Whether you’re dining with us at our restaurant or picking up your seafood at our fish market, deciding which wine to choose can be difficult. In food and beverage pairing, the goal is to bring out all the delicious attributes of the food in the dish. When it comes to seafood, almost everyone assumes white wines are the best and this is true for some dishes, but with others we advise you to venture out of your comfort zone and be daring! If you really want to pluck the flavors out of your fish, follow the guidelines below.
Starting with the basics that white wines are generally the way to go, there are still several different whites and multiple ways the fish can be prepared that it can seem like a mystery. So let’s solve it! If you order the Sautéed Scallops then a white burgundy like Pouilly-Fuissé is the perfect match! But, wait! Isn’t white burgundy also Chardonnay? Yes; however, Burgundy is a region in the mountains of France and the Chardonnay grapes that are harvested there are more acidic and less sugary yielding a light and tangy wine. When ordering fried scallops, you will want to pair it with a full body, buttery California Chardonnay likeJordan Winery, Alexander Valley.
Moving on to another tasty shellfish, there are numerous styles of crab cuisines, but served hot or cold, you can’t go wrong with a Pinot Grigio like Santa Margherita, Alto Aidge, Italy. The fruity, citrus notes in this light, crisp wine compliments the sweetness of the crabs. For a hardy appetizer as in our New England Crab Cakes, a mineral, steely Chablis wine is a better choice. Chablis is also made from Chardonnay grapes in Burgundy France, but is set in the farthest northern region known for its earthy flavors as supposed to the tangy Pouilly-Fuissé or buttery or oaky California Chardonnays. The mineral notes compliment the herbs used in this dish.
As we roll into the summer, you might be contemplating a Shrimp Cocktail appetizer or perhaps our Shrimp Salad? The former demands a fine German Riesling like S.A. Prum Blue, Kabinett. It is a medium dry white wine with hints of stone-fruit that raise the unique flavor of the briny shrimp to the surface. Skip this for the Shrimp Salad, though, because it will compete with the dressing used to season the dish. Instead, try Gary Farrell, Russian River Valley, Sauvignon blanc, an herby California white that draws out the veggies and the shrimp!
What about diving into our Seared Tuna Salad? Here’s where we deviate from the safety of the white wines and explore something a little more unexpected! Seared Tuna calls for a Rosé like Jean-Luc Colombo, Cape Bleue, Provence. This particular Rosé combines Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes to produce notes of cherry, raspberry, black olive, and fennel. The salmon pink color identified as rose comes from the process by which the wine is made. Rosé wines get their distinctive color and flavor by allowing the skins to remain in contact with the grapes for a short time either while they are being pressed or just before the pressing begins.
Now, if you can’t decide whether to have steak or seafood, you can have both with our Surf n’ Turf entrée and before you panic and revert back to a white wine, consider a Pinot Noir. We recommend thePali Wine Company, “Summit” Santa Barbara, California 2011. The sweet plum, ripe raspberry, red currant notes with a hint of black pepper is superb for heightening the flavors in the steak and the Florida lobster tail. Not too heavy and not too light. This one is just right!
By now you might be clutching your napkin. Hold onto your seat! This is your chance to take your taste buds on an adventure! Let’s say you’ve been craving our Seafood Marinara. What could possibly go with this zesty, tomato-based dish? The answer is Chianti. Specifically, Chianti Classico, Riserva Ducale, Gold Label, Ruffino, Tuscany with plum, cherry, and violate notes that conjure up flavors of cinnamon, chocolate, and black pepper. It’s not a compliment, but a contrast that sets off the combination on your palate!
We can’t discuss food and wine pairing without mentioning the best option for our hugely popular Bouillabaisse. The Mediterranean stew is filled with jumbo shrimp, fish, oysters, clams, lobster tail, and scallops in a tomato-saffron base. By far the best way to bring out the myriad of flavors in this dish is with Champagne by Moet & Chandon, Brut Imperial, Épernay, France.
So the next time you order one of the dishes listed above, you will know exactly which wine to choose and if you order something different from our menu, ask our knowledgeable staff. At Billy’s Stone Crab, we are always looking for ways to make your dining experience better than ever!