The Fish And Red Wine Pairing You Should Avoid

There are plenty of food "rules" out there that you may have heard of. For example, if you're someone who likes to try pairing the most complimentary wines to your food dishes, then you may have heard the "rule" that you aren't supposed to pair red wine with fish. Well, while there may be some truth to it, it isn't as cut and dry as most people think.

As it turns out, only some fish dishes, such as mackerel and herring, interact negatively with red wine — specifically, the combination of those fish with the tannins in red wine can lead to a metallic aftertaste. While we certainly don't want to taste metal while enjoying a meal, you shouldn't let the misconception ruin your red wine and fish pairing, as long as you exclude mackerel or herring. In other words, feel free to have as much salmon, tilapia, or catfish alongside a nice red wine as you want.

What to know about pairing fish with wine

One thing about pairing red wine with fish is that you want to avoid overpowering the taste of the fish. So, with that in mind, it's best to stick to light-bodied reds, including Pinot Noir or Zinfandel, or medium-bodied reds like Cabernet Franc or Merlot. On the other side of the spectrum, some full-bodied reds that you're probably better off avoiding when pairing with a fish dish include Syrah and Malbec.

Meanwhile, if you're looking to go the route of a white wine, first you should decide what fish dish you're in the mood for. Fish with milder tastes, such as tilapia, and wines such as Pinot Grigio, which are in the light-to-medium-bodied range, are a good fit. Or, if you're looking for a stronger flavored fish, such as the aforementioned mackerel or herring, something medium-bodied such as Sauvignon Blanc would be a great option. 

Finally, sparkling wines, such as Prosecco or Champagne, pair well with battered or fried fish. So, a glass of Prosecco would go perfectly with a plate of fish and chips.