Red Wine with Fish?

A food and wine pairing that breaks the rules

I recently led a wine training session to a restaurant team, most of whom were young and had formal qualification in hospitality. Before I started, I asked each of them to write down what they knew about wine. I was very happy to see that everyone had more than a basic knowledge of wine—a good start. Almost everyone told me that red wine must go with meat and white wine with fish. Eek!

This is one of the most common misconceptions around. Although in general, light and medium white wines tend to go with white fish, however, it is not always the case that white wine goes with fish or that red wine has to go with meat. It all depends on many factors.

When pairing food and wine, we need to start with the main objective of why we are pairing the two, so that the experience of having both together is better than having them separately or, in other words, they enhance each other. For this, we need to first look at the ‘weight’ of both the food and the wine, and I don’t mean putting them on a scale. A light wine, red or white, is likely to pair better with light food, let’s say a pinot gris with a green salad. White wine, if you pair it with a heavy dish, like a lamb roast, which is rather heavy, then the food will overpower and likely kill the wine. Likewise, a heavy wine, let’s say a shiraz from Barossa, paired with a green salad would kill the dish.

Once the ‘weight’ is right, we should aim to have a dish and a wine that either are similar or in contrast. Wine flavors come from specific components: sugar, acid, fruit, tannin and alcohol level. Different dishes also have flavor components: fat, acid, salt, sugar, umami and bitter. The best food and wine pairings feature complementary components, weight and textures

For example, a grilled steak will be ideally paired with a heavy and tannic wine like a cabernet sauvignon, a malbec or an aged tempranillo. As the fat and umami (protein) on the steak will balance the tannins of the wine. A lobster thermidor goes well with an oaked chardonnay, where the buttery flavors of the chardonnay match those of the creamy sauce served with the lobster.

However, sauces are usually the forgotten element of pairing when it should actually be a priority because it can change not only the taste of the dish, but also the weight. For example, one of my crazy pairings—to which I have won many bets against food and wine experts—is pairing tuna with a Crianza Rioja aged for two years or more. If you serve the tuna raw with a marinade of soya sauce and wasabi, (which is one of my favorite dishes) a nice aged red rioja pairs fantastically with it. And so, here we have fish with red wine.

BIO: Alfredo de la Casa has been organizing wine tastings for over 20 years and has published three wine books, including the Gourmand award winner for best wine education book. You can reach him at www.wineinvietnam.com.

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Authentic Italian wines

ALL COOL MADE EASY Thiên nhiên đã dạy cho chúng tôi Thời gian là kim chỉ nam của chúng tôi: chậm và không ngừng trôi, thời gian đã dạy cho chúng tôi phải hành động đúng lúc, quan sát sự thay đổi của mùa màng, của những ngày nắng và mưa. Thiên nhiên đã ban

Read More »

What Makes A Wine Expensive | Factors And Characteristics

You have undoubtedly spent a lot of time looking around your local wine shop in pursuit of that $5 bottle that tastes like a $20 bottle or the $15 wine that could easily pass for a $100 bottle. What are the fundamental reasons wine is so expensive? And are these elements genuine or made up?

Read More »

Top 10 Indian Foods That Are Must Try

India is a country that can impress you at every step of the way. Whether it is the culture, scenic view, geography, history, and even foot – every thing of the nation will mesmerize you and overwhelm you. If you are a foodie and love to explore different cuisines of India, then the country welcomes

Read More »

7 Different things You Can Pair with Your Coffee

Coffee is a must-have drink for most people. But having it plain with no side snack or dish can affect your stomach lining. Fortunately, you can pair coffee with all kinds of food, from spicy dishes to pastries. Also, you can use different healthy oils, such as MCT oil, and gain all the benefits of MCT

Read More »

Eat Your Way Through Hong Kong in a Day

Taste Hong Kong: One-day journey through culinary diversity Want to eat like a Hong Konger? Hong Kong is one of the world’s great food cities and its cuisine is world-renowned for being incredibly rich, influenced by Cantonese, European, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian flavors. There’s literally something for everyone, at any time of day. Morning

Read More »

Make Ordering Cake Online A Good Experience In 5 Easy Steps

Introduction A party without cake is incomplete. Cakes are the highlight of every big and small event. Be it a birthday, wedding anniversary, annual day, cakes make the celebration elegant and delightful. Since there are varieties of cakes available, you will find a cake for every occasion. Do you want to buy cake online? With

Read More »