Pairing wine and fish: is there the perfect combination?

We asked an expert, who debunks some established myths for us


Until recently, pairing wine and fish was dictated by an almost sacrosanct rule: any seafood dish had to be accompanied by a glass of white wine, possibly at a cool serving temperature. In recent years, however, things have changed a bit. Contemporary sommeliers are trying to change the view on this issue, also combining certain reds with certain fish dishes; as well as some whites to certain meat dishes.
We visited Zio Pesce in Milan - one of the most interesting seafood restaurants in the city - and asked about recommended wine and fish pairings, the future of seafood cuisine and some ideas for pairing their dishes and our wines.
Is there a basic rule for combining fish and wine?
We know well, written rule and not, that white wine goes with fish dishes and that red wine is ideal for meat dishes.
However, if a seafood dish has an intense and important flavour such as musky octopus soup, spicy mussel and tomato soup or grilled octopus, it is also ideal paired with a young red wine, one or two years after the harvest.
Essentially one is free to drink red as well with the specification that in this case both red and white are drunk at the same dinner, with white consumed first.
For raw fish - tartare, oysters, carpaccios or various types of shellfish- a Brut or a Franciacorta Saten or otherwise a young, medium-bodied white such as a Lugana, a Custoza or even a Vermentino if not too full-bodied would be ideal.
Why did you choose to include Pasqua wines on your wine list?
As a seafood restaurant with very delicate dishes we needed rather balanced and not overly full-bodied white wines. We then discovered your company and found ourselves very much in line with your production. We also found a positive note for Cecilia Beretta Prosecco DOC and decided to deepen our working relationship with Pasqua.
Tell me about the two dishes you paired with the Lugana and why.
The first are the Puglia burrata ravioli with Red Mazara shrimp tartare and poppy butter, the other is a cod salad.
We paired them with the Lugana because it is a dry, persistent, aromatic, but not too invasive wine - in these two dishes you don’t want to hide the taste of fish, because the flavors are very delicate. The Lugana Cecilia Beretta is suitable for delicate appetizers.



And the dish you paired with the Soave Cecilia Beretta?
A sea bass with thyme and pumpkin timballo.
The Soave Cecilia Beretta is a wine that goes well with vegetables, and pumpkin is sweet, so a slightly bitter and full-bodied wine like the Soave creates the right contrast.



What is the future of seafood cuisine? News, future prospects.
Thanks to the diffusion and democratization of Japanese cuisine, raw seafood has taken certainly taken off.
In addition, simplicity is increasingly valued, which once was not (just think of the over-cooking or the use of fats like cream up to twenty years ago).
Fish dishes are always more delicate and less full-bodied.
Finally, we try to waste less and less, so we give the go-ahead to the use of scraps or less noble parts of the fish.
Tell me about Zio Pesce
Zio Pesce, in Via A. Maffei, is part of Sevengroup, a group of restaurants formed in Milan in 2009. The first Zio Pesce is located in the Navigli area. The idea was to create a seafood restaurant with excellent value for money, where customers can enjoy great seafood - including fresh oysters, sea truffles, sea urchins, etc. It is an ideal place, open only for dinner and where you can go even after theatre or cinema.