Valentina Silovic

Breaking Tradition: Unconventional Wine Choices for Seafood

Pairing wine and food is often considered straightforward, with commonly heard guidelines like “red wine with red meat” and “white wine with chicken and fish.”

While these rules hold true in many cases, there is more to the art of wine and food pairing than meets the eye.

In fact, numerous white, red, rosé, sparkling wines, and even orange wines can create surprisingly delightful combinations when paired with various fish and seafood dishes.

In this article, we’ll delve into unexpected seafood and wine pairings, challenging your taste buds and expanding your vinous horizons.

Traditional wine pairing with seafood

Photo credit: Seafood and wine pairing by Jay Wennington, Unsplash

Traditional wine pairing with seafood is a fascinating exploration that combines flavors, textures, and regional influences to create an exquisite culinary experience.

When it comes to seafood, the delicate nuances of the ocean’s bounty demand careful consideration in selecting the perfect wine.

Sparkling wine with seafood

While sparkling wines are often associated with celebrations and toasts, they also make fantastic partners for seafood. The effervescence of sparkling wine acts as a palate cleanser, cutting through the richness of seafood dishes.

Whether it’s a classic Champagne, a lively Cava, or a vibrant Prosecco, the bubbles elevate the dining experience.

Pairing tips:

  • Pair a sparkling wine, preferably Ivančić Griffin Zero, with buttery lobster, or pair creamy seafood pasta with Domaine Koquelicot Kontempo for an unforgettable combination.
  • Fish and chips, a classic British favorite, are wonderfully complemented by the refreshing acidity of sparkling wine such as golden Decanter awarded Štampar Urban White, making the dish feel lighter on the palate.
  • Another well-known pairing is bone-dry fizz, such as Brut Nature Champagne, such as Galić Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, which pairs brilliantly with the soft texture of oysters.

White wines pairing with seafood

When it comes to white wines, plenty of options complement fish and seafood perfectly.

Pairing tips:

Unconventional wine pairing with seafood

Photo credit: Seafood and wine pairing by Farhad Ibrahimzade, Unsplash

When pairing wine with seafood, the conventional wisdom has long been to reach for a crisp, light white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

These classic choices certainly have their merits, but if you’re looking to break free from tradition and explore new flavor combinations, a world of unconventional wine choices is waiting to be discovered.

Rosé wines pairing with seafood

Traditionally associated with summer sipping, rosé wines are ever-growing in popularity, and for good reason. With their delicate flavors, refreshing acidity, and vibrant hues, rosés can be an unexpected but delightful companion for seafood.

Rosé is a versatile and food-friendly wine that can enhance the flavors of various fish dishes.

Pairing tips:

  • The dry and crisp style of Provence rosés, such as Galić Rosé, in particular, harmonizes beautifully with delicate shellfish like oysters and shrimp, enhancing their briny sweetness.
  • Consider trying a pale Meneghetti Rosé with a citrusy ceviche or grilled salmon for a delightful contrast of flavors.
  • A bold rosé, such as the exceptional Miloš Stagnum Rosé from Plavac Mali, complements a seared salmon steak exceptionally well.
  • For more delicate salmon preparations like sashimi or ceviche, a crisp and elegant rosé, like Saints Hills Heels Rosé from Pelješac, provides a perfect match.
  • Sparkling rosé wines, ones like Vislander Viško Bonda Rosé or Tomac Rosé with their effervescence contrasting with the soft texture of the fish, are also ideal partners for most salmon dishes.

Aromatic white wines pairing with seafood

Photo: Seafood Platter

If you’re a fan of aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer, Riesling, or Viognier, you’ll be delighted to know that they can be excellent companions for seafood.

These wines boast enticing floral and fruit aromas, with sweetness or residual sugar that can beautifully balance the briny or spicy elements in seafood dishes.

Red wines pairing with seafood

It may seem counterintuitive to pair red wine with seafood, but certain light-bodied reds can work wonders to enhance fish flavors. Opt for red wines like Pinot Noir or Lasina and Plavina grape varieties with low tannins and high acidity. These wines bring an earthy and fruity character to the table, complementing the delicate nature of seafood without overpowering it.

Pairing tips:

  • Try a Galić Pinot Noir with grilled tuna or salmon, and discover how the wine’s nuanced flavors intertwine with the fish’s natural oils.
  • Tuna, for example, pairs well with lighter reds like Ante Sladić Lasina.
  • If you’re incorporating spices or chargrilling the tuna, a bolder choice, like a Gracin Babić with its dark cherry and spicy flavors, can hold up against the stronger flavors.
  • Similarly, monkfish, known for its meatier texture, often benefits from red wine, especially when cooked in a red wine sauce. Ante Sladić Plavina, with its refreshing acidity, pairs nicely with roasted monkfish.
  • Crvik Merlot Negromant can also be a good option for preparing monkfish in red wine sauce.
  • Grilled octopus pairs very well with light to medium-bodied red wines like Kabola Merlot as well.

Orange wines pairing with seafood

Photo: Baked fish with lime

For adventurous wine enthusiasts seeking truly unconventional pairings, orange wines might be the answer. These wines spend time fermenting on their skins, resulting in a unique amber color and distinctive flavors. Their complex and assertive character adds a fascinating layer of depth to the dining experience.

Orange wines often possess intense tannins and a robust texture, making them suitable for heartier seafood preparations.

Pairing tips:


Breaking away from tradition and exploring unconventional wine choices for seafood can lead to exciting discoveries and a newfound appreciation for the interplay of flavors.

Whether you opt for a delicate rosé, a lively sparkling wine, a light-bodied red, an aromatic white, or an intriguing orange wine, the world of wine offers a vast array of possibilities waiting to be explored.

In conclusion, when it comes to pairing wine and fish, it’s essential to think outside the box and explore a range of options.

So, the next time you sit down to enjoy a seafood feast, dare to venture beyond the expected and embark on a culinary and oenological exploration journey.

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