I have already told you about beef, pork, pizza and pasta wine pairings but it was about time to talk about fish! And when I say fish, I do not mean in general and vaguely but very analytically and specifically. Of course, not all fish are the same. Sea bass is finer and lighter than mackerel, both in terms of taste and texture. Tuna is meatier than sea bream and so on. As you will see below, I have divided them into 3 categories depending on the intensity of the taste, the oiliness and their texture and I have puzzled over to suggest you the best wines to accompany your fish.
Sea bream - Sea bass - Cod
Here it goes. These are relatively leaner and more delicate fish. Especially cod is known as "steak fish". In plain words this means that it is a somewhat neutral fish and without much fishy taste so it is the favorite fish of those who prefer meat (it does not have many bones so you understand my reasoning). For this reason, in addition to frying and grilling, it may also be combined with various bold sauces and recipes such as garlic sauce or fricassee. For the fried cod with garlic sauce there is a video and an article so I will not discuss it further here but for the cod fricassee I would suggest a white wine with oily texture, crisp acidity and plenty of fruit like Sauvignon Blanc Wild Rock while for the grilled cod Pinot Grigio Santa Margherita would be a nice pairing. Now if we are talking about grilled sea bream and sea bass a sharp Savvatiano like Savvatiano Aoton will fit like a glove while if we are talking about a sautéed fillet with some creamy, white sauce then I would suggest an oak aged Vidiano like Elia Karavitakis Vineyards or a rich, oaked Chardonnay. And of course, if we are talking about raw situations like ceviche then I would suggest you try Amauta Torrontes!
Dusky grouper – white grouper – golden grouper
Here we move to more "serious" fish with very tight, almost meaty flesh and more intense taste. Dusky grouper is what one might call "game of the sea". When it is big enough, it can be cut in thick slices and grilled on the bbq. It asks for a white wine with dense structure like Santorini Assyrtiko Argyros Estate. Alternatively, it makes amazing dishes such as stew with onion and sour plums (traditional dish from Skopelos) and asks for wines with more character like a red Limniona (yes red) or a juicy and intense rosé like Moschopolis 8. Golden grouper on the grill is one of my favorites because it has a firm texture and a slightly sweet taste while it is not too oily. It does not demand for many things to be delicious, just a pinch of sea salt, a drop of lemon and a glass of Akrathos Assyrtiko, mineral and lemony! White grouper follows the same path except if we are talking about a sauteed fillet with butter and vegetables. In that case put in your glass an oaked Semillon or a Sauvignon Blanc like Sauvignon Blanc The Paring.
Salmon - Tuna
Salmon happens to be one of the most classic choices in fish because it has rich taste, buttery texture and very few bones. There are many ways to enjoy it. One of my favorite recipes is with caramelized finocchio, lemon and butter. I always put in my glass a honeyed and at the same time "steely" Riesling like Urziger Wurzgarten Dr Loosen. Another favorite option is salmon with Asian marinade (soya sauce, lime, sesame oil, ginger, chili, brown sugar) that I usually put next to vermicelli noodles or sautéed broccoli. Here I prefer more aromatic and fruity wines like Peplo Domaine Skoura. Another option is to combine salmon with bacon (surf and turf) and put in your glass a white Burgundy or something that similar like Old Guard Chardonnay. Keep the latter for the tuna as well if you do not like my "eccentric" choices. In tuna things are getting wilder. My favorite pairing for a medium rare tuna fillet or a tataki with Soya and sesame was, is and will be Pinot Noir. I love Barda Pinot Noir Bodegas Chacra. In case we go to more hearty, Sicilian recipes like pasta alla Norma with fresh tuna then yes, Rose de Xinomavro by Apostolos Thymiopoulos will take the dish to a next level.
Anchovy - Sardine - Mackerel
The small and humble fish that in addition to being delicious, are also rich in Ω3 fatty acids that are so beneficial for us. Their oiliness requires acidity and freshness, without the heaviness of oak or batonnage. The crispy and freshly fried anchovies want acidity as it want desperately that drizzle of lemon. Assyrtiko, Robola, Chenin Blanc and Muscadet will swipe you off your feet. I recommend Muscadet Les Dabinieres which has high acidity and salty, mineral hints. The fatty sardine needs mastery in grilling if it is boutique and filleted. When served with parsley, tomato slices and lemon it loves Retsina like Pytis Ritinitis Troupis Winery. Mackerel is on the same wavelength and if opened in two, salted and perfectly grilled it is best served with lemon and oregano. Its intense flavor goes perfectly with an elegant orange wine like Cosmic Amber Bodegas Krontiras. If orange wines are not to your taste, try a juicy red like the elegant Kompsos Liatiko Karavitakis Vineyards.