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Pairing red wines and fish

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
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.

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post #2 of 27
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
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

Which restaurant

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....
post #4 of 27

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. 

post #5 of 27

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. :)

post #6 of 27

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.

post #7 of 27

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. 

 

 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #8 of 27

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.

post #9 of 27

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

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

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



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

post #11 of 27

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. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #12 of 27

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.

post #13 of 27

Freedom wine! I like the sound of that! :D

post #14 of 27

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

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #15 of 27

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

post #16 of 27

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

Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cape chef View Post

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


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
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post #18 of 27

Not so long ago I posted about tuna I made with a beurre rouge. Here's the picture; http://cdn.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.

post #19 of 27
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
Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/26/11 at 9:29am
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post #20 of 27

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. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #21 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

....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...
 

When I read spicy and hot "al diablo", there's just one excellent pairing that I know of; a plain and simple beer! Pilsener style, think Corona. Maybe a couple of them. Something you can drink abundantly to put the flames out.

Wine with such a dish? Certainly not for me. But, don't let anyone keep you from drinking anything you like!

 

So odd I have to explain how to chase the devil, aka diablo, in my... 666th post! Ah well, amen.


Edited by ChrisBelgium - 8/27/11 at 5:33am
post #22 of 27

That's a funny thing there, Chris. I''ll go along with you a bit and add that Casillero del Diablo is one of my favorite brands. Very high QPR. 

 

http://chileanlegend.com/

 

 

 

 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

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post #23 of 27
Chris,

My palate is a skosh more tolerant to chili and doesn't get blown away quite as easily as most peoples', so maybe it's easier for me to do heat and wine.

I do like beer with spicy food, including fish -- and it's more often my choice than a glass of wine -- white or red. So are the beer based drinks called michilada and chelada, which are favorites; and for that matter Tecate in the can with limon and salt is another favorite. However, those choices seemed to wander rather far afield from the issue at hand.

My point was and still is, that it's problematic making a good red wine/fish pairing unless you know somethings about the specific characteristics of the wine and the dish. I.e., mere varietals and general locations -- whatever they are -- usually aren't enough information to make a well informed choice.

Back to beers... While a lot of the Baja beers are excellent, I'm not a big fan of Corona. Funny, I've always thought of Corona as a pale lager because of its mild hop, fragile head, etc., and not a pilsener. Victoria is more like what I'd consider a pilsener. Live and learn.

I hadn't realized that the gospel of Pacific coast, Mexican fish had spread to Belgium, but remember now that you spent some serious time kicking around Central America -- which if it isn't quite the same thing is certainly close enough.

BDL
Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/27/11 at 12:36pm
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post #24 of 27

Italian way. A chewy dense fish like tuna or squid with a tomato sauce and a good chianti. 

Also Burgandy or cabernet franc with salmon or rainbow trout.

Or the easy Australian way of grilled barbequed fish with Aussie grenache/ Shiraz. When it comes to wine paring we dont need to get stuck in the old days, its better we experiment our pallets.

post #25 of 27

 

Margcata living and working in Spain ...

 

It is very common place here in Spain, to drink light reds, grape variety Pinot Noir or Rosés from Navarra or Catalonia and/or sparkling Rose varietals with a fish maincourse, especially in Madrid Capital ... Additionally, men tend to be more veered towards red wines as well, especially in the central parts of Spain ...

 

Albariño or Ribeiro whites from Galicia and Verdejo white grape Ruedas from Valladolid, Voigner grape variety wines from Toledo, Cavas and White Sauvignon blancs are far more common for shellfish, mollusks and white fish varieties... Sherry called Fino is much more popular in Andalusia. It can be quite subjective ... like art ... music ... etcetra ...

   

Margcata

 

post #26 of 27

 

CALAMARI AND SQUID VARIETIES ...

 

In both Spain and Italia, squid is considered meze and in Spain, a tapa ... Therefore, if u prefer to drink a red wine or a beer verses a white wine with it, this is personal subjective taste ... everything goes on the Mediterranean ... Calamari or Lula ( Portuguese ) is not considered a main course on the Iberian Peninsula nor in Italia or Portugal ... It is an informal comfort food enjoyed as a Tapa, or Meze ... Margcata. Normally it is served fried with lemon a perhaps a hot chili tomato dipping sauce or grilled and served with Ali oli, an olive oil based mayonnaise and called Sepia or Grilled Squid or Grilled Calamar.  

post #27 of 27

too bad, so sad

 

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