Which wines go best with fish and shellfish?People often choose a white wine for fish, and with good reason: Most fish and shellfish have delicate, subtle flavors that call for an equally light wine. But coatings and sauces, even with fish and shellfish, often determine the perfect pairing.
Mussels or Clams in a Wine BrothThe classic French preparation of mussels being steamed in shallot-wine broth and served with fries calls for either a dry, minerally white like muscadet to enhance the taste of the sea, or a decadent chardonnay to enrich the mussels. Clams are similar in taste and texture and can be used a well.
VALUE: 2008 Maison Henri Poiron et Fils Domaine du Manoir Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (France, $13) Delicious grapefruit and mineral notes.
2008 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie (France, $14) Lively minerality and citrus flavors.
2008 Tablas Creek Vineyard Antithesis Chardonnay (California, $35) Rich with bold aromas of pears and creamy vanilla (pictured)
Flaky White Fish with a Browned Butter SauceA big, creamy, oaky New World chardonnay is the perfect partner to rich, nutty browned butter sauce.
VALUE: 2007 Carmen Chardonnay (Chile, $10) Fresh, clean pineapple flavors with a creamy finish.
2008 Gordon Brothers Chardonnay (Washington, $16) Buttery with grilled pineapple and clove spice.
2008 Silverado Chardonnay (California, $25) Rich with creamy brown toffee aromas (pictured)
Crispy Cajun CatfishHighlight the fresh simplicity of this spicy fish with a bright, acidic white wine that acts like a squeeze of lemon on the fish. Inexpensive American sparkling wine is a refreshing palate-cleanser for this down-home dish.
VALUE: Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvée Brut (Washington, $11) Crisp lime and green apples.
Korbel Brut Rosé (California, $12) Juicy strawberries and watermelon (pictured)
Roederer Estate Brut (California, $23) Creamy, rich, and nutty.
Crab CakesBring out the sweet notes of the crabmeat with a spätlese (semisweet) riesling, or round out the rich, tangy rémoulade with a refreshingly dry chenin blanc.
VALUE: 2008 Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc (California, $12) Honeyed peaches and fruity apricots with a hint of spice (pictured)
2008 Graff Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese (Germany, $17) Delicate mineral and fresh green apple flavors.
2007 Markus Molitor Riesling Spätlese (Germany, $29) Nuanced with tropical mango, peach, and nectarine.
Pairing Wine with Seafood
Don’t drown out the delicate flavors of seafood with an overpowering red; we offer 4 different types of wine light enough to mesh well with delicious fish and shellfish.