Challenging Wine Pairing: Fish and Chips



By LaGayle ~ November 9th, 2010.

A good friend gave us some fresh fish from Alaska including a package of ling cod so I thought it would be fun to have fish and chips for this month’s challenging wine pairing. We all know that fish and chips is a popular take-out food that we associate with England, but I decided to do a little research on this popular dish to learn more.  It originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1850’s to early 1860’s, and cod is the traditional fish used in the preparation. Although it is considered an English dish, it seems that the idea of fried fish came to Britain in the 16th century via the persecuted Portuguese Jews. And, in case you don’t know, chips is what the British call French fries.

The menu for this pairing included fish and chips, prepared in a Coors beer batter, and spicy coleslaw. I’ve always enjoyed fish and chips, but I have to say that this was some of the best I’ve ever had, and I believe the credit goes to the wonderful fish that was used in the preparation. [Thanks, Jesse!]

Now, what wines to pair with this meal? The fact that wine is not the standard beverage of choice for fish and chips only added interest in doing this pairing. I hope this series proves that wines can be found to pair with just about anything. Once again, I referred to my favorite book, What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, to determine which wines to try. Since fish and chips is an inexpensive meal, I wanted to find wines that would be in the $10 or under price range. As I read the suggested wines, I just could not resist the idea of a sparkling wine as one of the choices—it was just too much fun to think about sparkling wine and fish and chips together! The two wines we paired with our fish and chips were a French sparkling wine (not from Champagne), the NV Louis Perdrier Brut Rosé, and a Washington white blend of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, the 2009 Cavatappi Stimulus Package White Wine. All four of us thought that the French sparkling wine paired best with the fish and chips. While it may not be the first pairing that comes to your mind, it is an excellent choice.

We’d love for you to share in the comments what you would have paired with this meal. And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for challenging wine pairings for us to try in the future.

Bon Appétit!

NV Louis Perdrier Brut Rosé (France): Pale to medium pink in color. Nice nose with strawberry, floral, and hoppy aromas. Pear, hops, and a hint of strawberry come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish. A refreshing bubbly.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $8.49; Available elsewhere, $9 to $10

2009 Cavatappi Stimulus Package White Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pinot Gris/Sauvignon Blanc. Pale, straw yellow. Aromatic with grass and lime on the nose; more lime and grass as well as lemon come through on the palate. Light to medium-bodied and lively with a long finish. A decent sipper.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $9.39


Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, French Wine, Sparkling Wine, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Cynthia Daste | November 9th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    The first wine pairing that came to my mind was Pinot Gris!

  2. Kori | November 9th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Cynthia,
    Thanks for sharing your pairing suggestion. I think Pinot Gris would be a good choice too. In fact, the Cavatappi was a blend of Pinot Gris and Sauv Blanc. It worked well, too. Cheers!

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