‘Tis the season to be jolly and nothing is jollier than seafood paired with the perfect wine on a sunny summer day. In this months blog, we’ve prepared the perfect guide to matching our local Hunter Valley wines with a full range of seafood so that your festive entertaining will be a truly memorable taste sensation for all your guests.
With such a wide range of fish and shellfish to choose from and a myriad of different ways to prepare them, there is an equally wide variety of wines to pair them with. The more delicate the fish or flavours are, we suggest the lighter the wine should be. The meatier the fish, the more robust the wine can be. Creamy sauces pair well with acidic wines to cut the fat and cleanse the palate. Spicy seafood pair better with sweeter wines to provide balance to the heat. If you’re using lemon with your seafood, try and avoid wines with heavy tannins because it will leave a metallic taste in the mouth. And yes, even white wines have varying degrees of tannins although not as much as red!
Raw Fish, Oysters & Caviar
The light freshness of these seafood choices maintains the briny taste of the ocean and is ideally suited to dry champagne (or sparkling) or a dry white wine to provide balance to the palate.
Try: Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon available from Dan Murphys or visit the Peterson House cellar door and ask the experts which of their wide range is best suited.
When serving crab, the wine pairing depends on how you’re preparing it. For citrus flavoured crab try a pinot grigio, for buttery crab, a dry riesling or if serving with a sauce, cut through the fat with sauvignon blanc.
Try: David Hook Pinot Grigio from Dan Murphys or visit Pokolbin Estate for their Riesling voted the 2021 Best Open Vintage Riesling Australia - 'WineWise'.
The undoubted best companion for this seafood is chardonnay although sauvignon blanc or riesling will also work well. A full-bodied chardonnay will complement a buttery grilled lobster tail or a creamy lobster bisque.
Try: De Iuliis Hunter Valley Chardonnay available from Dan Murphys or visit the Briar Ridge cellar door in Mount View and pick up their Briar Hill Single Vineyard Chardonnay which took out best Hunter Valley chardonnay in this year’s James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge.
If you’re serving your prawns fresh and unadorned you can’t go past a Semillon but if you’re pairing with sauces and meat flavours a chilled rose can be delicious.
Try: Brokenwood Semillon from Dan Murphys or Tyrrells Brookdale Semillon also available at Dan’s – both wineries have won awards for their Semillon's.
Salmon flesh is heavier and meatier than most seafood options and we suggest a wine that offers a high acidity level and low tannins to cut through the fat of the fish. A pinot noir or a sparkling rose could be the perfect accompaniment.
Try: Hungerford Hill Classic Pinot Noir Tumbaraumba or Audrey Wilkinson Rose from Dan Murphy’s. Pinot noir is not a common wine variety in the Hunter Valley but visits to the Hungerford Hill or David Hook cellar doors will provide local options that have been made from grapes grown elsewhere.
Flathead, Snapper, Spanish Mackerel or Barramundi
Mild, flaky white fish pairs beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc – the zesty, citric flavours go perfectly with mild tasting fish. Other wines would include pinot gris or albariño.
Try: Most of the sauvignon blanc that is sold in the Hunter Valley is blended with semillon. For a local Dan Murphy’s option try Peppertree Semillon Sauvignon Blanc or visit Tyrrells for the Old Winery Sauvignon Blanc.
This festive season, support your local wineries by experimenting and exploring the pairing options with our delicious seafood.