What should you drink with fish?
The old practice of serving only white wine with fish is out of step with today’s drinking and eating habits. Why? Over the last ten years, red and especially rosé wines have increased their shelf space on the supermarket shelves big time. Not surprisingly their sales now command the lion’s share of the wine market! And Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight Campaign has seen the sales of meaty tuna and oily assertive sardines and fresh flavoursome mackerel rocket! Can red and rose wine complement this new buying of fish? Of course!
The below may help little if you’re buying a red or rosé wine to complement fish.
The main difference between white, red or rosé wine is the grape tannins and anthocyanins (the colour pigments from the black grapes making the wine red or rose). These leach into the wine while the fermenting juice sits in contact with the grape skins. The thicker the grape skins, the longer the maceration during fermentation, deeper the colour and higher the level of tannins!
The colour has little effect on the palate, but heavy, aggressive tannin levels overwhelm most fish dishes. All rosés and most red wines that are produced from thin-skinned black grapes (giving rise to fewer tannins) and have had very little grape-skin contact are fish-friendly. Forget the big red blockbusters like Barolo, claret or Châteauneuf du Pape unless they are to be drunk with a meaty flavoursome fish stew or casserole.
Enjoy the fish partnership.
Saumur Rouge Les Nivieres, Loire
Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, France
This easy-drinking beaujolais delivers cherry and strawberry like flavours that are threaded with spiky mouth-cleansing acidity. Competing Brands: George Duboeuf & Piat D’Or
Vignale Valpolicella, Italy
Cheap Italian reds, below a fiver, especially from wine regions like Veneto and Chianti are rarely worth picking off shelf. Want to impress you wine loving and foodie mates - you’ll have to pay at least eight quid.
Waitrose Ripasso di Valpolicella Classico Superiore Fratelli Recchia
Ripasso has extra flavour and palate roundness over regular Valpolicella. Will work well with flavoursome fish stews and meat pasta dishes.