A Complete Wine and Seafood Pairing Guide

Want to elevate your seafood game? Make sure to pair your dish with the right wine! Here, we’ll explore a comprehensive wine and seafood pairing guide.

For our seafood lovers out there, this one’s for you. We know that not everyone sees heaven when they eat seafood as we do, but we wanted to put this guide together for similarly obsessed people.

With sunshine, seafood, and summer in full gear, we wanted to make sure you can enjoy these three things with your other favorite—wine. Below, we’ve put together a complete wine and seafood pairing guide. For the adventurous eaters to the tame tasters, we’ve got you covered. Explore and learn here!

The Seafood We’ll Cover:

  • Salmon
  • Crab and Lobster
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia
  • Halibut
  • Trout
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Scallops
  • Eel

The Wine You’ll Want:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Albarino
  • Champagne
  • Chiarandà
  • Sancerre
  • White Burgundy

Our Complete Wine and Seafood Pairing Guide

Salmon & Pinot Noir

For all the salmon lovers out there, you probably already have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Now, as with most of the items below, finding the perfect pair isn’t so simple. It depends on how it’s prepared and what spices are used. However, generally speaking, Pinot Noir is a good match for salmon because of its hearty nature.

It’s one of the main seafood dishes that can hold up to a red wine. Make sure that it’s not too tannic and abrasive—Pinot Noir is the obvious choice!

Wine recommendation: 93 Pt. Anaba Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019

Chardonnay Varieties

Crab or Lobster & Chardonnay

Crab and lobster are both delicate seafood options. When we pair them up with citrusy notes and easy herbs, the Chardonnay truly works wonders in our mouths. The bright acidity, the light nature, and a wine that’s generally known as a supporter is what sets these pairs apart.

Buttery Chardonnay works really nicely with the heartiness, sweetness, and naturally buttery nature of lobster and crab. A definite match worth tasting!

Wine recommendation: 93 Pt. Tayson Pierce Napa Valley Chardonnay 2018

Mussels & Chiarandà

Another shellfish that gets people on high alert is the wonderful mussel. People may get scared of the shell, but they’re missing out on some major tastiness. Again, the flavor of the mussels depends on the method. You’ll often find mussels soaked in a red or white wine, and maybe even a meat sauce.

Either way it’s prepared, you’ll want to have a bottle of Chiarandà on hand. A Sicilian white wine that’s made from our favorite Chardonnay grape; it’s a wine you’ll be mad you didn’t know about earlier. It’s eloquently delicate—just the right touch of floral to handle the flavor contrast in the mussels. Try it out!

Eel & White Burgundy

The next stop on our seafood and wine pairing guide is the more “extreme” (to most people) out there—eel. But if you’re a sushi fan, then you know eel doesn’t sound nearly as wild as some may think. In fact, it’s a classic sashimi fish and it’s wonderfully meaty, flaky, and versatile.

White Burgundy is mouthwatering and an easy sipper. Often referred to as a French Chardonnay, it can fit whatever sashimi you get and whatever eel you try. Next time you get sushi at home, make sure you have a bottle of White Burgundy on hand.

Wine recommendation: White Burgundy 2020 Parcelles and Cie Mâcon Prissé

Shrimp & Chenin Blanc

Whether you’re a coconut shrimp eater or a Cajun shrimp connoisseur, your go-to wine choice has to be just as versatile. Chenin Blanc is as adaptable as they come. From dry wines to sweet wines, even to some with a bit of bubbles, these wines can handle whatever shrimp dish you throw its way.

Wine recommendation: Domaine du Petit Clocher 2018 Chenin Blanc Anjou

Sauvignon Blanc Varieties

Tilapia & Sauvignon Blanc

Tilapia is another fish that you can really flavor however you want. Though Chenin Blanc could be another good choice, we recommend Sauvignon Blanc for this one. The herbal and citrus notes that you get with these pours will mesh well with the sometimes “drier” nature of tilapia.

Wine recommendation: Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2021 by Wagner Family of Wines

Scallops & Sancerre

Oh, if you haven’t fallen in love with scallops yet, you’ve got to try them out. They’re slightly sweet, beautifully buttery, and up to the recipe test—from light fare to hearty dishes. That said, they deserve a wine that can stand up to the test.

Sancerre is our best friend here. If you’re looking for a crisp white to pair with scallops, this is a great pick!

Wine recommendation: Marius César Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Silicem Terra

Oysters & Champagne

Now we’re getting into the adventurous seafood dishes. Those that know oysters understand that there’s a lot to love about them. That saltiness of the trout has nothing on the succulent saltiness of oysters. Now, just like most seafood dishes, there are a few different ways to prepare. Garlicky, grilled and spicy, citrusy—the list goes on.

Because of that, you want a wine that can handle the versatility; that’s where Champagne comes into play. The bubbles can handle a variety of flavors without overpowering or underplaying. Order a bottle and enjoy!

Wine recommendation: Le Brun de Neuville NV Le Chemin Empreinté Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Chardonnay Champagne

Halibut & Gewürztraminer

If you don’t often choose halibut, you need to start buying it. With a mild flavor, a flaky mouth feel, yet a firm composition, it can do whatever you need it to in the kitchen. It can be sweeter (halibut and strawberry salsa, anyone?) or spicier, so the fish works well with a variety of wines. We love it with a sweet Gewürztraminer.

If you’re not in the mood for that, try out halibut with a Viognier or even a Sémillon.

Wine recommendation: 94 Pt. Boeckel Zotzenberg Grand Cru Gewurztraminer Alsace 2018

Trout & Albariño

Here we’ve got two crisp items—trout and Albariño. Trout is a fish that’s on the saltier end of the spectrum, so you want a white wine that’s crisp enough to even out the salt and not make you pucker your lips in distaste. But what sets an Albariño apart from its other crisp counterparts is the salinity already showcased in the wine.

It’s filled with rich stone fruit flavors, a bit of salinity that handles seafood well, and a tasteful acidity. It’s the perfect pair!

Wine recommendation: Albariño Rías Baixas 2018 Adegas Tollodouro Pontellón

For all of these seafood and wine options, turn to Wines ‘Til Sold Out to get your fill. Our monthly subscription of at-home wine tasting kits, Premium Wine Club, will help you try out different wines so you can experiment with your favorite sushi dishes. Explore our premium wines, too, so you can really bask in luxury!

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