Monday, June 20, 2005

Selecting a Good Wine for Fish

Pairing wines with food can be really tons of fun. Open a bottle, pour a glass of wine, sit back and consider the possibilities.

1. Keep in mind how the fish will be cooked (grilled, poached, broiled, etc.) along with its natural flavor and texture. Try to complement or contrast the flavor and texture of the fish with your wine.

2. Try a spicy wine such as a dry gewurztraminer from France for fish prepared with heavy spices. You could also pair the fish with a red Burgundy from France or pinot noir from the United States.

3. Pair delicately flavored fish in subtle, mild sauces with lighter, more delicate wines.

4. Consider a higher-acid wine such as a red Anjou or white Burgundy from France, or a riesling from south Australia, for a fattier, richer fish such as a hearty, oily piece of salmon.

5. Try a full-flavored, smoky Viognier or a heavily oaked, premium Napa chardonnay for any grilled fish.

6. Try pairing shellfish with white wines that have a fair amount of acid. Whites from cold regions like France's Loire Valley or Chablis, or from Oregon, will have plenty of acid backbone to match the buttery flavor of lobster or fresh oysters.

* The first rule of food and wine pairing is always to drink what you like, no matter what someone else says.

* The old adage of white wine with fish and red wine with meat is a good rule to live by, but there are some notable exceptions.

* The most important thing is to keep experimenting with your choices. It's not an exact science, so let your taste buds lead the way. One more thing... Enjoy the journey!

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