Choose the Right Wine for Your Seafood

Wine can greatly enhance any great dining experience, but it can often be tricky to find the “right” pairing to go with a meal, and particularly tricky with seafood.  While many traditionally consider white wine to always go with fish, this can be a bit of a generalization, as some kinds of fish can delicious pair with a rosé or a merlot. So, what kinds of fish pair best with the varieties of wine? Here are 11 ideas on great wine and fish pairings. (It’s important to remember that this guide isn’t designed to be the ultimate say-so in what works, and your personal palette should always determine what wine you drink!)

Wine to match your seafood, Infographic

Wine to match your seafood, Infographic

1. Salmon and Pinot Noir

Though many believe that red wine is best paired with pastas or red meat, there are surprising amounts of red wine and fish pairings that are sure to take your meal to the next level. A pinot noir is a great addition to a meal with salmon because it is still crisp and light enough to pair with fish, but it can be a great complement to its rich taste.

2. Oysters and Champagne (or Sparkling Wine)

This classic pair of oysters and champagne is classic for a reason. The reason why this seemingly odd combination works is because the bubbles and the clean feeling of the champagne help to wash away a little bit of the brine that oysters have.

3. Lobster and Chablis

Lobster is one of the delicacies of the ocean. It’s tough to eat, but the reward is worth the waiting (and the cracking and the slurping). To enhance the flavor of lobster even more, try pairing it with a chablis, which is a white wine from northern France with high levels of acidity that can cut the rich taste of the lobster.

4. Tuna and Rosé

Rosés are huge right now, and pair wonderfully with tuna. Though many would think tuna would pair best with darker wines, many tuna recipes have light ingredients like citrus, which tend to pair best with lighter wines.

5. Scallops and Sauvignon Blanc

Scallops are small, yet flavorful little creatures that have a light and buttery flavor. Sauvignon blanc provides the perfect pairing and allows all of these light flavors to combine well as you enjoy.

6. Sea bass and Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris has a wonderful citrusy flavor that really lifts and enhances this mild fish, particularly if the sea bass is prepared with butter and other rich ingredients.

7. Shrimp and Vinho Verde

Seafood Platter Santa Barbara

Shrimp has a very distinctive flavor and needs a light counterpart in wine to brighten up the taste. Vinho Verde paired with shrimp essentially has the effect of squeezing a bit of lime or lemon juice on top of the meal.

8. Mussels and Albariño

Again, we see that the brine of shellfish is cut and brightened with a light wine, such as an albariño.

9. Trout and Chardonnay

The flavor of trout is elevated with the sharp, crisp, and often biting flavor of chardonnay. The trout will likely give off a buttery flavor when paired with this light and bright wine.

10. Crab and Riesling

Crab is savory and sweet, and can taste even better with a Riesling, which has a sweet and fruity flavor.

11. Fish and Chips and Champagne

The bubbles of the champagne will always complement fried foods, as it cuts the harshness of the salt and the oil. And who really doesn’t want another excuse to drink champagne?

Looking for great seafood in Santa Barbara? 

Beachside Bar Café in Goleta offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean as well as a fun atmosphere with great food. Whether you are visiting Santa Barbara for the first time or you are a longtime local, Beachside offers a unique dining experience that will keep you coming back for years to come.