What Red Wine Should I Drink with Seafood?

What Red Wine Should I Drink with Seafood?

Some pieces of advice are so commonplace that people just accept them as truths. Wait 30 minutes to swim after eating, don’t text when you're drunk, and pair white wine with fish. These maxims are ubiquitous because they’re always valid, right? Well, we won’t comment on matters of indigestion or love, but when it comes to pairing wine and fish, there are plenty of exceptions.

Red wine and fish are generally seen as incompatible because of tannins. Not only do umami-rich foods make wine tannins taste more bitter, but when tannins interact with fish oils, they produce a taste best described as “metallic.” Since white wines don’t have tannins, they’re the easy choice with fish. But maybe you’re tired of things coming too easy, or much more realistically, you’re just in the mood for red wine. To that, we say, by all means. Light reds with low tannins can pair great with fish. For proof, try any of these wines.

Reds From The Jura

Jura reds are often compared to Red Burgundy because the neighboring regions both make light, earthy wines from pinot noir. While pinot-based Jura wines would work here, we recommend reds made with the region’s native grapes, trousseau and poulsard. They’re particularly light and easy-drinking, and should be top of mind when you want well-made natural wine.

Ideal Pairing: Domaine Tissot, 'DD' Arbois 2019, Domaine du Pélican, 'Cuvée Trois Cépages' Arbois 2019


Beaujolais doesn’t need much of an introduction. When you want light, juicy, refreshing red wine, it’s probably the first thing you reach for. In other words, it fits in perfectly on this list. For more powerful dishes like tuna or grilled swordfish, go with a more structured Beaujolais from a Cru like Morgon or Moulin-a-Vent.

Ideal Pairing: Domaine Chapel, Chiroubles 2019, Terrassen, Gamay Finger Lakes 2019

Light Italian Reds

All of the wines on this list can be served chilled, and to varying degrees, they all should be. A few more you should throw in the fridge before uncorking them alongside fish are light reds from Italy, including frappato, pelaverga, grignolino, and rossese.

Ideal Pairing: COS, Frappato Sicily 2020, Martha Stoumen, 'Patatino Nouveau' Nero d'Avola 2020

Pinot Noir

There isn’t a more common red wine and fish pairing than pinot noir with salmon. However, it’s important to keep in mind that pinot noir is made all over the world, and a refreshing bottle from Mendocino will create a very different pairing than a cherry pie-esque example from Sonoma’s hot valley floor. As a general rule of thumb, stick to pinot noir from cooler climates like California’s Santa Rita Hills, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, or as always, Burgundy.

Ideal Pairing: Tatomer, 'Kick-on Ranch' Pinot Noir 2016, Jean Fournier, Bourgogne Rouge 2018

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