Do you know that Portugal is the third country in the World where people eat more fish and seafood? That’s right. We are a nation by the Atlantic and fortunate enough to have some of the best fishing areas in all the five oceans. So, no wonder that delicacies fresh from the waters end up daily in our plate. And there is only one thing better than that: finding the best Portuguese wine to pair with them. White wine and seafood: a perfect match that we are about to explore.
When it comes to cooking and enjoying shellfish, in Portugal there is one golden rule: simplify. That’s why most recipes have a few ingredients. The stars arrive from the fish boats! Sometimes, the only added seasoning is a bit of salt. When you feel a little fancier, olive oil, garlic, herbs and spices are on the menu. That’s the case, for example, of stewed clams Bulhão Pato style.
So, what kind of Portuguese white wine goes perfectly with all of this simplicity? Well, when shellfish is only boiled in salted water, try a fresh and light one, with some acidity. Or, better still, go 100% Portuguese and enjoy a Vinho Verde, or Green Wine. “What’s that?”, you might ask. Look no further: here you can learn everything about this unique wine. Or join one of our private Portuguese Wines Tastings and let us guide you.
Simple and sophisticated
It is hard to find a seaside Portuguese restaurant that doesn’t offer several grilled white fish dishes. From sardines and horse mackerel, to sea bass, bream and many other options, sometimes the hardest mission is to choose. All of them have one thing in common: again, simplicity. Some salt, a hot grill above charcoal, a few minutes and off to the table it goes. And what about the wine? A light white, slightly acidic and with fruity notes is the perfect match.
However, if your taste leans towards fish with stronger flavors, the wine to pair it with should be a full-bodied white, with some aging in wood, dense and powerful. Think about fresh tuna, salmon, trout, grouper or monkfish.
But imagine that on the menu you have another kind of dish. One of the many shellfish recipes that include grilling, frying, breading, stewing or combining it with rice. In this case, the perfect Portuguese white wine must have other features: not as young as a Vinho Verde, with a good acidic balance and a little stage in wood.
White wine and seafood: a perfect match always
To help your mission of finding a Portuguese white wine to go with your food, let us go through some regions and grape varieties:
- Shellfish – Alvarinho and Loureiro varieties, from the Vinho Verde Region. Arinto variety, from the Lisbon Region
- Poached or grilled fish – Arinto and Moscatel varieties, from the Algarve Region. Fernão Pires and Síria varieties, from the Beira Interior Region
- Baked or smoked fish – Fernão Pires and Arinto varieties, from the Açores Region. Antão Vaz and Rabo de Ovelha varieties, from the Alentejo Region
- Stewed or spiced fish and shellfish – Fernão Pires variety, from the Tejo Region. Fernão Pires, Arinto and Moscatel varieties, from the Península de Setúbal Region. Encruzado and Malvasia Fina varieties, from the Dão Region