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Fun Pairings with Seafood!

I love trying new wine, and Thanksgiving is such a wonderful oppurtunity to splurg! My Grandmother is shipping in fresh east coast seafood as our app's, and I would love to complement them as best as possible.

Any suggestions?

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  1. "Fresh east coast seafood" covers alot of ground, and leaves the question of how you intend to prepare it...

    Here are some generalizations that may help:

    SHELLFISH: If I can only pick one varietal, it's probably Chardonnay. But sauvignon blanc, muscadet, riesling (kabinetts especially) are all very nice matches. Viognier can be a particularly nice match with lobster and crab... Chardonnay-based champagne is very nice here also.

    FLAKIER FISH: Chardonnay again... sauvignon blanc, kabinett are all great...

    OILY FISH: This is where reds can work quite nicely... Pinot Noir especially.

    Hope this helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chicago Mike

      Also, depending on the seafood/recipe, a Sancerre can be nice.

    2. For simple shellfish preparations, Albarino or Verdejo are great matches. Even better, they are generally inexpensive :)


      1. REALLY need more info... but "East Coast seafood" to me, means Maryland blue crabs. IF that is what you mean, then a lightly oak trated Sauvignon Blanc may be your best bet. A good White Graves, for example.

        1. if by "new" you refer to a wine varietal that you have not had before, try (the spelling may be off) a Spanish white from the Basque region: getariako txakolina txomin extaniz. under $20 and makes a good pairing (broad generalization acknowledged) with seafood

          4 Replies
          1. re: ibstatguy

            "Distinctive smoky, slightly yeasty nose. The palate is slightly spritzy, refreshing and quite elegant with smoky fruit and a rounded texture. Savoury and full flavoured, intense and aromatic"

            the above is a compilation of tasting notes about this wine, Are you sure you want to drink this with seafood?

            is it readily available? IOW, how many stores in your locale carry it? I haven't been able to find it locally to me.

            1. re: FrankJBN

              Where do you live, Frank? You can certainly find it in a number of locations here in Berkeley, CA -- let alone Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and the rest of the SF Bay Area . . . .

              1. re: FrankJBN

                > Are you sure you want to drink this with seafood?

                Grilled seafood? Absolutely.

                Braised or buttered? Perhaps not so much.

                But there may not be a better match in the universe with Basque-style garlic shrimp a la plancha.

              2. re: ibstatguy

                Definitely second this one, especially with shellfish. http://www.chow.com/pick/4016#comments

              3. I was looking for something different not to long ago and went with a Greco di Tufo from Mastroberadino and and it was really nice.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mac8111

                  Love Greco. Other Italian options great with sea food that come to mind are vermentino, gavi, verdicchio, and cinque terre.

                  1. re: vinosnob

                    Don't forget vernaccia, falanghina and grechetto!

                2. I suggest you try a dry white you've always wanted to try.

                  There have been 15 whites and a red suggested so far. All of them will not be the "best" complement to your food, no matter how it is prepared. Believe it or not, several of them will be.

                  So, you see, it won't really matter what wine you choose, because unless you make some sort of drastic mistake, any wine you buy will drink well with your seafood appetizers.

                  Let's make it an even 20 - Chenin Blanc, Marsanne/Rousanne mix (very neutral, food friendly), Grauerburguder (Hey, I like German Pinot Gris) - oh, look for Rkatsitelli from Russia (a local vineyard grows it in South Jersey).

                  Again, buy a wine you want to try.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    as a general guide for food pairing-

                    match weight to weight - heavy dish with full bodied wine
                    acid to acid- a dish dressed with lemon needs a wine with bright acidity
                    spicy to sweet- sweet flavors will help soothe spicy ones
                    tannin to protein- a meaty entree needs a wine with grip

                    often the preparation is more important than the main ingredient, but generally, there are no hard and fast rules.

                    shellfish often has a briney tone, or is served with lots of lemon. choose a bright, crisp white- as suggested earlier, gruner veltliner, sancerre (sauv blanc), muscadet, champagne/sparkling etc

                    if you're grilling a meatier fish like salmon or swordfish, a red would work better. try a pinot noir, bardolino or refosco.

                    if it's a fatty rich fish, like halibut try a fuller bodied white- marsanne/roussane blend (white rhone also many from CA, WA), bordeaux blanc can work pretty well, fuller body from semillon but bright acidity from sauv blanc.

                    a delicate fish, go towards a lighter bodied wine- pinot grigio, greco di tufo etc.

                    lots of shellfish have a hint of sweetness, scallops, shrimp, crab- riesling can match very well. I often pair crab with a riesling from the nahe (a tributary of the rhine river) b/c there is often a slightly herbal hint to the wine which complements very well.

                    1. re: pierrot

                      The best match I have ever tasted with grilled salmon, by leaps and bounds, was Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Many leagues behind came Chardonnay (only for very fatty fillets), Heitz grignolino rose (though the drying tannins require at least a fairly fatty fish), and Oregon pinot noir (only in the presence of mushroom sauces). Barbera can be a good match too, depending on how much a person likes lemon, and how much oak the Barbera saw. Your mileage may vary.

                      Sauvignon blanc is a classic match with halibut, but on the other hand, an Hermitage Blanc-style blend as you suggested would be lovely, and a dry Riesling probably wouldn't rub anyone the wrong way, depending on how the fish was flavored before and after cooking.

                      Alsatian Gewurz is not bad at all with scallops or crab, especially with spicier sauces (eg. a chipotle-orange reduction mounted with a little butter, over seared scallops). Try it sometime, you might come over to the dark side.

                  2. Any thoughts on a Greek Retsina or Potuguese Vino Verhde ? I know both are cheap , but if the seafood is garlicky / spicy these seem to go well .

                    Also , In total agreement on Mastroberidino , had a verdicchio and loved it

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: carswell

                        My mistake , Fiano de Avellino

                    1. Try these...Fiano (at the bottom) will be a plesant surprise

                      -Greco di Tufo tends to be straw yellow in color with a bit of gold tints. Various fruits contribute to the taste of Greco di Tufo, but this doesn't mean it’s sweet! Apples, white peaches, apricots, and local citrus fruits are blended together give the wine its unique taste. Greco di Tufo can be paired with shellfish, grilled fish and chicken, soft cheeses (mozzarella di bufala).

                      -Falanghina is pale, bright yellow. Falanghina is an excellent beginning to dinner with antipasti. It’s light, fresh, and clean. Local annurca apples are the key aroma along with hints of nutmeg and maybe a bit of toasted Virginia tobacco. Serve with seafood, vegetables, risotto, carpaccio, chicken, turkey, and soft cheeses.

                      -Fiano di Avellino's medium gold appearance is telling of the toasted hazelnuts, almonds, and honey that highlight its fabulous taste. Native flowers, pears, apricots, and citrus fruits may be detected along with acacia (native tropical trees), hawthorn (native thorny trees or shrubs), mint, and fennel. An ideal aperitif when served with seafood, oysters, and shellfish.