Seafood has a way of making us feel decadent and luxurious like no other foods can. Always delicious raw, but seafood can be prepared in many different methods, each calling for a different type of wine pairing. Here are some suggestions to consider when pairing your next seafood dish!
The diversity of shellfish is truly immense, but the one common theme is that majority of them are enjoyed raw! Raw shellfish does not need much seasoning, so we look to pair it with very light and crisp white wines. Certain shellfish can have metallic flavors, like raw oysters, so for foods like these, we look to pair it with white wines that are very high in acids to counter balance the metallic taste. Some shellfish are steamed or boiled in broth as well as deep fried and in general, these too are light in flavoring, so the same rules apply as raw shellfish. Other types of shellfish are grilled or pan seared, like scallops. For shellfish like this, try pairing it with a white wine that has a little bit more body to match the sauce!
Fish is perhaps the most versatile preparation methods within the seafood category. When eaten raw, we look to the oiliness of the fish itself to best pair it with wine. If the raw fish is not oily, a light and crisp white will do best. For a raw fish that is oily, like tuna or mackerel, try a white that is lightly sweet or off-dry. Off-dry white wines will help to mask the 'fishiness' of the oily fish. If the fish is grilled, you can go with a light to medium bodied white and rosé or a very light red wine with brightness. The same rules apply if the fish is deep fried. If the fish is stewed, try to match the weight of the sauce to the wines. If the stew is on the sweeter side, like nizakana, you can try it with a heavier white or light red. If it is tomato-based, you can try light to heavy whites as well as light to medium red wines!
Squid and octopus enjoy similar preparation methods as shellfish, but based on their sauces, they can be enjoyed with red wines like fish too. When eaten raw or fried, squid and octopus are light in flavor so try pairing it with very light and crisp white or rosé wines. You can try pairing light to heavy whites or light to medium red wines when grilling squid and octopus. Similar to fish dishes, if squid or octopus are stewed in a the sweeter sauce, like nimono, you can try it with a heavier white or light red. If it is tomato-based, you can try light to heavy whites as well as light to medium red wines!