By Martin Isark
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! So 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.
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The Can I Eat It? Team are continually updating and adding more products to the App’s database. If you have the Can I Eat It? App, you can put the wines tasted on your iPhone by entering any of the barcodes below. You don’t have it yet! Download the app now.
Saumur Rouge Les Nivieres, Loire
The Loire is best known for its whites, but their reds made from the Cabernet Franc grape are always worth a punt and will complement most fish dishes. This delivers a harmonious mix of red fruits and pencil shavings – a lighter alternative to a Bordeaux. Tasted by Martin Isark
Not forgetting barcode: 01297416
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. Tasted by Martin Isark
Competing Brands: George Duboeuf & Piat D’Or
Not forgetting barcode: 8002645641114
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. Tasted by Martin Isark
Not forgetting barcode: 5000169105818
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. Tasted by Martin Isark