Pairing Wine with Seafood
by Rob Endsley/Prince
of Wales Sportfishing
Once your fish hits the dinner plate it’s good
to know what type of wine is going to go best with your fresh
seafood. Whether cooking at home or ordering at a restaurant, these
hints from a couple of the Northwest’s most knowledgeable wine
experts will point you in the right direction the next time you’re
enjoying a seafood dinner.
David Johnstone of the Vinopolis Wine Shop in
Portland, Oregon usually selects a pinot gris with salmon. David
says, “I look for a wine with a lot of body that doesn’t overpower
the flavor of the fish. That said, I tend to stay away from heavy
reds, as they can sometimes have a metallic flavor that overpowers
When it comes to halibut or whitefish he
suggests a rich chardonnay or perhaps a pinot gris that accentuates
the silky smooth flavor of white fish. In addition, he suggests
picking a white wine that has an oaked flavor, giving it a more
complex taste that further enhances the smoothness of the fish.
Beringer Reserve Chardonnay is one white wine that is aged in oak,
but there are many others.
In addition to complementing seafood, an
inexpensive sauvignon blanc or pinot gris also makes an excellent
base for cooking clams and mussels. Add chopped fresh garlic,
onions, sea salt, butter, and parsley to your wine base and you’ve
got a succulent nectar for dipping bread and sipping after the clams
have been devoured.
I also caught up with Tom Macarone who resides
in the heart of wine country in Walla Walla, Washington, where he
operates T. Macarones Restaurant and Wine Bar. Tom looked to a
specific wine from Walla Walla Vintners, the 2005 Sanjiovese as his
top choice for salmon and especially smoked salmon. “I like a drier
and more crisp white than a sweet white wine to retain the flavor of
the fish and keep the pallet cleansed. A white wine should
complement the fish and not overpower it,” says Tom.
He specified the 2006 Waterbrook Sauvignon
Blanc and the 2006 DaMa Chardonnay as his top choices for halibut
and other white fish. Growing up in Walla Walla, Tom has seen its
recent transformation from a sleepy farm town into a regional mecca
for wine enthusiasts. Stop by his restaurant and enjoy the areas
finest selection of regionally produced wines.
Below is a helpful
table of ingredients and the corresponding wine that goes with them.
capsicum, chives, dill, fennel, garden herbs, ginger, green
salads, lemon grass or lemon zest, mint, parsley, radishes,
raw tomato, spinach,
|Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon
|Cajun, orange or lime, honey, spicey, sweetness
|Avocado, butter, citrus, coconut milk, corn, cream,
garlic, pecan, slivered almonds, sour cream or cream cheese
|Fruit salsa, marsala, oyster sauce
|Cinnamon, Cajun, ginger,
horseradish, sweetness, wasabi
tomato, molasses, mushrooms, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce