Matching seafood and wine can be problematic. Some seafood flavours are delicate and you need a wine that will complement and not overpower the subtle flavours. Other seafood dishes are more robust, maybe with rich creamy sauces or tomato or spice. These foods need wines with a bit more body, texture and weight.
To help navigate this minefield, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you match wines to all different seafood dishes.
For fresh unadulterated seafood such as shellfish and steamed prawns you can’t go past Semillon, and the Silkman Semillon and Thomas Braemore Semillon are gorgeous with these foods. Ditto the Harvest Blanc de Blancs and the Larmandier Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs. Being fizzy, both wines will go with just about anything. Possessing a clean, pure and dry profile with lemon and lime fruit and mineral characters. Perfect with ocean fresh flavours that can be easily smothered by bigger and more textured wines.
However, if you were to add lime to your (Sydney rock) oysters, a white wine vinaigrette, or some other dressing, you will need something a little more flavoursome. The Rocky Gully Riesling and Smith Hooper Pinot Grigio, have that little bit of heft that will affix well to the stronger bitier flavours. For those of us who need a little luxury with oysters, then try the Wagner Stempel Riesling Porphyr 2017 and the Domaine de la Pepiere Chateau Thebaud 2015 Muscadet (mouthful!). They are a big step up, with greater levels of intensity, concentration and complexity. All these wines will also pair very well with trout, smoked or otherwise.
Fiano is particularly versatile, matching well with virtually any seafood dish, and the Jade and Jasper from Unico Zelo is a terrific example. Seafood paella or prawn linguine would be a great match. Fiano is a richer, spicier and more textured white wine, so works excellently with cream sauces, spices, herbs, nuts, tomato, butter, lobster and crab, and oily dishes too. Like I said, anything really. The one caveat I would put here however, is that I don’t like Fiano with smoked or BBQ flavours. Fiano tends to have a strong flavour and soft palate, making the match overwhelming on the palate.
Jurancon is one of my favourite wines due to its abundantly pure, fresh flavours and delicate texture. If I wanted to disarm someone with a wine a dry Jurancon would be my choice. Discreet, elegant, charming and persistent without being nagging. Domaine Cauhape Jurancon Sec ‘Chante des Vignes’ 2017 is a delight. It does pair with oysters, but go with the creamy Sydney rocks. What I really like to pair it with is a white fish such as Whiting. Lightly crumbed and cooked in butter, this is a perfect choice for a simple fish dish.
The Marq Chardonnay, does tip over onto the richer side of Chardonnay, but it’s not heavy. Richer flavours and textures are called for with crab, lobster, fish pie and cream dishes. Match also with meaty fish like Salmon, Tuna and Swordfish. Let’s be honest, size does matter, so for the richest dishes (a mornay for example) the Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay 2015 is hard to beat. As it ages the Vat 47 gains in breadth weight and curve. Generally, at about 10 years you’re on the money.