most polarizing wine I've encountered yet. It's green and sweet at the same time. People either dislike it intensely or they find it interesting. Only one person found it really good, but that's because he put it on his immense wine list to have something else unique for his customers.

Anima Negre is probably the most famous of the wines. It's a small winery and their flagship is made pretty much entirely from the native Callet, which is pretty unique. I'm not sure if it's the grape or just the way it gets made, but it always seems to have elements of Cab Franc and Syrah. Probably the most widely planted grape is Manto Negro and you can find some of that bottled as a monovarietal too. Other grapes include Girò Blan, Fogoneu, and Prensal Blanc, also called Moll, as well as Syrah, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot, and a few other better-known grapes.

My wine was from Finca Son Bordils, which has been around since the 1400s but only recently was brought back into production. There used to be a lot of wines from the island but it's less than 10 percent of what it was even in the 1800s. The oldest winery is Hereus de Ribas. Good luck finding any of this stuff though - it doesn't get around much. And frankly, the taste profiles are so far outside of the mainstream that it's hard to imagine vineyards every replacing the tourist hotels.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 7, 2009.

Perhaps, Greg, some of the reasons why the Mallorcans don't get jam from French varietals are all the hillsides there, and the fog/mist from the surrounding ocean? A bit-more-tropical Sonoma Coast? I spent a fair amount of time there about 10 years ago and found the island and its microclimates (both anthropologically and agriculturally) most interesting. I almost bought a place there then, and of course have been kicking myself recently about not doing it since prices have tripled or more over the past decade. Instead I let myself be dragged off to an extended stay in Ibiza and all sorts of adventures there, but that's a different story for a different venue. I do find myself curious about their wines, now, so my question above.

I guess I don't have all that much sympathy for your 'puppy' guilt. ;-) I grew up around farm animals, in a family where the males all hunted, and that was sometimes complex. I've fished a bit, though now not as much, and my diving has taught me a lot about the personalities of sea life, to the extent that I now most always get annoyed with Japanese TV programming that displays indiscriminate harvesting, etc. of fish without any awareness of what we're daily consuming. But we are carnivores/omnivores, and I've seen little evidence to support veganism as a solution (for that matter, what about the lives of plants? ;-) ). The Japanese grace before dinner is 'itadakimasu', which is a short form for a Buddhist-influenced thanks for the lives about to be received. So that's what I consciously or unconsciously say or think when I consume....

Reply by dmcker, Nov 7, 2009.

So Greg, how about starting a thread on Mallorcan wine?

Reply by Martingauthier, Nov 7, 2009.

All Portuguese food such grilled octopus, shrimp, scallops, lobster, braised tuna goes very well with a good Bourgogne/Burgundy. When the fish is grilled pretty much any soft bodied red wine can pair. Discover and try in Burgundy regions such as Beaune, Volnay, Blagny, Côte Chalonnaise, Mercurey. To my humble opinion dmcker Pinot Noir is the key here. I don't see how a Merlot or a Cabernet can match.

Reply by GregT, Nov 7, 2009.

Depends on the Merlot or Cab. What is it about PN that makes it work? One thing might be that the grape doesn't have big tannins and it generally doesn't have lots of brand new oak. So if you have similar profiles, I think the wines work. That's why old Rioja works - high acid, low tannin. Or Sangiovese. It's interesting these days because while Portugal and Spain are big seafood nations, they are increasingly producing really big red wines that they age in barriques and that are probably more similar to typical Merlot and Cab than they used to be.

dmucker - you may be right about the fog, etc. I think that's got a lot to do with it. Incidentally, even tho I live in NYC now, I have no problems with hunting or guns. I grew up with them. But if a little octopus clings to your arm to escape a giant turtle, and you eat it anyway, well, I guess there really is no justice at all in the world.

Reply by cigarman168, Nov 7, 2009.

This week, I have dinner with a Chilean winery owner. According to him, most of the people in Chile just go with red wines with seafood since red wines dominate the majority of the markets and you can hardly found white wines there.

For me, I think the grilled, fried cooking of the seafood will easily to pair with red and Rose. But Like our HK style steam fish will not match with Red wines.

Reply by cigarman168, Nov 7, 2009.

My friend recommend
Gaja Sperss, Barbaresco 2005 and 1971 match with fry the sweet-scented osmanthus shark fin

1 2 3 next

Continue to the end of the thread to reply
Back to Categories

Popular Topics

Top Contributors This Month

1413489 Snooth User: dvogler
21 posts
125836 Snooth User: dmcker
16 posts
89564 Snooth User: GregT
15 posts


View All

Snooth Media Network