Food and wine pairing: does red wine go with fish?

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The whole question of matching food and wine can seem beyond us, but it isn’t. When it comes to matching food and wine it can seem that everything that can be said has been said, but at the same time there’s a black hole.  What do we mean by this? That having white wine with fish is all very well, they are a good match and all that, but there is a whole world beyond such classic pairings.

Before suggesting some different food and wine pairings we should define what we mean. What is matching wine with food about? The art of matching wine and food consists in finding that subtle harmony between a wine and the food it is enjoyed with, so that the blend enhances the pleasure derived on the palate from both.

 

To achieve this, the following should be borne in mind:

· The depth of flavour of the raw ingredients used in the making of the dish, along with their intensity.
· The fullness and intensity of the wine, understood through several factors, such as the grape or grapes used in making the wine and how long it has been left to age in oak, among others.

Another useful rule of thumb would be that wine and food pairing is the art of bringing out the best in both. What you have on your plate and in your glass should be advantageous to both, each is there to enhance the other. Food and wine pairing goes wrong when a dish is too full-flavoured and the wine is too delicate. Both should be punching at the same weight. Though, you should always remember that the ideal combination is the one that you like best.

 

That said, these are our suggestions to boost your gastronomic enjoyment at a time when we are being confined inside our homes:

-Starters: Sparkling wines and rosés are always a great choice as they are so versatile. One of our DOP Utiel Requena cavas from our “A” or Enterizo ranges, or a rosé from our AULA and Al Vent ranges are the perfect accompaniment to kick off a midday or evening meal (though you can also stick with them throughout the meal, needless to say!).

-Fish and shellfish: The classic choice is a good white wine, but it might surprise you to learn that sometimes a red wine is a much better match. If you are having a fuller-flavoured blue fish such as salmon or tuna, it is a good idea to match it with a red wine. We suggest our Aula Bobal Tempranillo, a young, fruity red that goes perfectly with dishes like these. Save the white wine for the shellfish and more delicate white fish; for these we could look for a white with good acidity, freshness, with a tang of saltiness, like our Aula Verdejo, just the thing to bring out those flavours of the sea.

For other seafood delicacies, such as the local mussels (known as “clóchinas”), shrimps or prawns, our Al Vent Sauvignon Blanc fits the bill perfectly, as a fresh wine with good acidity that sets off these more delicate flavours.
Oysters or clams, however, cry out for a good cava such as Aula Brut Nature. The combination of bubbles and the silky texture of these fruits of the sea, either steamed or just as they come, is a match made in heaven.
Lobster cooked in rice is a more intensely flavoured dish which would go perfectly with a rosé wine, such as our classic Enterizo Rosado, to bridge the contrast in flavours between the fuller-flavoured star ingredient and the savoury aromas of the stock. If you haven’t had a go at making this yourself, here’s a link to a recipe by 3-Michelin star chef Dani García, just click here.

-Meat: For poultry and white meat feel free to choose a red or a white, both tend to be a good match. The eventual choice will depend to a large degree on the sauce, as this will determine the fullness of flavour of the dish. Red meat cries out for full-bodied wines with more tannins. We love Karlos Arguiñano’s recipe for Beef Wellington (click here) which we suggest you pair with Adnos, a top-notch old vine Bobal described by Juan Fernandez Cuesta, ABC newspaper’s wine critic, as “a grand red wine in every sense, noble but approachable, full of flavour and very moreish.”

–Dessert: To round off the meal, we can think of various options. A rich, chocolate-based dessert could be paired with a full-bodied red (bear in mind that both chocolate and wine have something in common, the compound resveratrol, a wonderful antioxidant that helps rejuvenate the cells in our body). It should be a mature red, maybe the very one with which we rounded off the main course, a wine with a long finish to slurp with pleasure as we happily spoon the chocolate, or we might choose a cheese platter (also great with Adnos, as it’s a complex wine that is aged for that bit longer in French oak casks to give it those rounded tannins).

Another possibility would be to go back to where we started, with a nice chilled cava to help wash the meal down.

If you’re looking for more suggestions for pairing food and wine, take a look at our post on the subject which has further examples of some of our best wines paired with their perfect food accompaniment.

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