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.
The 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.
Highlight 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.