Pairing Kosher Wine with Fish

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We’re speaking with wine expert Jay Buchsbaum from Royal Wine. Last time, we discussed pairing wine with dairy pasta dishes. Today we’ll talk fish.

Q: Before we discuss pairing fish dishes and wine, I have another question. Jay, if a recipe calls for wine – I always recommend serving the same wine for drinking, please tell me I am right. I always like to be right.

A: Of course you’re right Jamie. Also my wife is always right, my kids are always right… But getting back to your question –it’s a food pairing question, actually. It’s a matter of harmony and continuity, so yes -- I would serve the same wine used in the recipe.

Q: I have another rule of my own about that. Always use wine in your recipe that you would drink, not “cooking wine.”

A: I agree, but the exception to that is if the recipe calls for wine vinegar to enhance the food. Kedem makes a good wine vinegar, and Bartenura has created balsamic wine vinegar. Remember that sometimes a recipe will say “cooking wine” because in the United States “cooking wine” means “salted wine.” What the recipe probably means is that they want that added salt flavor.

Q: What should people spend for everyday wine?

A: $8- $15. It needn’t cost more. Weinstock White by W and Weinstock Red by W sell for under $10 and they’re a lot of fun. The white is lightly off-dry and a little fruity. It should be served well-chilled. If you want to give yourself a little treat once in a while, spend $20-$25 on something interesting. Baron Herzog’s Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot are a good pick. For those who like it a little sweet the red or white Jeunesse. Baron Herzog wines are always dependable well-made wines. W wines fit the bill too at under $10 – you can always step it up for Shabbat and guests.

Q. My in-house wine connoisseur (Hubby, of course) always says that Weinstock Cellar wines are the best bang for your buck when you’re searching for a $20 bottle, and we also love Barkan Classic for a $10 value. It’s excellent.

A: You have a dozen choices in Barkan Classics, and they’re all relatively inexpensive. It should be easy to find something that’s easy on your palate and on your pocketbook.

Q: Ok, so let’s move on to pairing food and wine. Tuesday is fish night in my house. Let’s say I want to serve salmon, with some citrus and herbs. What wine would go with that?

A: Bartenura Prosecco – a sparkling wine from Italy -- is dry, fresh and light. It goes really well with a nice light salmon dish. It’s at the higher end of “daily” wines, but it’s not that expensive -- about $15.

Q: Chilean Sea Bass?

A: Segal Reserve Chardonnay is my first choice. This white wine from the Upper Galilee in Israel has a tropical fruit aroma, but you’ll get a slightly woody taste (from the oak barrels in which it was aged) and little hints of butterscotch, cashew and vanilla. It doesn’t interfere with the sea bass; its richness complements the fish.

Q: How about a light flaky fish, like tilapia?

A: I’d go for a Pino Grigio from California; Baron Herzog would be a good choice. It’s very light, with wonderful aromas that will remind you of ripe pears, apples and tropical fruit. It’s a lighter bodied wine, so it goes with lighter bodied food.

Q: Next time I’d like to talk about pairing wine with poultry and meat. Are you game?

A: You bet. We’ll be getting into some of my favorite wines.

Do you have any Kosher Wine questions for Jay, our wine expert? He would love to answer them. Please leave your questions and comments in the comment section below. L'Chaim!