Pairing red wines and fish

Discussion in 'Pairing Food and Wine' started by tuscan chef, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. tuscan chef

    tuscan chef

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    Last time we were in Venice, we noticed locals had red wine to pair with fish, while non venetians (tourist) had white wine.
    I asked the owner, a friend, and he explained that traditionally fish and red wine is considered better, also because venitian traditional recepies are higly elaborated with onions, marinated and so on, in a way closer to a meat dish.
    The interesting part is that venetian area is not producing (there are some) red wines and best are white.
     
  2. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Hey Chef, I was in a Seafood only restaurant in Venice and ordered red wine. The waiter kept bringing me white wine, I kept telling him Red, he kept bringing white. The place didn't have a drop of red wine. I only drink good Cabs, no matter what I'm eating. I'm not saying I would pair wines for other people this way, but I like, what I like.....................ChefBillyB
     
  3. tuscan chef

    tuscan chef

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    Was the restaurant sort of trendy. I often go to Venice for work and I go to place where local are going and there are always red and lot of venitians have red with fish.
    Also some new restaurant now give red. At do spade (reccomended) we had a Morellino that was almost a Brunello. At Le Testiere we were reccomended a Barolo with a Coda di Rospo....
     
  4. brownedoff

    brownedoff

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    Can work very well, I was at an extremely good restaurant in London recently and the sommelier recommended a Zweigelt/Blaufränkisch to go with fish, was an excellent combo. 
     
  5. frozenstar

    frozenstar

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    I haven't tried to eat fish with red wine combo. But does it have to be a specific fish or fish recipe? Or it can go with any kind of fish? I love red wine because of the good benefits you can get from it. :)
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

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    In just a few hours I have to walk into the wine cellar and find a red to go with dinner tonight. I do this all the time, and the answer would probably depend on how strong the fish flavor is and what I'm doing with it.

    For Instance I am sauteing fresh halibut tonight and making a tarragon buerre blanc from the pan drippings. I have prepared a golden couscous salad with roasted bell peppers and tomatoes from the garden....also roasted. I will be accompanying the fish with grilled veggies from the garden.  On that note, I am thinking Roussane or a coastal Pinto Noir from California...even a nice Cotes du Rhone.

    If I was serving Ahi tuna for instance I could get away with a Zinfandel or Tempranillo. If I was serving Dover sole or Sea Bass I would serve white, but then again If I was serving a tomato sauce with that I could get away with a red.

    The one thing you don't want to do with this is to overpower th e flavor of the fish by having too strong a wine....red or white.
     
  7. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I think it's a lot easier matching up Italian wines with food than most others. Italian wines seem to just go with foods as the others you need to find foods to go with the wines. California and Australia are the regular suspects here. As an example, Zinfandel (Cali) and Primitivo (Italy) are genetically the same grape. My favorite Zins are big giant sledge-hammer fruit-bombs, and my fave Pirmitivo is a much softer, darker more subtle glass of juice. Still the same grape, just different styles of winemaking. Anyway, I think red wine can be served with fish no problemmo. All the standard common fish dishes I can think of though ask for a lighter red, with more clean fruit and not as much tannin as you would expect from big reds. Along with the Primitivo, my pics would include Carménère,  Malbec and Grenache. 
     
  8. chefross

    chefross

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    I can agree with you Iceman...especially the Malbec, but from France more than Chile or Australia as you say the wine makers are remarkably diverse in taste...same grape. Now a Grenache would be great with salmon or Ahi.
     
  9. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Just for general principles, I'm not so big on French wines, or French anything actually. 
     
  10. chefross

    chefross

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    Pray tell........please enlighten us as to why......
     
  11. Iceman

    Iceman

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    OK. I'm going to try and say this as easily as I can. Whether we openly admit it or not, we all have some biases, good or bad. Whatever our reasons are, that are what they are. I've been fortunate enough to enjoy very many places on the Earth. With only one(1) exception not important here, the only group of people that treated me poorly were French. This was in Paris and Montreal. Now being that I am both a chef and wine geek, this gives me a reason to enjoy everything else, discounting that tagged as "French" even more. I can narrow down the vast menu of wines and cuisines that I choose and enjoy by doing this. This heightens my enjoyment possibilities of those that I choose. Please don't become offended or angered by that. I'm just answering the question. The goofiest thing about this is that two(2) of my favorite chefs are Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. As a matter of interest, Claudine Pépin could become Mrs.Iceman tomorrow if she wanted. 
     
  12. chefross

    chefross

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    Funny that. My boss had an attitude and decided to stay away from French wines a few years back during that fiasco when America decided to stay away from French Fries and turn them into Freedom Fries.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  13. capsaicin

    capsaicin

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    Freedom wine! I like the sound of that! :D
     
  14. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I'm not positive on this, but I think the potatoes we (Americans) call "French Fries" actually originated in Belgium. 
     
  15. chefross

    chefross

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    Yup....they did..and we make them often here at work............Belgian Pomme Frites
     
  16. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Any other thoughts about red wine with fish/seafood? Done correctly it's a beautiful harmony of flavors and textures.
     
  17. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Done correctly is right. It helps to know a fair bit about wines and fish as well as the specific wine and fish dish. Absent something which makes a good bridge to reds -- like tomatoes -- whites aren't necessary better, but it's harder to go wrong. Personally, I find generic, varietal recommendations like "Zinfandel" to be a little vague to be of much help -- especially with problematic pairings -- at least not to someone as ignorant as I am. What I do know is that there's a lot of variation between Zins, as well as between individual wines of every other varietal.

    There's just so much to know. Nobody knows everything about every wine, and I'm not sure if anyone knows much about any really great number. Trust your sommelier (if there is one), and a good wine merchant will be wonderfully helpful. At least they know their own stock -- and in the case of a sommelier, the restaurant's offerings as well.

    If you're not really up on what's available and doing your own pairings, it's better to err on the side of safety. A crisp white with a light fish, and a rich white with a rich fish, and you can't go too far wrong. Well chosen sparklers (like champagne) are often good choices. They can compliment, elevate and "cut through" all at once. Too good to save for once in a while, celebrate life whenever you can.

    BDL
     
  18. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Not so long ago I posted about tuna I made with a beurre rouge. Here's the picture; https://statich.cheftalk.com/1/12/1000x500px-LL-1256b432_tonijnBeurreRouge.jpg

    The beurre rouge was made with a red wine that we drink often, namely an Italian Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Never too high priced, good not too pronounced body, but most important when cooking with fish; nice acidity and above all, enough acidity! We even drank a glass of this wine with the dish. Superb! And I'm convinced this wine goes well with white fish and salmon too.

    Many red wines don't match with fish simply for their lack of acidity. Zinfandels and other "heavy" wines that had very abundant sunshine, resulting in very high alcohol percentage and very few acidity aren't the best choise to accompany fish dishes. A good indicator is always the amount of alcohol in the wine. I wouldn't pick these wines to go with fish.

    Someone mentioned Cötes du Rhône wines. Oh yes, I would very much agree with that.
     
  19. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Funny the way things assume their own momentum. I don't believe anyone actually recommended Zinfandel in this thread. In fact the contrary. I chose Zinfandel as an example of recommending a varietal or even regional varietal without getting vintage and sub-region specific precisely because it hadn't been suggested and I didn't want to step on anyone's toes.

    It might have been a better example if I'd said: "A statement like 'the best pairing for tuna is not not wine but sake'" may sound like it carries some truth. and may even often be the case, but it is so non-specific as to be meaningless advice. Some red wines work very well with some fish dishes, and if you can narrow each of the two categories down to a fair degree of particularity, you're good to go. If you can't, you're pretty much shooting in the dark. At least in my opinion.

    As an example of what a funny old world this is, I don't think I'd have any problem pairing a juicy, young, Santa Ynez Zin with something very spicy and hearty such as basa, tilapia, or huachinango grilled sarandeado or sauced al diablo. While those spicy, California versions of Mexican fish presentations might not leap immediately to YOUR minds, it doesn't mean they don't exist and aren't very popular. They're certainly favorites of mine.

    The point being: It just depends.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  20. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I'm not recommending zinfandel with any fish dish outside of a deep-fried "fillett'o'fish" sammy, with lots of condiments.

    But hey, that's just me. 
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011