Monday, July 7, 2014

Wine Tip of the Week: Eat This Drink That Series - Summertime Grilled Fish

Summertime grilling isn't always about steak, burgers, and hot dogs. It is also a great time to enjoy fish prepared on the grill. The charring of the grill adds a bitter taste element to the fish that makes the flavor profile all the more interesting. In picking a wine for your grilled fish, ask yourself what do you typically do to fish before serving or eating it? Whether sautéed, deep fried, or grilled, a squeeze of lemon is a typical finishing treatment. The lemon adds acidity that works to brighten the flavors of the fish.  A good acidic wine will have the same impact as that squeeze of lemon.  For my pairing suggestions today I am going to avoid the typical choices like Sauvignon Blanc (which is a great pairing), but point you to some lesser known grapes that will perfectly complement your meal.  Why not try something new!

Eating this?:
  • Grilled Fish.
Drink this:
  • Albariño. This Spanish white is very versatile, and is one of my go-to white wines for food pairing.  
  • Torrontes. The white wine of Argentina is another excellent pairing option with a nice amount of balanced acidity, and typically very aromatic.
  • Gavi. The white wine from Piedmont, Italy which doesn't get much attention because the reds of Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, and Barbera steal the spotlight. 
  • Grüner Veltliner. Austria's white wine is another very versatile wine for food pairing. Stick to Austrian versions for your pairing, as experiments with this grape in other areas do not seem to produce a product quite as good as the original.
  • Assyrtiko. Perhaps a bit tougher to find, this wine from Greece is a great option.  This grape is able to maintain acidity even as the grape ripens, so will produce a tasty, fruity wine that still has the acidity level you want.
Avoid this:
  • Avoid big reds.  The char level of the fish, and heartier fishes may hold up to a lighter red, but save the big reds for the steaks and burgers.
  • Avoid low acidity wines. Wines like Gewürtztraminer may not have the acidity level you want, and the perfume-like characteristics may clash with the flavors of your fish.

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