The Grapevine

Luke Richardson is a sommelier who has worked in a range of venues across the UK in a career spanning more than 20 years. In his column for SLTN he shares his thoughts on all things wine-related and answers your questions about wine. If you have a question for Luke email it to

Luke Richardson

Hello again all.

I thought that this time around I would look at wines to go with seafood, blessed as we are with some of the finest seafood to be found anywhere in the world.

Whilst being a catch-all term, there are obviously different types of seafood out there, so I thought I would give a few recommendations to match these different styles.

First off, the instantly British fish and chips.

Most often Haddock or Cod, most likely battered, this can be a challenge to pair with wines, but in fact Champagne or a good dry Cava can be a good match – enough to deal with the fattiness of the batter but not too powerful to overpower the delicate flavour of the fish itself.

Next up would be lighter white fish dishes, most often served with green vegetables and potatoes.

This calls for a light bodied white, preferably high in acid. For something premium, a good quality Chablis or Sancerre goes really well but with current pricing you’re looking around £14. For something a bit more affordable, you could try a Muscadet from the far west of the Loire Valley, or a Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc – decent examples for around £8/£9.

Light bodied Italian whites also work well – Verdicchio, Falanghina, Sicilian Catarratto and the like.

For more steaky white fish such as Halibut or Turbot, for shellfish and definitely dishes where there is a good glug of cream or butter involved, then you will need something a little weightier. Chardonnay from the Macconais in the southern part of Burgundy work well here – St Veran, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Macon Verzay are all good bets. For something more affordable, cool climate New World Chardonnay also work, as do slightly weightier Godellos from Galicia in Spain.

Often we now see these meatier white fish served with some sort of meat element – Cod and Chorizo for example.

This is a perfect opportunity to match with a red wine – although only really a light bodied red works in my opinion. Juicier Pinot Noirs, Gamays (as found in Beaujolais) and lightly chilled Cabernet Francs do the trick here – enough red fruit to pair with the meat elements but not too much tannin to overpower the fish. Tuna, being more red in colour itself, also pairs well with these wines. Most often you have to look at the accompanying ingredients to see how heavy a red you can throw at these dishes – tomato or red pepper dishes allow for more medium bodied reds, such as Barbera or Galician Mencia.

Lastly, mixed grills – a combination of different seafood, again sometimes with a meat component – Paellas and Fruit De Mer and the like. Here an Albariño or a Godello from Galicia works wonders, as do Grillo from Sicily and indeed a nice dry rosé can also be pleasant.
Until next time, happy seafooding!