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Captain Hook's Blog

Captain Hook's Blog

What Wines Go Well With Smoked Fish

What is the best wine to drink with smoked fish? The most common type, smoked salmon is normally associated with champagne but is there a general rule when it comes to smoked fish and wine pairing? We always hear that white wines pair best with fish however, how do you pick a bottle that perfectly complements the smokiness of the dish. We are no sommelier but with our extensive experience with smoked fish, we are confident that we can share a few things about this topic. This is not a definitive guide but more about what we know works with our product selection.

Pairing is usually done based on the type of fish.

Best Wines for Meaty Fish

Smoked salmon, tuna, and swordfish are considered “meaty fish.” They have this firm and steak-like texture. For these types of fish, it is best to choose full-bodied white wines. Sometimes, even some red and rosé wines would work too!

  • Dry Rosé
  • Oaked Chardonnay
  • Vintage Champagne
  • Falanghina Greco
  • Viognier
  • Italian Chardonnay
  • Marsanne
  • Roussanne
  • Grenache Blanc

Best Wines for Intensely-Flavored Fish

Salty and tastes just like the sea, strongly-flavored fish such as mackerel can intensify the overall profile of the dish when mixed with other ingredients. For example, a tangy mackerel + green salad will probably need a red choice instead of the usual pick, which is the white wine.

  • Pinot Noir
  • Grenache Blanc
  • Champagne
  • Crémant
  • Dry Lambrusco Rosé
  • Dry Rosé
  • Crémant
  • Gamay
  • Cava

Best Wines for Medium-Textured Fish

When we say “medium-textured,” it normally refers to being considered as flaky fish but with firmer and thicker texture. Fish varieties classified in this category tend to hold up to richer sauces and ingredients. Perfect examples would be trout and halibut! Look for medium bodied whites with high aromatics and rich full-bodied whites aged in oak.

  • Chardonnay
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • White Rioja
  • Sémillon
  • Dry Chenin Blanc
  • Fiano (Italy)
  • Vermentino (Italy)
  • Pinot Gris
  • Dry Riesling

Always remember, no matter the preparation, richly smoked fish dishes will always taste a little drier so you will need wine pairings that quench them and that will complete the flavor profile.

We hope that the aforementioned list is helpful as you plan your next special event or family dinner at home!

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