The Best Types Of Wine To Serve With Tuna Tartare

The lively acidity and salty minerality found in Portugal's Alvarinho-based white wines makes them an excellent pairing for tuna, especially when it comes to tuna dishes native to that country and its Iberian neighbor, Spain. According to Lex Madden, Beverage Director for Point Easy in Denver, Colorado, these sorts of regional food and wine pairings are quite common, hence the traditional adage, "When it grows together, it goes together."

Pairing wines with a versatile food fish such as tuna isn't always so simple, however. Not only are there 15 different tuna species, per the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, but there are also a seemingly limitless amount of preparation methods, each of which can affect the fish's flavor profile and potential wine pairing partners. This is why Madden believes tuna, depending upon the method used for its preparation, can be appropriately paired with white, red, or rosé wines.

The 'perfect' pairing for tuna sashimi and tuna tartare

According to Madden, a red wine or rosé is often an excellent pairing option for tuna tartare or tuna sashimi, both of which tend to be oilier and fattier than cooked tuna, whose fat is rendered from heat. But she believes it is a medium-bodied Grenache rosé that is the "perfect" pairing, saying the beverage brings out the rich flavor notes of raw tuna. In fact, she specifically mentions Remy Saves the Sea, a rosé blend with Grenache made by Reeve Wines in Sonoma County, which is currently offered by the glass at Point Easy.

Madden adds, however, that a lighter bodied red wine like Beaujolais, made with Gamay grapes, can also pair well with a variety of tuna preparations, including tuna tartare. "The earthiness of Beaujolais wines can bring out the steakier, meatier qualities of tuna, and I find Beaujolais to be some of the only reds I truly love with spicy foods (if you're eating a spicy tuna roll or a tartare with chilis) with their bubblegum notes helping to compliment and cool off the heat," she explains.

Although Madden recommends Godello and Alvarinho — grape varieties common in wines from Portugal and Spain — as ideal pairing partners for cured tuna and seared tuna, she believes heavier bodied white wines made from Chardonnay grapes (notably, wines produced in France's Burgundy region and the Willamette Valley in Oregon) also have enough bright acidity to pair well with these types of preparations.