Break the Rules! Thats what They’re there For!!
May 13, 2010
What rule? You ask, why the most basic food pairing rule, part of our collective inheritance, White wine with fish, red wine with meat. Part of the fun and enjoyment many of us get from wine is the experimentation side of it. Now I’m not suggesting having a big brooding Aussie Shiraz with a light piece of plaice, but there are thousands of different wines out there and hundreds of different fish, so why not break the rules and add some excitement to your fish dishes! White wines work particularly well because of their high levels of acidity, just think of lemons with fish, again acidity, helps deal with the oily side of fish.
Warning Scientific Bit:
There’s plenty of useful wisdom built into this particular rule. For one, it’s meant to stop the pairing of lighter-bodied wines with heavy, over-powering foods and vice-versa. It’s also born of the idea that the high tannins and low acidity of some red wines make a very poor (and often grossly metallic) match for the oils found in plenty of seafood dishes. The rule even picked up a bit of scientific evidence last year, when a team of Japanese researchers discovered that the high iron content of red wine exacerbates the ‘fishy’ aftertaste of scallops.
3 Reds For Fish:
Knowing the background to the rule, however, just gives you all the more ammo to break it.
1) Pinot Noir; An elegant, lighter-bodied, with good acidity red that is a great with simple grilled or baked salmon or trout. A personal favourite of mine is baked salmon with a sweet chill sauce and a fruity New World Pinot.
2) Rioja; a good opportunity to consider the wine’s region, and then eat like a local (or vice-versa). The next time you try your hand at paella, go straight for a lighter-bodied Rioja crianza level or below would be best.
3) Barbera; with refreshing acidity, complex fruit-and-earth notes, and very soft tannins, Barbera is an excellent match for tuna’s rich, meaty flesh. Throw it on the grill alongside well-oiled veggies, just like the Italians do.