Concha y Toro

Concha y Toro 01/04/2015

White wines, fish and shellfish


Durante siglos, sommeliers y expertos en maridaje han señalado que la armonía perfecta para los vinos blancos son los pescados y mariscos.

White wines should be drunk at cool temperatures -between 8ºC and 12ºC- as they have a more delicate texture and lighter body than red wines.

Flavors are generally fresh and with good acidity, giving them a light feel in mouth.

Harmony in white wines necessarily means complementary flavors and textures, which in turn leads to a perfect fit with fish and shellfish.

Wine with shellfish

ostionesSome shellfish have a problematic component which complicates harmonious pairing with wines: iodine.

This element has a negative interaction with tannins found in red wine, as it produces a disagreeable metallic flavor in mouth.

In addition to iodine, seafood may also have a very strong flavor, so that the wine should have a similarly strong structure and also good acidity to lower the intensity of iodine. This acidity can be found in a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

Also, wood barrel notes in wine can be too aggressive and structured for shellfish and thus are not recommended. An unoaked Chardonnay can be interesting if it is young to ensure good acidity.

Wine with fish

Fish can be classified into 3 categories:

  • White or lean fish: the most delicate fish are white or lean fish, with high water content. They have less than 2% fat per 100g of fish fillet, which makes them easily digestible. Little fat also means their caloric content is less than100 calories per 100 grams.

Among the most common lean fish are cod, haddock and flounder.

Which wines are recommended? Something delicate and subtle, such as an unoaked Chardonnay whose fruity notes complement perfectly the delicate character of this type of fish.

Atún A Sauvignon Blanc with personality is another alternative, especially for fish eaters who love to add lemon juice and avoid creamy sauces.

A Trio Chardonnay could be a very interesting companion for lean fish.

  • Semi-fatty or semi-lean fish: with at least 2% to 6% fat content per 100 grams of fish fillet. Among the most common in this category are sea bream, scorpion fish and trout.

Recommended wines should have more character than the previous category -it could be a Chardonnay with a brief aging period in barrels such as a Casillero del Diablo or Marques de Casa Concha, served at the correct temperature.

If the fish by any chance has a cream sauce, the second wine with its heavier notes is by far the best option.

  • Blue or fatty fish: these have a fat content varying between 8% and 15% and a higher caloric content with 120-200 calories per 100 grams.

Independent of these values it can be said that fish in general tend to be more nutritious than most poultry and land animals. In this category are included salmon, tuna and sardines to name the most common types. Their texture is fattier and more fibrous and they are best accompanied by wines with the same type of character and structure.

A great Chardonnay such as Amelia and Marques de Casa Concha would be an ideal pairing with fatty fish. A Pinot Noir also goes well as its delicate structure and velvety tannins provides a very enjoyable pairing.

These are just a few tips to enjoy white wines, but just remember: any food and wine pairing will always be a perfect alliance if you like it.