The Best Wine to Drink with Seafood

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Whole Foods Market Sarasota’s wine expert David Sysak on what wine to sip with seafood.


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best wine and seafood pairings

Stone Crab “Stone crabs are typically served chilled, so I’d go with a nice cold sauvignon blanc. Avoid choices from New Zealand as they can be a bit grapefruity. A Sancerre’s mineral quality and steely acidity should cut through the brininess of the meat.”

Pan-seared Fish “Normally, to sear fish you’d start with clarified butter. Oaked chardonnays have nice tropical fruit notes as well as a buttery finish from the toasted oak. South African selections are often just buttery enough. Some California selections can be a bit too rich.”

Shrimp Cocktail “A Kabinett riesling from Germany. The acidity is moderate to low, which will help tame the spiciness of the cocktail sauce, and these wines have a nice smooth texture and residual sweetness, which can also help with a spicy sauce.”

Grouper Sandwich “I like my grouper with barky grill marks on it. I’d go for an Oregonian pinot noir. It has a firm acid structure that’s always nice with a creamy tartar sauce and delivers notes of Bing cherry and earth; the latter will pair nicely with the grill marks.”

Fish and Chips “[For] fried food, I want to cut the fat with something bubbly. Beer is the first thing that comes to mind, but a Prosecco from Italy can be very nice, too. Look for a brut, as that will wash away that fat better.”

Crab Cake “Once again, bubbles work, or you could also go with an unoaked version of a char-donnay. I like chablis as an option, with its acidity and minerality and subtle tropical fruit notes—especially nice with a mango salsa-topped crab cake.”

Bouillabaisse “To match the richness, herbaceousness and acids of a bouillabaisse, I would choose a white Bordeaux—it’s herby, acidic, mineral-y and has a touch of softness in the finish. The flavors are similar to the bouillabaisse, and the wine will be quenching enough to get you prepared for your next bite.”

Oysters “Raw oysters are classically paired with Muscadet-Sevre et Maine—limey, briny, lean and clean. Rockefeller oysters are rich, earthy and best of all bacony/cheesy. With this I’d choose a red Burgundy. Slightly acidic with a strong earthy aroma—a perfect fit.”

Shrimp Scampi “All that garlic butter screams for a crispy, citrusy Italian pinot grigio. Look for some mid-priced choices from Friuli.”

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