Wine Savvy on February 22, 2016 0 Comments When considering a dinner menu that incorporates wine and fish, it has always been thought that your choices had to be extremely limited to a flaky white fish and a dry white wine. While dry white wine and mild white fish do make an excellent pairing, there are many additional combinations that are just as mouthwatering and complex to the palate. It’s time to go beyond the dry white wine and consider the whole rainbow of wine offerings when serving fish as the centerpiece of your meal. 1. Prosecco and Fried Fish While many believe that the sweet Italian sparkling white wine, Prosecco, should be paired with an equally sweet dish like dessert, in general the two powerful bursts of sweet flavor can sometimes overwhelm the palate. A better idea is to pair this bubbly drink with a salty fish dish. Standards like fried fish and chips, which is traditionally made with cod or haddock, provide the perfect complement to Prosecco’s crispy, citrusy sweetness. The savory beer battered coating is elevated by the acidity and effervescence of this sweet wine. 2. Moscato and Spicy Fish Low in alcohol, sweet and a tiny bit fizzy, Moscato wine is filled with aromas like vanilla, peach, jasmine and caramel. While some hosts offer the Moscato as more of a dessert wine, it can also be served with the main course. To balance its sweet, mild flavor, try pairing Moscato with a Mexican dish, such as spicy fish tacos. The typical fish for spicy tacos is going to be a mild white fish like tilapia, sole or snapper. After savoring the tangy taco, a sip of Moscato helps bring in enjoyable flavors like peach and creamy pear. The sharpness of the wine helps control the spice a bit if it gets overwhelming. 3. American Pinot Gris and Oily Fish Pinot Gris is known for being the perfect wine for many types of fish dishes. Its high acidity and fruity flavors make it a great pairing for seafood lovers. More positioned toward the dryer side of the wine range, Pinot Gris is served chilled. American Pinot Gris is not as acidic as the same type of wine grown in France or Italy. This crisp wine complements an oily fish. A nice seared mackerel can help bring out the citrus and fruity flavors of this wine. 4. French Sauvignon Blanc and Mild White Fish French Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Loire Valley or Bordeaux and is one of the dryer white wines available. Its flavor ranges from spicy lime to a fresh herb taste. Also served chilled like most white wines, Sauvignon Blanc is best paired with mild, flaky white fish like tilapia, flounder or halibut. It’s best to keep preparation simple. Baking or broiling the fish may give you the best results. To make an even more flavorful experience, consider adding fresh herbs to the fish, such as dill, tarragon or basil. The combination of the fish and the green herbs with the wine bring out the brisk and earthy elements. 5. White Zinfandel and Dense Fish White Zinfandel, which has traditionally been a popular beginner wine for many, is known for its sweet taste and its ease of drinking. While many of us start drinking White Zinfandel, eventually we move on to more sophisticated and complex wines as time goes by and as our palate expands. White Zinfandel originates from the United States in the 1970s when California’s Sutter Home was attempting to create a new red wine that would make a dent in the white wine dominated market. When their red wine came out as a sweet pink wine, they decided to release it anyway, and it became a hit. To subdue some of the sweetness of White Zinfandel, try pairing it with a firm, dense fish such as tuna, preferably grilled and in steak form. With this fish, the quiet hidden flavors of the wine begin to make an appearance. Your mouth may begin to taste the spicy oak or blackberry flavors in this wine. 6. Pinot Noir and Freshwater Fish You may have always heard to never drink red wine with fish, but that’s not always the case. Sure, with many red wines, the high tannin content makes the bites of fish taste like metal. Some red wines can be paired with specific types of fish, and actually strengthen the tastes from both the wine and the fish. One such versatile red wine is Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a light bodied red wine that is not as robust as many other varieties of red wine are. Its lower amounts of tannins contribute to the idea that you can pair it with lighter foods such as seafood. In fact, some say that Pinot Noir can be paired with almost anything. For fish, it’s best to go with a freshwater fish like salmon or trout that has dense, meaty flesh. Additionally, your fish dish should be on the heavy side served with a thick tomato or cream based sauce. Most pasta dishes that incorporate fish into them would work well with a Pinot Noir. With the right fish, the more complex flavors of a good Pinot Noir can be brought out resembling vanilla, clove, licorice and caramel. 7. Gamay and Sea Bass Gamay wine is another possible red wine choice for those who prefer it over the comparable Pinot Noir. Gamay, similar in composition to Pinot Noir, is primarily grown in the Beaujolais region of France. It is a wine that is served chilled. Also like Pinot Noir, Gamay wine has a low tannin content, which makes it an ideal candidate to serve with fish. Gamay, however, is much more inexpensive than the versatile Pinot Noir, which makes it an attractive red wine for almost everyone. One possible pairing that goes well with Gamay would be a baked sea bass. The high acidity in Gamay can help bring out the flavors of the fish and complement the hidden flavors of Gamay, like banana, violet and black currant. This, one of the more unusual wine pairings, can give your tasting table a little more flexibility with guests and menu ideas. Ever since the beginning of the wine industry, foodies have been looking for new and different types of wine pairings. With more unique ways to prepare food and more open minds in the world of cuisine, people are beginning to look beyond the standard pairing of a dry Chardonnay with a mild white fish. Creative wine pairings show complexity and thoughtfulness in your dinner offerings and opens up the palate to new possibilities.