Look beyond the usual Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for that perfect fish and seafood pairing
A match made in heaven. That first sip of a perfectly chilled glass of white wine to wash down a wonderfully briny morsel from the ocean, taking your palate through an intoxicating journey from salty, iodised sea to fragrant citrus blooms and sweet nutty almonds notes. Could there be anything better for a long and languid sunny lunch?
For basic pairing tips and advice, visit this great guide by Fish on Friday, which even suggest at times trying a—gasp!—red. Staying true to tradition however, it’s usually Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc that pops first into our minds. Venture out of your comfort zone and explore other grape varietals and blends. Here are some of my favourites:
This little known Austrian gem is full of zesty citrus flavours—lime, lemon grapefruit, and notes of white pepper. It’s very dry, with a lovely pale green colour, extremely crisp with a nice acidity. An absolute dream to drink and one of my favourite varietals. Pair it with a rich fish like haddock, trout, halibut, or grilled sardines. It also pairs well with bold Asian flavours like ginger, shiso, coriander, cumin, and sansho.
See also: The Best Wine Apps In Asia
Riesling is one of the most fragrant grape varietals around with an intoxicating aroma of apricot, nectraine, honey, and citrus blossoms. It has a natural sweetness, which is combined with a high acidity. I like to stay clear of the sweeter versions, preferring the dry wines that are such a delight to drink! This is another wonderful match for Asian dishes and especially the heady spices of Indian food. I would use ample amounts of Riesling to wash down a particularly fiery crab curry.
My absolute favourite wine to pair with Thai food because this full-bodied white holds up to all the fragrant and vibrant flavours and complex layers of fish sauce and sweetness in Siamese fare. The peach, tangerine, honeysuckle, and mango aromas go particularly well with galangal, fresh cilantro, and coconut- based curries. Depending on how it’s made, Viognier wines can be light and fresh or creamy and bold.
This grape varietal is what makes Bordeaux’s famous Sauternes and is in fact the third most important grape varietal in France. Depending on the climate, Semillon grapes can produce wines with a richer and riper quality or with a zesty freshness. With notes of lemon, apple, papaya, and pear it can be rather versatile depending on what it is blended with. White Bordeaux usually blend Semillon with sauvignon blanc and muscadelle. I love Clarendelle Blanc’s aromas of fresh fruit and white flowers and that beautiful minerality. It would go amazing well with a rich white fish like black cod, Chilean seabass or artic char with a nice dill sauce.
Moving into the New World this grape variety is originally from Argentina and produced mostly from Argentina as well. It’s very aromatic and perfumed with sweet notes of lemon peel, rose and peach but is surprisingly very dry compared to its bouquet. It’s a nice match to dishes with thai basil, mint, and cilantro. Maybe try it with some grilled tandoori shrimp paired with a fresh herb salad.
Is there anything better than being in the Italian coast and hydrating yourself with their famously pale and crisp white wines? This light bodied grape varietal originally from Sardinia has beautiful fresh notes of lime, green apple with a touch of almond. It’s deliciously dry and mineral, and is just perfect with langoustines and grilled octopus. So while you may not be in the Costa Smeralda, you could transport yourself there through a nice cold bottle.