Seafood 101:
Seafood and Wine Pairing

Seafood and wine pairing is a way to enjoy the wonderful flavors of seafood and wine in one meal. The perfect combination adds harmony to your dish, enhancing the taste so you can fully appreciate each bite. To understand how each component plays off each other, we must first discuss what factors make for successful food pairings. 
Wine selection plays an important role in seafood dishes by balancing certain tastes while adding complexity at the same time. If you’re new to this process or need a refresher course, our guide will provide tips on selecting the ideal type of wine for seafood and fish.

What wine goes with fish?

The wine you select is highly dependent on the type of fish, preparation, and personal preference. Generally, some lighter white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, can pair nicely with most fishes. These would work best for milder flavored fishes such as tilapia and trout. More full-bodied whites like Chardonnay are better suited for richer fishes like salmon. Other good options include a light rosé or blanc de noir sparkling wine.

A glass half-full of white wine, next to a full bottle from Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant, a restaurant in Resorts World.

Enjoy the best seafood in Las Vegas by booking a table at Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant today.

How to pair wines based on the type of fish

There are generally four different types of fish:

  • Meaty/oily fish: Salmon, tuna, monkfish, and mahi mahi
  • Lean and flaky fish: White fish, such as branzino, tilapia, sea bass, and haddock
  • Intense fish flavor: Sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herring
  • Medium-textured fish: Fish like catfish, arctic char, trout, and halibut that can also be flaky

When selecting wines based on the type of fish, you want to pair one that will enhance and complement the flavor of the fish. Generally, the best wine for seafood is whites due to their fruity, citrus, and floral nodes:

  • You want a rich white wine, like an Oaked Chardonnay Viognier or an Italian Chardonnay for meaty and oily fish
  • Choose a refreshing or zesty white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or any Greek white wine for lean and flaky fish
  • Some good wine options for intensely flavored fish include Pinot Noir and Grenache Blanc
  • The wines that pair well with medium-textured fish are rich medium or full-bodied whites, such as White Rioja, a dry Riesling, or a Vermentino

What white wines pair well with fish?

Some white wines that pair well with fish include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscadet, and Vouvray. Sparkling wines such as Champagne Brut and Cava are good options as well.

Should red wine be paired with fish?

Red wines tend to have heavier bodies and intense flavors, overpowering the delicate taste of fish. Some red wines also contain higher tannin levels, making the fish seem very metallic. Therefore, it is generally recommended to avoid red wines paired with fish dishes, especially oily fish like salmon.

However, if you prefer red wines, some that pair well with fish include Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache blend, and Rosato (Rosé). These lighter-bodied reds tend not to overpower the delicate flavors of fish dishes. 

Can you drink rosé wines with fish?

You can drink dry rosé wines with fish dishes. The lighter body and low tannins make it an excellent match for various fish dishes. Some good options include Provence-style dry Rosé, Pinot Noir Rosé, or a Sparkling Rosato.

What wine goes with shrimp?

A light to medium-bodied white wine such as a Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc will pair nicely with most shrimp dishes. Try pairing it with an oaked Chardonnay or dry Riesling for more full-flavored shrimp dishes. Opt for an unoaked Chardonnay or a buttery Viognier to complement shrimp cooked in a cream sauce. Other good options include Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend wines. Sparkling rosé can also be a great choice when serving grilled shrimp.

What wine goes with crab?

A light-bodied white wine such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Gris pairs best with crab. For a richer-flavored crab dish, try an oaked Chardonnay or Semillon/Sauvignon blend. Other good options include rosé sparkling wines and Champagne, which can provide additional depth and complexity to the flavor pairing.

What wine goes with lobster?

A buttery-style Chardonnay or oaked Viognier would pair nicely with lobster dishes. For a lighter option, choose a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. A dry German Riesling is also an excellent choice for more mellow preparations of lobster, like steamed or grilled. When serving spicy flavors such as curries or garlic butter, reach for bubbly sparkling rosé wines to cut through the heat and bring balance to your meal.

What wine goes with scallops?

Scallops pair best with light-bodied white wines such as a Chenin Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay. For more flavorful preparations, opt for an oaked Chardonnay or a dry Riesling to bring out the sweetness of the scallop without overwhelming it. If you want to add some sparkle to the meal, pair them with a Brut Champagne or Cava Sparkling Wine. Other good choices include Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

What wine goes with caviar?

When serving caviar, it is typically best with a dry sparkling wine like Blanc de Noirs. This crisp and bubbly style will offer the perfect contrast to the salty-briny flavor of caviar and makes for an excellent pairing. A light Champagne is also quite fitting, as its slightly sweeter profile can provide a nice counterbalance to the flavors of caviar without overpowering it.

Quick list of different types of fish and the best wine pairings

  • Salmon – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Cava Sparkling Wine 
  • Tilapia – Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc 
  • Trout – Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or Viognier
  • Halibut – Gewurztraminer or Muscadet 
  • Whitefish – Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, or Champagne Brut
  • Catfish – Pinot Grigio, Vouvray sec (dry), or Prosecco sparkling wine
  • Tuna – Syrah/Shiraz Grenache blend, Vermentino, or Rosato (Rosé) 
  • Mackerel – Muscadet Sévre et Maine sur Lie or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Cod – Chardonnay or Oaked white wines such as Viognier


The type of wine you choose to pair with your fish dishes will depend largely on the particular preparation and flavors involved. Lighter whites such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, or Riesling work well with most fishes. Try a full-bodied white like Chardonnay or oaked Viognier for richer flavored fish like salmon. 

When looking for something different than typical white wines, lighter reds and Rosé also can make great pairs with fish dishes. Whichever wine you choose, be sure not to overpower the delicate flavor of the seafood.

The best seafood in Las Vegas

A hand holding caviar from Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant, a restaurant in Resorts World.

When you want the best wine pairings and the best seafood on the Las Vegas Strip, visit Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant, part of the restaurants in Resorts World. We create a social dining atmosphere that is fun, enjoyable, and provides the perfect place to savor seafood and wine. We also have several red meat dishes and delectable options, so everyone can find something they will enjoy. 

Book a reservation at Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant today.