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 Wine and Fish Pairing 
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Post Wine and Fish Pairing
Wine and Fish Pairing
by: Ronald Senn

You work for days on end until the time arrives when you get a day off from work. It only took seconds to kiss my wife, grab my gear, hook-up the boat and hang the “Gone Fishing” sign on my office door. My wife yelled at me as I was going out the door: “Don’t catch anything if you don’t want to clean it”. Ten relaxing hours later, I appeared at the kitchen door with a stringer of bass, crappie and catfish. Before my wife could corner me, I started immediately to clean the fish at the kitchen sink. Of course, my wife would have preferred that I clean them outside. She did give me the go ahead as long as I took the fish remains to the out door garbage can, scoured the sink with Lysol, mopped the floor and sprayed some aerosol fragrance that I will call “Odor de Normal”. Time spent traveling to fish, catching the fish, cleaning the fish and sanitizing the kitchen totaled 12 hours and 27 minutes. This was still better than 8 hours behind my desk.

Couple of weeks later, I declared, “Tonight we are having those fish I caught for dinner.” My wife said, “You cook and I will go to the store for some wine”. She then asked a series of perplexing questions, “Are you leaving the skin on or taking it off?”, “Is the meat from these fish white, pink or red?”, and “How are you going to cook the fish?” In a somewhat sarcastic way, I responded, “Skin on, white meat, grilled.” She left me with the passing comment, “That is all I needed to know” and off to the store she went. I did not have to be told that she knew what she was doing, because the “smarty-pants” grin on her face told me. The fish and wine combination that resulted from our joint efforts made the evening for us.

What she knew about wine and fish, I obviously needed to learn without her knowing it. I do not do well when “smarty-pants” is right. Research with help from the search engines was undertaken immediately. I found a posting by Kara Newman in what she calls a “Whimsical Guideline” for wine and fish/seafood combinations. She said, “White wine with white seafood, pink wine with pink seafood, and red wine with red seafood”. I thought that rule might be too easy to be true. More research merely uncovered the wide range of opinion and advice on this topic.

I discovered there are principles to follow to get the right combination of fish and wine. The principles involved are the weight and texture of the food, the intensity of flavors, the need to balance tastes and the need to match flavors, unless a counterpoint flavor would be better. This did not make sense to me until a read an article on called Basic Principles of Successful Food-Wine Pairing. I even found out what “umami” was.

The has a whole series of paring wine with everything from soup to nuts. The most important pairing that they tout is the paring of wine with people. I am a firm believer that you should drink the wine that you enjoy the most and worry less about what food you may have paired with. They said pair red wine with fish, but they also added plenty of “ifs and buts” to their basic rule. I also came across an article by Sheral Schowe called “Choosing the Best Wine for Fish”. Her article provides more specific input on the wine and fish combinations. Another website, has a complete array of instructions, tips and warnings to help guide your fish and wine selections.

My research was complete and I was ready for the next time we had fish for dinner. It did not take long for my research to pay off. My wife said, “I bought some fresh halibut at the store for dinner tonight”. I replied, “That sounds great to me. You cook and I will pick up the wine”. She responded, “What wine were you going to get”. Without hesitation and with a Cheshire cat grin of my own, I said, “Without a doubt a Chardonnay, Condrieu or Rousanne would be the perfect match with halibut”. The dumbfound look on my wife’s face was worth the research. Who says that you cannot teach an old dog a new trick?

Remember what I always say store your wine properly, serve it at the right temperature and enjoy it completely.

Author: Ronald Senn, Vice-president, Ideal Wine Coolers, June 2010

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About The Author
Ronald Senn is currently Vice-president of Ideal Wine Coolers. Ron served in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970. Ron graduated from the University of Arizona with BS and MS Degrees. Ron is retired from the U.S. Forest Service after serving over 30 years.

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Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:41 am
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