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Skeptic’s Guide: How does red wine go with fish?

A Skeptic’s Guide to Food and Wine Pairing: How does red wine go with fish?

In the the initial Skeptic’s Guide, I experienced an exceptionally mind-blowing experience where Attica’s expert sommelier paired amazing wines with equally amazing food. Since then, I have started to pay closer attention to how flavours change on food/wine pairings in regular life. I thought I would start with the most common rule of thumb for pairing wine with food: that red wine goes with meat and white wine with fish. My curiosity led me to wonder whether breaking this rule would produce some abhorrent abomination of flavour if I paired (dun den duuuuuuh….) a pinot noir with salmon.

The Wine

Fulcrum Mornington Peninsula 2012
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Aromatics: cherry very fruity aroma. Palate is much less sweet than the aroma would suggest. Cherry tartness, mineral and a touch of oak towards the end. Simple, easy drinking.

The Pairings

Neutral

vs. Pan-Fried Salmon: Pretty neutral. No discernible differences in taste. The wine surprisingly stands up to salmon pretty well, and I also did not feel that the salmon’s flavour was altered. I have a feeling that the salmon fat stood up well to the pinot’s acid and tannins, and preserved clean fish flavours.IMG_2598

vs. Tom Yum Soup: Actually a bit surprised by this pairing. Tannins, fruit and acid stood up to the spice and chilli heat. Some of the more subtle flavours are glossed over but overall a fairly neutral pairing.

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Negatives

vs. Beans: The beans took away vibrancy and freshness making wine flat and uninteresting.

vs. Tomato: The tomato made it taste awful and particularly acrid. Very surprised with this. I do not know if it is the tomato’s acidity that causes this or something else entirely.

 Although there were no real positive interactions this time around, there were still some surprising results from this experiment. I would have predicted the salmon and tom yum soup to have disastrous effects on the red wine (and/or vice versa) but turned out to be innocuous overall. The greatest surprise was that the green beans and tomatoes had a far more negative impact on the pinot, the exact cause of which remains a mystery to me.
Not a great success to the pairings on this round but with the caveat that I am not actually matching flavour profiles of wine with a specific food. Rather, I determine whether the wine that I happen to be drinking at the time goes with whatever I am eating. Despite this random approach to pairings, breaking the cardinal rule of fish with white wine produced a surprisingly neutral result. This has reinforced my skeptical stance/preference of drinking great wine independently of your choice in food.
At the end of the day, drink what you like and stuff the rules. Eating fish and drinking red simultaneously will not bring about the Apocalypse.
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About The Author
Peter Tan avatar
Peter Tan
Dilettante. I had to look that up.

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