Wine & Food

Snooth User: Danica Stitz

Top Ten Summer Seafood Wines

Posted by Danica Stitz, May 7, 2012.


I can't help it, I like lists! And since we are on the cusp of the summer season (almost), why not one based on the summer season, and more specifically: seafood? Of course, the world of seafood is  as varied as this list, and it just as easily could have been a list of 100 ... but one must start somewhere!

Here goes:

1. Domaine Sainte Lannes Cotes de Gascogne 2010

This refreshing white is brimming with lemon-lime citrus and briney notes, as well as crisp acidity. Unusual in that it is made from charismatic varieties: 80% Colombard and 20% Gros Manseng, NOT Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano).

2. Domaine La Haute Fevrie Muscadet Sur Lie 2010

A classic wine from the Atlantic coastal region of the Loire Valley, this wine is a
no-brainer when it comes to oysters and other succulent shellfish!

3. Dibon Brut Cava NV

A dependably delicious and straightforward Cava with lots of grapefruit citrus and palate-perking bubbles. Made from Macabeo, Parrelada, Xarel.lo and Chardonnay.

4. Diorama Terra Alta Garnatxa Blanca 2010

This very unique Catalonian white offers wet-stone minerality, peach pith notes and vibrant acidity. Undiluted Garnatxa fun!

5. Pionero Mundi Albariño 2010

A refreshing white wine made from the coastal region of northwest Spain—where barnacles are a favorite delicacy. Lots of pear, red apple and briney minerality.

6. Mancini Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi (Amphora) 2010

Made from old-vine Verdicchio, it boasts vivid notes of lime, mineral creaminess and a hint of sea salt. Perfect for seafood, it even comes in the fish-shaped bottle.

7. La Mancina Colli Bolognese Pignoletto Frizzante NV

Made in the Bolognese hills northwest of Emilia-Romagna, where the Pignoletto grape is the star. Known primarily for still wines, this sparkling version is a rare treat!

8. Tselepos Mantinia Moschofilero 2010

From the Peloponnese, where seafood dominates the cuisine, this varietal wine is reach and creamy with enticing floral and apple notes, a choice match for branzino or dorado.

9. El Porvenir de los Andes Laborum Torrontés 2011

This wine will make you rethink Torrontés. Sourced from high-elevation, slow-ripened grapes from La Salta, this is a perfect wine for grilled fish, such as swordfish steaks or mahi mahi.

10. Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2009

A perennial favorite (on any list actually), this stunningly perfect New Zealand Chardonnay makes a great match with anything you might drizzle butter on … a wine with both richness and nervosité.

Has anyone tried these or another wine that you absolutely LOVED with seafood? I would love to hear what worked and what didn't!

(If anyone would like a pdf of this list, send me your email).





Reply by EMark, May 7, 2012.

I do not have any experience with any of the wines you mention, Danica, but from what I do know about them your list seems very good.  I suppose I'm a little surprised not to see any German wines on a "Summer" list, but, maybe, that is one of my prejudices.

I am impressed to see a Torontes listed.  I am new to Torontes and recently purchased some samples, including one (Colome) from the Salta region.  I guess I missed my chance, though.  Yesterday we had grilled Mahi Mahi, and I did not pick the Salta Torontes.  I do, now, have a recommendation for my next grilled fish dinner.

One more thing, us sixty somethings, especially the males, like to refer to Verdicchio bottles as "Sophia Loren-shaped."  If that is not the traditional thinking, then so be it.


Reply by Richard Foxall, May 7, 2012.

Glad to see a Muscadet from the Loire on here, but I would also include a real Champagne and at least one Sancerre with any white, flakier fish, esp salads.  Also a little surprised not to see Gruner--sure, it's very two years ago, but so is Albarino--and a great low alcohol (like 8%) Kabinett--great for those summer cookouts when the guests arrive early.  Acid to balance the RS, and you can drink and drink without geting sloshed before dinner. Chardonnay?  Likely a little heavy for my summer tastes, but I'm pretty off chardonnay these days anyway. 

Reply by Danica Stitz, May 8, 2012.


Yes, agreed ... I am a huge fan of Rieslings too, and this list is by no means all conclusive! For me personally, my absolutely favorite pairing for Rieslings are full-flavored and spicier dishes, such as Middle Eastern or Indian food. But why stop there? 

Also, I should throw a red flag on Torrontes, as there is a lot of clonal variation with this grape, and depending on which clone used (among other things), the wines can range from lackluster neutral to much more floral, rich and flavorful, so choose your producer wisely.



Reply by Danica Stitz, May 8, 2012.


Thanks for your response!

I know, there are a lot of ABC people out there right now (anything-but-chardonnay), but don't give up on this grape!--it is responsible for some of the most sublime wines out there! Go treat yourself to a glass (or bottle) of Grand Cru Chablis to remind yourself why  :) And richer Chardonnays, as the Neudorf, would pair very well with grilled prawns, soft shell crab and above all: lobster.

And yes, Gruner would be a faboulous addition to this list, especially if pairing with fish baked with white wine and provincial herbs ... (now I am getting hungry). Ditto on Champagne.





Reply by JonDerry, May 8, 2012.

I've been trying more with Chardonnay lately, it's kind of like going under hypnosis, you have almost have to make up your mind that you're open to it, a closed stance may never yield anything. Though it's helped to have tried a couple of Kistlers, just had a 2008 Kistler Durell Vineyard over the weekend, and it went great with salmon steak.

Too bad the Neudorf seems hard to acquire in the states.

#1 on your list is a Vin de Pays, right?

Can't wait for the 2010 Burgundy whites, have you tried any Danika?

Reply by EMark, May 8, 2012.


I feel that variations in clones, producers, micro-climates and, even, bottles are a kind of fact of life when enjoying wines.  I take lists like yours as guidelines.  Finding the specific vintage of a specifict bottling of a specific maker is oftentimes difficult.  While I live in a large metropolitan area, more often than not, I am generally not interested in driving through crosstown traffic to procure that specific vintage of a specific bottling of a specific maker.  In my cellar is a bottle of what may (or may not) be a similar wine.  (I get to define "similar.")  So, there is no effort on my part to pull it out and try it with your recommendation to match with grilled seafood.  If I try it, and find the results disappointing, I am perfectly OK with that.  On the other hand, if I happen to see the El Porvenir in one of the local purveyors, I will also remember your recommendation and, probably, pick it up.  If I try that with grilled seafood and am disappointed, does that mean your recommendation is invalid?  Of course not.  You and I may (probably) have different tastes in types of seafood, types of seasonings, types of grills or, even, types of side dishes.  In other words, I don't take this whole thing too, seriously.  It's all a matter of fun and enjoyment.

Here's a thought on the Riesling thing.  I have never had this, but it just popped into my mind, yesterday, while I was on my mid-day constitutional.  What about matching Riesling with crab?  I agree that I am talking about two things that both have, at least, a "sweetish" component, but I might give that a shot.


Reply by edwilley3, May 10, 2012.

If the dish is not too intense, a cheap but cheerful Vinho Verdho might not be a bad idea.

Reply by EMark, May 11, 2012.

Ed, how could I ignore Vino Verde, it's not just not a bad idea, it is a great idea.

Danica, I had the Colome Torontes, last night.  Not a bad wine, and, certainly, not a great wine.  I did have it with grilled seafood--Ahi Tuna.  Also, Mrs. Emark came up with an inspired idea--use some left-over parsley and make a Chimmichurri sauce (unintentionally continuing with the Argentina theme).  I know that Chimmichurri is traditionally served on beef, but c'mon it is sensational on grilled, full-flavored fish.  The wine matched reasonably well, but it might have been better we topped the fish with a stone-fruit salsa or something with at bit of sugar in it.

The research continues.  Isn't it great?

Reply by amour, Oct 9, 2012.

I am happy that you listed a MUSCADET SUR LIE!  When Muscadet is not SUR is too ordinaire/ ordinary...!  Muscadet gets needed GUSTO when left on lies..such a tang uumph!!!


And just think that in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., we have summer ALL YEAR AROUND...just about!

We can use your list everyday, possibly!!!!

Thanks for the list, Dancia dear!

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